This easy vegan queso is naturally dairy-free and tastes like the popular dip made with Velveeta and Ro-Tel tomatoes. It’s surprisingly authentic, and is the BEST dairy-free vegan cheese sauce I’ve tasted.
Vegan Cheese Made with Cashews
This dip gets its creaminess from raw cashews. Not only do cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, they’re also loaded with iron and magnesium. Paired with fresh lemon juice and diced tomatoes, providing a healthy dose of vitamin C, this dip, unlike it’s processed counterpart, is practically guilt-free.
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How to Make Vegan Queso
To make this easy queso, all you need is a blender. I recommend soaking your cashews ahead of time if you have a standard blender, but if you have a high-speed one (like my Vitamix) you can even skip that for a faster dip.
I like to add turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its neon-orange coloring, but you’re welcome to leave it out if you’d prefer. (It doesn’t add much to the overall flavor)
What is Nutritional Yeast?
If you’re not familiar with nutritional yeast, it’s a deactivated yeast that contains B-complex vitamins and provides a “cheesy” flavor to vegan dishes. Because it’s deactivated it’s even considered safe for those on a candida diet. (You can read this article from Kimberly Snyder for more on nutritional yeast, if you’re interested.)
Vegan Cashew Queso
- 1 cup raw cashews , soaked for up to 4 hours and drained
- 1/4 cup water (plus more, if needed)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1.5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 14 oz . can diced tomatoes with green chiles
- In a high-speed blender, or food processor, combine the cashews, water, salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and the liquid from the can of diced tomatoes and green chiles. (I was able to get about 1/4 cup of liquid from the can.)
- Blend until a smooth and creamy "cheese" sauce is created, adding a tablespoon or two more water, if needed for blending. Transfer the cheese mixture to a large bowl, then stir in the can of diced tomatoes and green chiles.
- At this point, be sure to adjust any flavors to your taste, then warm the dip using a small crock pot, or by heating it gently over a stove top. As the dip is warmed, it becomes even more authentic. Serve with baked tortilla chips and fresh sliced veggies.
Per 1/4 cup: Calories: 86, Fat: 5g, Carbohydrates: 6g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 3g
- I think this recipe tastes the most authentic when using raw cashews, but readers have also reported success using macadamia nuts and blanched almonds. Feel free to experiment as you like!
- For a nut-free vegan queso recipe, try my Sweet Potato Queso.
- You can swap a cup of prepared salsa for the diced tomatoes with green chiles, if needed.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite way to use cashews? You should try my Cashew Cheesecake if you haven’t– it packs a sneaky serving of veggies, and no one can ever tell!