Nothing livens up a dinner table or appetizer spread like chips and queso. It was my go-to order at Mexican restaurants long before I was plant-based and I still adore a warm bowl of gooey, spicy vegan cheese dip. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to make your own with a few easy-to-find pantry staples and a couple of items from your fridge. This is my recipe for what I believe is the best vegan queso.
When I thought about what I wanted in a vegan queso dip, a few major requirements came to mind. It needed to be ultra smooth, but not runny. I wanted a dip that would stay on my chip. I also knew it should be a little bit spicy and super savory. While it isn’t essential to the flavor, I also wanted my vegan queso to be orange-ish, like queso you might order at a restaurant. Carrot to the rescue! Just a third of a cup of raw carrot was enough to tint my queso the perfect color without affecting the flavor.
One of the best things about this vegan queso recipe is that you don’t have to soak your cashews overnight. YAY! Right? I am always bummed when I read a recipe and it says to soak the cashews for eight hours. I’m all about that instant gratification! Boiling the cashews, along with the carrot and onion, for 15 minutes is almost like fast-forwarding the soaking process. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you might find that you need to blend your vegan queso a bit longer than the instructions indicate. Don’t give up on that silky smooth consistency.
This vegan queso is excellent and perfect as-is, but I like to kick it up a notch with soy chorizo. If you decide to use it, just sauté it in a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan for a few minutes, until it’s completely heated through. It adds extra spicy flavor and fun texture. Serve this vegan queso warm with your favorite tortilla chips for a pre-dinner appetizer or movie snack. It’s truly the best!Print
This vegan queso is smooth, creamy, spicy, and savory. Add soy chorizo for a robust dip or keep it simple with a straightforward blend of pantry staples.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup onion, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup carrot, roughly chopped
- 1¼ cups water
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ jalapeno, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 6 oz. soy chorizo (optional)
- Fresh cilantro, for topping
- Squeeze of lime juice
- Tortilla chips, for serving
- Combine the cashews, onion, carrot, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the carrots are very tender.
- Pour the contents of the saucepan (including the water) into a high speed blender. Add the chili powder, paprika, jalapeño, salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and a splash of water.
- Blend the vegan queso until creamy and smooth. Adjust the seasonings to taste - add more nutritional yeast for more “cheesy” flavor, lemon juice to brighten, or salt to amplify the overall taste. I added another teaspoon of nutritional yeast and an extra pinch of salt. If you want your queso a little bit spicier, add more jalapeño or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- If you’re adding soy chorizo, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the soy chorizo and sauté until completely heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the vegan queso into the cast iron skillet or transfer it to a serving bowl and stir in the soy chorizo. Top with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve warm with your favorite tortilla chips.
Nutrition info doesn't include soy chorizo or tortilla chips.
Keywords: vegan queso, vegan appetizer, vegan appetizers, vegan snack