Cashew-Less Vegan Queso

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Dipping a tortilla chip into a bowl of Cashew-Free Vegan Queso Dip

It always happens. Just as I’m about to drift off to sleep at night, a recipe idea zings into my brain out of nowhere. This time, for vegan queso.

Eggplant slices drizzled with olive oil on a baking sheet

Origins of Queso

Queso, also called chile con queso, is a melty, cheesy dip that’s typically served alongside tortilla chips. It’s believed to have originated in Texas in the early 1900s (source).

Though you may find chile con queso at some Mexican restaurants in the US, it’s much different than the authentic Mexican queso (called queso fundido) that likely inspired it. While queso fundido is typically made with soft white cheeses, chile con queso is usually made with more processed American cheeses. You can learn more about the history and differences here.

Our plant-based version is not traditional, but is inspired by the creaminess and heat of chile con queso!

Eggplant Vegan Queso

EXCITING NEWS.

I’ve tried vegan cheese based with cashews. It’s good, and it’s the first way I learned to mock cheese texture and flavor without using dairy. But I knew there had to be a better way.

I mean, not that I’m into counting calories, but cashews are very high in calories and fat and you can detect them in sauces unless you really build up the flavor from spices and otherwise.

So, the thought was, “What else is creamy but neutral and would make a good base for cheese sauce?”

The zinger I got at midnight whilst falling asleep: EGGPLANT!

Roasted eggplant slices wrapped in foil

Eggplant is amazingly versatile, especially once roasted. I enjoy it in pastas, whirled into baba ganoush or even roasted and layered into a hearty veggie sandwich. I adore the creaminess of baba ganoush and suspected its eggplant base would make an excellent base for vegan queso.

DING DING DING. I was correct.

Blender filled with ingredients for making Cashew-Less Vegan Queso

This sauce starts with roasted eggplant. I speed up the process by slicing it into thin rounds and broiling. A little steam in foil and then you can pull away the skin with ease. Then, just throw it into a blender with almond milk, nutritional yeast and a handful of spices and you’re good to go.

Look at that creamy queso goodness.

Blender with freshly blended Vegan Cashew-Less Queso Dip

A little cornstarch in the mix helps it thicken up once heated in a saucepan for serving. This is an optional step but I recommend it for that ultimate luxurious cheesy texture. (If you don’t use cornstarch, try another thickener, such as arrowroot powder.)

Cooking Easy Vegan Queso in a saucepan

All that’s left to do is add in a few Tbsp of slightly drained Rotel (just like real queso dip!) or your favorite chunky salsa. This really sends the texture and flavor over the top to mock the real thing.

Can of diced tomatoes for Vegan Queso Dip
Bowl of soy-free Vegan Queso Dip surrounded by tortilla chips

Oh. My. Word.

You’re not gonna believe how delicious this is. And guess what? HUSBAND APPROVED!

John tried it, and he doesn’t like cashew sauces, and he really liked this dip! We agreed that it was ridiculous how close it was to real queso dip. Seriously amazing!

Tortilla chips and a bowl of Cashew-Less Vegan Queso

So what does it taste like?

Creamy
Velvety
Savory
Super cheesy
Slightly spicy
Perfectly dippable
Totally pourable
Begging to be added to all your favorite dishes

Don’t worry. I have a few recipes in the works utilizing this dreamy dip! And another bonus: It reheats extremely well! If you’ve ever made cashew cheese you know it doesn’t exactly reheat well. But with this, you can just pop it in the microwave or put it back in a saucepan and it’s just as good!

Dipping chips into Creamy Vegan Queso with a hot sauce swirl

Yet ANOTHER bonus? This dip is cashew-, soy-, dairy-, and gluten-free!

And did I mention it’s way lighter in fat and calories than nut- and dairy-based quesos? Just 55 calories and 3.5 grams of (healthy) fat per serving! What’s not to love? Make this dip! And if you do, take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so I can see! Cheers!

