Yeah, yeah, yeah, the "best" huh? That word seems to get thrown around a lot on blogs, I know, lol. But, it's all your fault, not mine. You see, this recipe is a variation of my cheese sauce from my Cheesy Mexican Tortilla Bake, but on steroids. I've had probably hundreds tell me it is the "best I've ever had since going vegan", so I only named it that because I and you all seem to feel that way, k? Hahaha. But guess what, it is even better because I adapted it to be queso now.
In all seriousness, it really is my favorite vegan queso. It is so good that it went over as a big hit with all of my non-vegan guests at my Christmas party. I even had a couple of them say "I'd eat this over regular queso any day"...especially when you look at how much more healthy my version is, yet so rich and decadent.
Pictured with my oil-free chips. See directions below how to make. I originally shared how to make these in my Mexican Bowls post, but have added brushed lemon juice this time. Yum.
Now, this version compared to my original from the tortilla bake is that it is created to be a cheese dip. That cheese was a runnier sauce meant to be baked with other ingredients. While incredibly delicious, it is not quite as thick or bold enough on it's own as a dip. So, to get it there, I made it more tangy by adding vinegar, omitted all the water, decreased the cumin, added green chiles, tomatoes and jalapenos (optional). Additionally, it is heated over the stove, so it becomes thicker, richer, warm and well, cheesy! See, so it needed it's own post because it was changed into a newer/different version. I dare you to serve it at your next NON-vegan gathering.
Unlike most vegan cheese recipes you will find, this one is made with zero nutritional yeast and yet it is insanely cheesy and full of flavor. The salsa, vinegar and yogurt all give it all the cheesy flavor and tang.
You will need 8 ingredients (+salt):
non-dairy yogurt (I used and recommend coconut yogurt)
I hope you all really love this vegan queso! Be sure to leave feedback below after you make it!
Yields 2 1/2 cups
Best Vegan Queso
The absolute Best Vegan Queso made with cashews, non-dairy yogurt, salsa, green chiles, tomatoes and zero nutritional yeast! This queso is dairy-free, oil-free and delicious!
10 minPrep Time
10 minTotal Time
5 based on 12 review(s)
1 cup (150g) raw unsalted cashews* (see NOTES at bottom regarding sub)
1 cup (240g) medium heat runny/not too chunky salsa (I used Pace Picante)
3/4 cup (180g) PLAIN dairy-free yogurt (I used SO Delicious "Unsweetened" Plain coconut yogurt but Soy will work too, but it's slightly sweeter)
1 tablespoon (15g) white distilled vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon (6g) fine sea salt
4 oz can diced green chiles (use half or the whole can)
1/4-1/2 cup diced tomatoes
Optional: sliced jalapenos and cilantro
NOTE: If you do not have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, then you will need to soak your cashews overnight in a bowl of water, drain, rinse and proceed. Otherwise, the cheese will be gritty. OR, you can sub the cashews with equal gram amount (150g) RAW oil-free cashew butter.
NOTE: Using a medium heat salsa here will give a nice kick of spiciness. If you are serving this to kids or prefer mild, then sub with a mild salsa.
If wanting to make my oil-free chips, make those first. See the bottom of the directions.
Add all of the ingredients (except the chiles and tomatoes) to a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix. If using the soaked cashews, then a food processor tends to work better to smooth out sauces, versus a blender that is not very powerful. Blend a couple of minutes until 100% smooth. After blending, stir in the green chiles and tomatoes, but do not blend. I used the whole can of chiles but you can use less if you prefer.
Add the sauce to a pot and heat it over medium-low just for about 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until it slightly thickens. Be careful about overheating it or it will make it chunky.
Top with sliced jalapenos or cilantro if desired and serve right away. It will get a bit thicker as it sits and overnight in the fridge, so just give it a good stir.
This sauce is excellent as a dip at a party or over burritos or nachos!
Oil-free Chips: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Cut your tortillas into 4ths. Spread them out evenly and bake for 8-10 mins or until they are getting crisp. Watch closely towards the end so they don't burn. Let them cool and crisp up.
I always get asked about subbing cashews from people who are low-fat or avoid fat. I am not fat-free or nut-free so I use nuts in my recipes because I want them to taste just as rich and creamy as the original dairy versions, so that is why fat is needed.
However, if you want a lower fat version, you can sub up to 1/2 cup of the cashews with white beans. That will really reduce the amount of fat, but ONLY do this if you don't want the best version to serve and wow guests, as it will NOT be as rich, creamy or thick or taste the best.
If you are nut-free completely, you can try subbing all white beans, but this is clearly not going to be nearly the same richness, creaminess or thickness as the cashew version. It will be runnier and have a bean taste, so if you are ok with that, give it a try!
Nutrition per serving (based on 5 at 1/2 cup each): 224 calories | 15.5g fat | 4.8g protein | 20.3g carbs | 3.7g fiber | 8g sugars | 844mg sodium
The Vegan 8
I work hard to create my original recipes on here and do not like them copied and posted elsewhere without my permission.If you make this recipe, please do not re-post it on your site, please link to me instead giving proper credit. If you are inspired by this recipe, again, please respectfully link and do not copy it onto your site.
Hi! I'm Brandi, a wife and mom behind this blog who healed my husband's gout and my digestion issues through a plant-based diet. I'm not complicated, I keep things simple. All my recipes are 8 ingredients or less, not counting salt, pepper or water. They are allergy-friendly, as they are all vegan, oil-free and nearly all are gluten-free. You'll find lots of baked goods here, as I've been a baker all my life, it's my passion!