Vegan Queso – this nacho dip is creamy and “cheesy”, but dairy free, oil free, and made from whole foods. Grab a bag of tortilla chips and get to dipping!
You may know that I have a chips and salsa addiction. What you may not know is that I used to have a chips and queso addiction, too.
I’ve made a few versions of nacho “cheese” dip at home that I have definitely enjoyed, but they didn’t necessarily remind me of the jarred kind I used to love.
I decided to make a few tweaks to my incredibly popular Dairy Free Mac and Cheese sauce and I turned it into this super yummy Vegan Queso. It’s creamy, cheesy, smoky, a little spicy, and so darn delicious!
Plant Based Ingredients
My Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese has been winning over vegans and carnivores, kids and adults, men and women alike. And it’s made from all whole food plant based ingredients.
I knew this vegan cheese sauce had potential to be turned into a spicy vegan cheese dip as well and, thankfully, it worked! It really tastes like cheese dip!! I added some smoked paprika for some smoky notes and green chiles and salsa for a little heat. I promise you won’t be able to stop eating this stuff!
How to Make Vegan Queso
This Vegan Queso needs less than 10 ingredients and no special skills. The only prep work is peeling and cutting the butternut squash. You could even skip that part and buy pre-chopped squash if you prefer.
Then just simmer the squash until tender. Throw the cashews in there, too, so no need to soak them first.
Then, bust out your blender and purée until smooth.
Add a few extras, gently heat until bubbly, grab those chips, and dive in! Snacking bliss!
More Vegan Dip Recipes for Snacking
- Fresh Peach Salsa
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Creamy Cranberry Salsa Dip
- Sun Dried Tomato Spread
- Vegan French Onion Dip
- Mexican Bean Dip
- Roasted Carrot White Bean Hummus
- The Best Guacamole
- Vegan Crab Dip
Following the original recipe ingredients and instructions will give you the best results, but here are some adaptations that will work if need be.
Butternut Squash – If you want to save some time, buy pre-chopped butternut squash in the produce section of your grocery store.
Cashews – For a nut free version, try using and equal amount of creamy white beans instead. Pumpkin seeds may also work, but make sure you have a high speed blender to ensure they purée into a perfect creamy texture.
Nutritional Yeast – “Nooch” as it is sometimes referred to is high in protein, vitamins and minerals, and is low in fat. [source] If you can’t find it or can’t have it, you could leave it out. The final dish won’t be quite as “cheesy”, but will still be delicious. You could also substitute a tablespoon of mellow white miso for the nutritional yeast instead, which also imparts a savory, salty, somewhat cheesy-like flavor when combined with the other ingredients.
Non-Dairy Milk – Any plant milk will work, aside from coconut. Just make sure it’s unsweetened and unflavored. Water would also work just fine.
Salsa – Use your favorite salsa here. I like to reach for something spicy as the heat level will be toned down by the accompanying ingredients.
Increase the heat – If you are a lover of all things spicy, feel free to stir in a few dashes of hot sauce after tasting to reach the level of heat you desire.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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- 1 ½ cups cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded before cutting into cubes - or you can buy a package of pre-cut squash)
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 3-4 tablespoons non-dairy milk, (or water)
- ¼ cup of your favorite salsa, (I like Trader Joe's Salsa Authentica)
- 1 (4.5 ounce) can diced green chiles
- Tortilla Chips
- Add the cubed butternut squash and cashews to a pot and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes until the squash is fork tender.
- When the squash/cashews are done, drain and pour into a high speed blender.
- Add the lemon juice, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, salt, and turmeric. Blend until completely smooth, adding the non-dairy milk (or water) 1 tablespoon at a time to get things moving if needed. You'll need to use the tamper to push the ingredients to the bottom. Don't make it too thin! Use just enough liquid to get it all blended. I used about 3 to 4 tablespoons.
- Once it's completely smooth, pour the mixture into a pot (you can use the same one you used for the squash/cashews) and stir in the salsa and diced green chiles.* Gently heat the queso over medium heat until thick and bubbly.**
- Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
*Alternately, you can add the salsa and green chiles to the blender with the other ingredients. I like my queso to be a little bit chunky, so I just stir them in.
**This queso is good cold as well, but I prefer it warm.
Serving Size:1 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 68Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g