This easy vegan queso is so creamy and delicious, you’ll be shocked that its dairy-free! With just a handful of pantry staples, you can have queso on the table in 30 minutes!

While making my very favorite vegan macaroni and cheese, it occurred to me that this cheese sauce would be the perfect base for queso. With some spices and a little tang, this vegetable-based cheese sauce would be a tasty drizzle on top of a bed of nachos.

I wasn’t wrong.

vegan queso

I’ve been a vegetarian for over a decade, and I’m slowly starting to transition to more of a “plant-forward” diet (my way of saying not totally vegan but leaning in that direction). But I’ve never been one for replacement foods. While I love veggie burgers, I don’t eat a lot of fake meats. I’m not a fan of most vegan cheeses. And I still haven’t found a vegan yogurt I like.

vegan queso

But this queso… this queso is a different story. And the best part is, it’s made with real ingredients. Vegetables, in fact! So even if you’re not vegan, you can feel good about enjoying this queso!

With a little vinegar, tomatoes, and green chilis, this vegan queso came together in no time flat. While it does help to soak your cashews in advance, I also have a quick-soak method so you can make this queso 30 minutes. 

This queso is going to be the star of your next Taco Tuesday. Trust me.

vegan queso

Tips for the perfect vegan queso

  • Be sure to boil the vegetables until they are completely soft. The potatoes should practically fall apart when poked with a fork.
  • Blend the cashews, oil, mustard, and garlic with the cooking water before adding the vegetables. This will ensure the cashews get a head start on blending.
  • Once you add the vegetables, blend blend blend! You may need to blend for up to 3 minutes to get it completely smooth. This works best with a high powered blender, but you should be able to get it creamy with a regular blender.

vegan queso

How to serve vegan queso

I recommend serving this with your favorite chips, just like traditional queso! But of course, you don’t have to stop there. Try this drizzled on a pile of vegan nachos, add a spoonful to your favorite burrito, or add it to these vegan lentil tacos! The possibilities are endless. I do think it’s best served warm, just like any other queso!

Storing leftover queso

Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for 2-3 days. When you’re ready to serve it, heat it in the microwave for 20-second intervals, stirring in between until evenly heated! You can also store extra queso in the freezer, but I recommend waiting to add the green chilis and tomatoes fresh. The cheese base can be frozen and reheated in the microwave. Simply stir in the tomatoes and chilis once you’re ready to serve it.

How to quickly soak cashews

Ideally, you’ll soak your cashews overnight, or for at least 6 hours. But if you want to make queso in a flash, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat, add the cashews, and cover. Set aside for 15 minutes. Carefully drain the water, and the cashews will be ready!

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Vegan Queso

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This easy vegan queso is so creamy and delicious, you’ll be shocked that it’s dairy free! With just a handful of pantry staples, you can have queso on the table in 30 minutes!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 medium russet potato (about 10oz), peeled and cubed
  • ⅓ cup chopped carrots (about 23 medium carrots)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cooking water, reserved
  • ⅓ cup cashews, soaked for 6 hours (See note for faster soaking)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 10oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (see note)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add the potato, carrots, and onion to a large pot.
  2. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.
  4. Once the vegetables are soft, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the rest of the water from the pot of vegetables.
  5. In a blender or food processor, blend 1/2 cup of the cooking water (reserve the rest), cashews, salt, garlic, mustard, vinegar and oil.
  6. Add the vegetables and continue to blend. Since the veggies will be hot, be sure to let steam safely escape through the top of the blender.
  7. Blend until completely smooth. If it’s too thick, add a few tablespoons of the additional remaining cooking water, until you reach the desired consistency.
  8. Taste and add additional salt if needed.
  9. Pour into a serving dish and stir in the tomatoes and green chilies. Serve warm.

Notes

Ideally, you’ll soak your cashews overnight, or for at least 6 hours. But if you want to make queso in a flash, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat, add the cashews, and cover. Set aside for 15 minutes. Carefully drain the water and the cashews will be ready!

I like getting a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies but you can also use pico de gallo and a can of green chilis. Green chilies are usually sold in smaller 3-4oz cans. The green chilies are an essential part of the queso flavor so don’t leave them out!

Keywords: Vegan queso

 


Looking for more cheesy ideas? Try my vegan macaroni and cheese!

Have you ever tried vegan queso?