Scooping up cashew-less Vegan Queso Dip on a chip
Chip dipped in the Best Vegan Queso Dip

Cashew-Less Vegan Queso

Easy vegan queso made cashew-, dairy-, soy-, and gluten-free! Eggplant keeps the flavor neutral and the texture creamy! The perfect dairy-free queso!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Tortilla chips and a bowl of homemade Vegan Queso made without cashews
4.20 from 217 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Course Appetizer, Dip, Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 Month (in small jars)
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

  • 7-9 rounds of eggplant (sliced 1/4-1/2-inch thick // half of a medium eggplant yields 7-9 rounds)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (see instructions)
  • 1/4 tsp finely minced fresh garlic (I used crushed garlic from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (optional for thickening // sub another thickener if desired)
  • 1/4 cup chunky medium salsa (slightly drained // OR 1/4 10-ounce can of Rotel original diced tomatoes and green chilies)
  • Smoked paprika and hot sauce (optional // for added color and flavor upon serving)

Instructions

  • Slice your eggplant into thin rounds just under 1/2 inch (not quite 1/4 inch). Then sprinkle both sides of the flesh with a little sea salt and arrange in a colander to help draw out some of the moisture and bitterness. Let set for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse with cool water and thoroughly pat dry between two clean towels.
  • Preheat oven to high broil and place an oven rack near the top of the oven. Arrange the dried eggplant rounds on a baking sheet lightly spritzed with non-stick spray and drizzle both sides of the eggplant with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with a very small amount of salt.
  • Broil on high for 4-5 minutes on each side, watching carefully as to not let them burn. Flip at the halfway point to ensure even cooking. Once the eggplant appears tender and both sides have golden brown color, remove from the oven and wrap loosely in foil to steam.
  • After a few minutes, unwrap and peel the eggplant skin away. It should come right off.
    If you pack your roasted eggplant into a 1-cup measuring cup, it will be almost 1 cup
    (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering default number of servings).
  • Place eggplant in a blender with almond milk (starting with the lesser amount), nutritional yeast (starting with the lesser amount), minced garlic, cumin, chili powder and cornstarch and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a pinch more sea salt and a little more nutritional yeast. To thin, add more almond milk.
  • Transfer to a small saucepan and warm over medium to medium-high heat until slightly thickened and bubbly – about 5 minutes. The longer you go the thicker it will become.
  • NOTE: If it isn’t looking as thick as you want, thicken with a slurry of cornstarch by adding an additional 1 tsp cornstarch to a small bowl with a little almond milk and 2-3 Tbsp of the cheese mixture (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering default number of servings). Whisk to combine and then stir back into the pot. This should thicken it right up.
  • Once hot and thickened, remove from heat and stir in DRAINED salsa or Rotel. Don’t put the liquid in or it will make it runny. Pour into a serving dish and top with a little smoked paprika and hot sauce for flavor/color.
  • Serve with chips, crackers or veggies. Keep warm in a mini crockpot or over a tea light warmer if you have one. Microwaves well.
  • NOTE: When this dip sits out for a long time it loses its orange hue. It doesn’t affect the flavor but it doesn’t look as appetizing, so it’s really best when fresh!
  • Refrigerate and cover leftovers. Reheats extremely well in the microwave or in a saucepan. Will keep for up to a few days, but best when fresh.

Video

Notes

*Note: overcooking the eggplant can cause the queso to be a darker color.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 55 Carbohydrates: 4.7 g Protein: 2.3 g Fat: 3.5 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 326 mg Fiber: 2 g Sugar: 0.7 g

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  1. Tom says

    I made this with unsweetened soy milk and I liked it! I added a 1/4 tsp of turmeric to give it a more yellow hue and a 4oz can of roasted green chilies instead of the Rotel. Otherwise I followed it to a tee and enjoyed it! I also added a little more salt to taste. The only thing for me was that I needed a full eggplant to get the half eggplant quantity according to what I thought the recipe was calling for, but again, this was a great first effort into making my own vegan queso. Thanks for coming up with it!

  2. Kim says

    I’m ashamed to say I have never eaten an eggplant before let alone cooked with it. Made this nacho sauce last night and the whole family loved it, I mean it was AmAZiNG! Keeping this recipe forever. I used oatmilk and it was smooth and creamy. Thank you !

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it, Kim! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Lorrie. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  3. Brenda says

    Is there a substitute for the nutritional yeast? My husband can’t do any type of yeasts, and I would love to try something like this.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Brenda! The nutritional yeast is a big part of what gives this dish it’s “cheesiness”, if your husband can do miso paste you could try a bit of that (start with 1 tsp) to add some savory/cheesy notes? Hope this helps!

  4. renee says

    Shoot, I was really excited to find a new vegan queso recipe, but I can’t have eggplant. Is there a substitute – other than cashews? I like the idea of using a vegetable.
    Thanks

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Renee! We haven’t tried this particular recipe with other vegetables so we aren’t sure. Sometimes steamed potatoes and carrots make a decent “cheese” sauce, but we haven’t tried it and cannot guarantee results. Hope this helps!

