Cheesy creamy queso dip without the dairy? Yes, it’s possible! This Vegan Cashew Queso recipe shines with taco spices and a velvety texture. Scoop it with vegetables or drizzle on your favorite Mexican dishes.
This vegan queso dip caught me by surprise. When a friend brought over a batch of her homemade cashew queso last week, I was a little skeptical.
I expected it to taste good. My friend is an excellent cook! I just wasn’t sure if it would really satisfy my cravings for melty cheesy queso goodness. Then, I tasted it. The heavens opened up and the queso angels sang.
Okay, I’m exaggerating a tiny bit. But this Vegan Cashew Queso is truly amazing! Try it for yourself and you’ll taste what I mean.
Why this Recipe Works
Does this queso taste exactly like real cheese? No. But it hits all the same flavor notes of the familiar dairy-laden queso you love: creamy, savory, a little tangy and with plenty of Mexican spice.
The secret to the creaminess is all in the cashews. Blended with liquid in a high speed blender, cashews turn into a thick cream. Their high fat content and mild flavor make them the perfect stand in for the dairy counterpart.
And the savory cheese like flavor is all thanks to nutritional yeast. The nutritional yeast also adds a bit of yellow color to the sauce which I enjoy.
What is nutritional yeast?
Not to be confused with Brewer’s yeast and baking yeast, nutritional yeast is deactivated (so the yeast cells are no longer alive). It has a distinct cheesy taste making it a popular ingredient in vegan cooking.
Bonus: it’s also packed with vitamins, minerals in protein! Nutritional yeast is an especially wonderful source of Vitamin B12, a nutrient often lacking in vegetarian diets.
But I love it just because it’s delicious!
Cashews. Use raw, unsalted cashews for best results.
Salsa. Make sure to check the label for no added sugar.
Nutritional yeast. It’s available in flake form or powder form. Both will work in this recipe. At the grocery store, it’s usually found in the natural foods section. You can also order it online.
Taco seasoning. I recommend using my Homemade Taco Seasoning for best flavor.
Tips and Tricks
- Use a blender or a food processor. Either one works to puree the queso. A high powered blender or processor will work best to break down the cashews.
- Soak cashews for easier blending. If you don’t have a high powdered blender, you can help things along by soaking your cashews for 2 hours (or up to overnight) first. Drain, then use as directed.
- Make it spicier. Make it spicier by adding a few drops of hot sauce to taste!
- Warm queso. This queso is delicious served at room temperature. If you like, you can warm it in a sauce pan on the stove over medium heat for a minute or two. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the pot. If it starts to look too thick, add a splash of water.
- Serve this queso drizzled over Enchilada Soup.
Yes, this vegan cashew queso recipe is entirely gluten free. Always double check the ingredients labels of any store bought ingredients–especially if cooking for friends with allergies.
Yes, along with being vegan, this recipe is low carb. It’s filled with protein, good-for-you fats and some extra vitamins thanks to the nutritional yeast.
Red salsa is best in this recipe for a classic queso flavor. Salsa verde (green salsa) would put a tasty spin on the queso too! Use the spiciness level that you prefer. Remember you can always add hot sauce if it’s not spicy enough for you!
I don’t recommend using pico de gallo salsa or fruity salsa here.
If your cashew queso is grainy, you likely did not blend it long enough. When it’s done, the queso should be completely smooth with no visible pieces of cashew.
Keep in mind that the less powerful your blender is, the more time you’ll need spend blending the queso to achieve the right consistency.
Store cashew queso in the fridge in a tightly sealed container. Enjoy within 3 days.
Leftover vegan queso tastes delicious cold, warm or at room temperature.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup salsa (no added sugar)
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
- 4 Tbsp water
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- dash of hot sauce, optional
- In a high powered blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients. Allow to process for about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Serve with vegetables or nut crackers.
- Be sure to check salsa label for no added sugar.
- Use my homemade taco seasoning recipe for best flavor.
- Want it spicier, add a few dashes of hot sauce!
- Serve it warm. Place queso in oven safe dish and cover with foil. Heat at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Or put it in the micrwoave, uncovered, for 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until warm.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 2 Tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 55Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 190mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g
A dairy free queso that’s creamy, cheesy and addictively delicious! Vegan Cashew Queso is so good, you won’t even miss the cheese.