creamy vegan spiced cheese sauce with thyme //

Every time the holiday season approaches, my head and my heart begin to fill with nostalgia. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to cultivate our own sense of tradition as adults being far from family, in distant places, busy work seasons, or for some, perhaps having lost the loved ones we still hold so dear. Each year, I find more and more importance in setting my own rituals and continuing to trail blaze a life of meaning. Many of my rituals start in the kitchen — the same kitchen I’ve had for 5 years in my sweet little home that I recently started calling “the cottage.” As I put on classic jazz this morning in the cottage this morning, dreaming up recipes for some of my favorite upcoming holidays, I will surely be walking into Thanksgiving week with great avidity, amidst the bittersweet moments that come with this time of year.

When I’m in my kitchen looking down at my mustard yellow counter tops, or boiling water in my red tea kettle that has easily made at least 4,000 cups of tea over the past 5 years, I realize that this is a home. This is tradition…legacy…a life filled with value in so many little things. Each of our seemingly simple, daily routines all add up to making what is a truly full life. And for that, I’m incredibly grateful. Now…let’s get to the part you’re really here for…

creamy vegan spiced cheese sauce with fresh thyme.

This recipe came about last night completely by accident as I was desperate to make something cheesy to go along with my roasted garlic + herb broccoli and cauliflower gnocchi. And let me tell you…it took me less than ten minutes. Growing up in Florida, one of my family’s Thanksgiving go-to recipes was cheese peas. We would use green peas or broccoli and top it with a rich, decadent, creamy cheddar cheese sauce. Now being dairy free, I have had so much fun getting creative and finding ways to recreate some of my childhood favorites. This recipe is everything and more, and it’s super versatile. Feel free to use it as a pasta sauce, top it onto your favorite baked veggies, or use it as a nacho/queso dip!

What you need:
1/2 can of pumpkin puree
1/4 cup (and possibly more) of full fat coconut milk
(I’m about to get really annoying with my lack of measurements, but you should spice them to taste according to what tastes best to you)
A dash of turmeric
A dash of pumpkin pie spice
Salt & pepper to taste
A few sprigs of fresh thyme

What to do:
1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine your pumpkin puree with your coconut milk and slowly whisk. It should be a yellow color and not too thick, not too watery. If it seems too thick, add a little more coconut milk.
2. Once it begins to bubble, turn to very low heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.
3. Add your spices and whisk consistently.
4. Once the sauce has thickened up a bit, let it sit for at least 10 minutes prior to serving, or preferably let it sit in a sealed mason jar overnight. It will thicken up much more that way.
5. Stir, top, and enjoy!

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