  5. Mary says

    I need to avoid nightshades, and should not use eggplants. So, is it possible to (successfully!) substitute zucchini for eggplant in this cheese?

  6. Josh says

    Just made it for the first time and the flavor was really good, but it didn’t taste anything like cheese and I wish it had been thicker. I suppose I’ll use more cornstarch or another thickening agent next time, but not sure what to do to make it taste cheesier.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Josh! Adding more nutritional yeast will give it more cheesiness. Hope that helps!

  7. Lee says

    I’m a little late on this recipe train but I was moved to comment b/c –

    1. it’s insane how many food blogs repost this recipe exactly but without crediting you (they don’t event tweak it or anything). I can tell it’s yours because of your origin story for this idea, kind of like the end of the movie Working Girl where melanie griffith can prove her thought process b/c of the tabloids she was reading when she comes up with the Big Idea

    2. I wanted to contribute that when I make babaghanoush, I use a method I got from Mark Bittman, which is to put the whole Italian eggplant into the oven (rinse it, rub a little oil add a little salt, put it on foil right on the rack, 400 degrees for about an hour, no need to pop holes – the steam will pop the eggplant open but it won’t hurt the oven and it’s a good indication it’s done cooking) and then the skin and insides are so tender, there’s no cutting or peeling (or salting/weeping) involved. I used that method for this and it was spectacular. And cuts the recipe’s active work time way down.

    3. I used chiles in adobo instead of rotel and it was divine. I also used veganaise as my fat instead of olive oil (queso isn’t a health food, I don’t eat this everyday) inspired by recently reading the awesome veganaise cookbook and holy wow so if anyone is also into veganaise, try that modification.

    Thanks for this brilliant revelation (using eggplant instead of nuts as your creamy base) – it’s been very fun to play with and shame on the abundant plagiarists of this recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thanks for your support and sharing your modifications, Lee! We’re so glad you’re enjoying it with some modifications!

  8. Rachel says

    Made this and loved it. However the last few times I made it it has curdled and not come together in a smooth texture at all. I also have to add more salt then is suggested as I think it brings out the flavor more.

    I’m wondering what the issue could be? It’s super smooth until I cool it and it just kind of looks real yucky.

    Anyone else had this issue?? I do add pickled jalapeños, but I’ve done that from the start. But that’s the only thing I could think that would be causing an issue. Anyway, thought??

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Rachel! We’re so glad you enjoy it! We’re wondering if maybe the cornstarch isn’t getting mixed in thoroughly? Hope that helps for next time!

  9. Adrienne says

    I’m throughly enjoying this. Made sure not to over cook the Eggplant. I substituted 1 top of garlic powder for garlic, added 1 tsp of onion powder and a tsp of apple cider vinegar. Came out with a nice flavor.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum! Thanks for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Adrienne. Glad you enjoyed! xo

  10. Amber says

    Unfortunately, this did not turn out well for me. I followed the recipe to the letter but the flavor never “came together” – instead, it tasted like milk that had been seasoned with some cumin and nutritional yeast. I tried adding more salt and more chili powder but no dice, just the same weird flavor. Not gross, but not good. Just strange. I wound up dumping the batch entirely as it was unsalvageable. And so, the search for a vegan queso that won’t break the bank continues.

      • Amber says

        I don’t think that’s the issue, as I used a cashew-almond blend (unsweetened) that is my go to for everything and usually works very well in savory recipes. I wish I could put my finger on what the sauce needed, but it was such a confusing flavor profile.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          Sorry to hear that! Thanks for the feedback. Perhaps it just wasn’t your preferred flavor profile!

  11. Elena says

    This recipe was so quick and easy yet delivered delicious results. I love expanding my diet so that I don’t get stuck in a rut , and eggplant is something I don’t often include…what a great way to incorporate it into my rotation. I am meal planning for the week and this is on the menu! Thank you for another fantastic recipe!

  12. Chelsea says

    I made this tonight for dinner with some roasted cauliflower street tacos. I recently started eating vegan and gluten free for health reasons (reluctantly). This tasted SO good. My 5 and 7 year old boys even loved it, and they have NO problem with honesty about my cooking. Dinner tonight actually gave me hope that I can continue this lifestyle change and not constantly feel like I’m missing out.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum! Sounds like an amazing meal. We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing, Chelsea!

