Vegan Butternut Welsh Rarebit
I feel the need to begin this one with a disclaimer. Or three.
I’m not from the UK. I’ve never even visited (yet). My mom used to make a version of Welsh rarebit when I was a kid, but we never called it that. We just called it “yummy” and “more please.”
What I am is a huge fan of bread and a huge fan of cheese. I can’t eat the latter anymore, but over time I’ve added to my repertoire a few recipes that come pretty close to replicating the flavor and, you know, just cozy comfort food situation that cheese brings to the table.
I don’t even know how I thought this one up, except that I had some crusty bread I’d purchased to serve alongside this soup and some butternut squash scraps left over from making these fries. Somehow I eyed one and then the other and then thought, hmm. Perhaps a cheese-on-toast situation? Cooked butternut squash, some cashews for extra uber creaminess, some delicious cheesy flavors?
I love when recipe ideas work flawlessly the very first time I try them. Within 15 minutes I was enjoying an incredibly cheesy experience as I noshed on this Vegan Butternut Welsh Rarebit.
As luck would have it, I had another butternut squash waiting. So the following day, I decided to take a break from making gingerbread trees, whip up another batch, photograph the heck out of it, and serve it up to my meat- and cheese-eating test subject (a.k.a. my husband) AND of course myself.
I liked it even more the second time. My carnivorous, dairy-eating guy absolutely loved it as well.
While this vegan Welsh rarebit couldn’t be farther from the original if it tried, I feel like I would be remiss to leave out the fact that this doesn’t have beer in it like many Welsh rarebit recipes do. I felt like it was just perfect without adding another ingredient. I highly recommend serving up the beer on the side, though.
Oh, and I also tried putting this under the broiler, hoping that the butternut squash would magically bubble and brown, but no go. But also kind of, no need. It’s pretty dang delicious as-is.
Vegan Butternut Welsh Rarebit
Butternut squash and cashews form the simple creamy base of this surprisingly cheesy “cheese” sauce. Spooned over toasted crusty bread, it’s the ultimate comfort food. No actual cheese required!
Butternut “cheese” sauce:
- 2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1/2 small squash, seeds removed)
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 medium clove garlic, roughly diced
- 1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon stone-ground brown mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
For the toasts:
- 8 slices crusty bread (can sub gluten-free bread)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Fresh snipped chives
- Place squash and cashews into a medium pot. Cover with water. Place on stove and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the squash is fork-tender, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast the bread. Brush both sides with olive oil and brown under your oven’s broiler. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Drain squash and cashews and add them to the pitcher of a high-powered blender. Add 1/4 cup water, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, worcestershire, brown mustard, dry mustard, onion powder, white pepper, smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree until smooth, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a thick sauce forms.
- Taste and add additional salt if desired.
- Place each toast on a plate and pour “cheese” sauce over the top. Garnish with chives if desired and serve.
- Leftover sauce can be refrigerated; it stays good for 3-4 days. It can thicken as it sits; simply thin with a bit of water when heating it back up.
Use your favorite gluten-free bread.