This quick vegan queso recipe will become your favourite. One little steps makes all the difference! Give this recipe a try. Creamy. Spicey. Cheesey.
I have tried so many vegan cheese sauce recipes. I have tried making cheese sauce out of potatoes, other veggies, eggplant even. Always. Always I am dissapointed with the results.
Until I found this vegan queso recipe. It is the best vegan queso cheese I have ever tasted. Hands down!
🌱 Ingredient Notes
Nutritional Yeast - is necessary for this recipe. If you've never used nutritional yeast before, you can buy a small quantity at the bulk food store. We like it on fresh-popped popcorn. It adds all the savoury and cheesy to this dip. You need it.
Spices - I've discovered the exact combo of spices necessary to bring all the flavour you need to this queso. Equal amounts of chilli powder, garlic, cumin and paprika.
If you have chipotle chili powder, use that!
Cashews - I buy cashews in bulk. Pieces are usually cheaper than whole nuts. I prefer unsalted so that I can control the salt in my recipes.
Jalapenos - This cheeze dip needs something to spice it up. Use fresh or pickled jalapenos. Both are yummy and delish! If you don't have either, add in a couple of tablespoons of your favourite salsa with the sauce simmers.
Hot sauce! - Yes. Depends on the heat of your jalapenos and how hot you like your queso. 😎 If I'm using fresh jalapeno's I might skip the hot sauce. But if you are using pickled peppers or salsa, you will probably want to kick this up a bit. I like straight up Tabasco. But you might have a suicide hot sauce in your fridge that you love. This is a great time to use it.
📋 Tips and Tricks
Do I have to soak the cashews? - for best results, cashews will make the creamiest queso if you give them a good soak first.
I find it easiest to just throw some in a bowl and cover them with water and let them hang out for a while. Overnight of all day. If I know we are having tacso for dinner, I'll set the cashews to soak first thing in the morning. It's easy. And when I'm ready to make the sauce, the sauce comes together in less than 10 minutes.
➡︎Quick soak method - but if you forget to soak, run out of time, or just plain fail to plan ahead - you can quick soak. Cover the cashews with boiling hot water and let sit 30 minutes.
Simmer the sauce! The key to this sauce is the brief but necessary simmer in a little sauce pan. You must do this. In fact, don't even taste test the dip until you have "cooked" it for a few minutes. The rawness of the spices and nutritional yeast mellow. Everything become richer and smoother. The queso will thicken up. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
🍴Serving and storage
Serve with chips
On burrito bowls or burrito wraps.
Awesome on roasted potatoes.
This dip will keep for several days in a covered bowl in the refrigerator. Keep covered and reheat before serving.
Vegan Queso Cheese
- 1 cup cashew pieces unsalted
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice about half of a lemon
- 1/2 tsp of each of the following: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 jalapeno pepper or to taste, pickled or fresh, depends how spicy you want this
- 2-4 dashes hot sauce like Tabassco, to taste, use your favourite brand (optional)
- Place cashews in a small bowl and cover with cool fresh water and soak at least 6 hours or over-night. I usually do this first thing in the morning or the night before if I think of it.
- Drain the cashews, discard soaking liquid, and place the cashews, spices, nutritional yeast and 1 cup water in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy. In my high speed blender this can take a few minutes. Don't rush. Stop and scrap the sides of the blender down if needed.
- Dump contents of the blender into a small sauce pan and warm on low heat. Stir in jalapeno's. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. This step is critical for flavor and texture. The sauce will thicken and the flavours will meld. Continue to simmer until desired thickeness is reached. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary (I find I don't need it) and a few dashes of tabacco sauce or other hot sauce if you want to kick up the spice level. Serve with chips and veggies to dip.
Quick Soak Method
- Place cashews in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Proceed with steps 2 and 3 of the recipe above.