  13. Emma Bollington says

    This was absolutely delicious. Thank you for the recipe. I added onion and garlic powder and some vegan cheese shreds. Served it over a pan fried capsicum, red onion, corn and zucchini.

  14. Darlene says

    I am a newbie at this cuisine but I have loved to cook for a long time. I have tried many recipes and have learned to look for those things that set one recipe apart from another, THANK YOU for introducing me to roasted eggplant. I loved the queso dip and this is from someone who used to live on cheese and never made queso dip because it was too full of calories. Thank you for this recipe. I will make it again and again.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Darlene. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Liz, we’re so sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it! Would you mind sharing what you disliked about it? We’d love to troubleshoot, if possible. Or perhaps you would prefer our fan-favorite Cashew Queso.

  15. Suzie says

    Can you make this with any other non-dairy milks that are nut free? Trying to accommodate a tree nut allergy. Would oat milk be too sweet for this?

  16. Brenna says

    I absolutely love this recipe. Every time I’ve made it, everyone has been impressed with it. It’s just so good and doesn’t taste like eggplant at all, which makes it so much easier to get people into it (I have a lot of friends and fam that could take or leave eggplant, but I love it). It’s also so quick and easy to make, and it always turns out better than most cashew cheese I make. Thanks for this recipe!

  17. Alysia says

    I made this tonight for dinner to go with nachos, I loved it and it was husband-approved just like you said in your write up! Got so much left over – will be using it tomorrow night :)

  18. Adrienne Edge says

    I don’t know how you came up with this recipe but it fantastic! It came out super creamy and it tastes like queso! Will definitely be making this again!

  19. Clare says

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! The perfect balance of spicy and “cheesy”. I am low fodmap, which means I have to avoid cashews. I was a little worried that I would mess the steps up but actually it was really easy. I peeled the eggplant, and needed to add some more cornstarch once it was in the saucepan but it worked out well. It was so nice to dip corn chips into by itself. I would definitely make this again. Thank you for thinking up these unique recipes for different dietary requirements – I really appreciate your recipes! ❤️

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, we’re so glad you were able to enjoy it, Clare! Thanks so much for your kind words and lovely review! xo

  20. Alex says

    I’ve made this recipe a few times and really enjoy it. I followed the instructions to the letter the first time and the colour, flavour, and texture were excellent. Since then I’ve left the eggplant skins on, which does affect the color and texture a bit, but is quicker (not lazy; efficient! Besides, there must be all sorts of goodies in that purple). That said, I find that I can usually taste added cornstarch in recipes so I tend to avoid using it whenever possible. When I made this on the weekend I decided to try adding shelled hemp hearts prior to blending for some added protein, but mainly as a healthy thickening agent. Turns out that three tablespoons is way too much, but next time I’ll start off with a teaspoon and work my way up from there. If you put too much, just call it a “thick dip” or “spread” which you can use it on tortillas or pitas before adding other ingredients. Worked for us!

  21. Lana says

    I’ve tried this twice and even with the additional corn starch slurry I can’t get it to thicken up to something similar to the recipe photo. Also, when it goes into the saucepan to thicken for 5 minutes are we supposed to stir it or let it sit?

    Anyone have any advice on how to thicken it up/what I might be doing wrong? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, we wonder if there wasn’t enough eggplant compared to the volume of almond milk? Or perhaps it isn’t getting heated enough? Maybe play around with that next time? And we’d recommend stirring. Hope that helps for next time!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Rebecca, soy milk has a very distinct taste so we wouldn’t recommend it. We’d say cashew, almond and rice are your best bet here.

    • Sara S says

      I’ve always used the juice from the rotel, instead of milk, maybe even blended in some of the rotel for additional flavor/moisture.

  22. Novella says

    Outstanding! Be sure to leave no skin on the eggplant, I suspect that’s why many people’s have turned grey. Mine was a gorgeous tan /orange. You NEED smoked paprika. Make sure you don’t leave it out. It adds something to the flavour that couldn’t be replaced by something else. I also added hot wings sauce while making it, which is orange and probably also helped with the colour. My hubby won’t stop raving about it! I will be making this forever!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! After broiling, simply cover it with the tinfoil and the heat will be trapped in the tin foil packet, creating steam.

  23. Erin says

    I used soy milk and it was pretty gross – too sweet and funky. Just a warning in case you’re considering substituting. Texture was good.

    • Hannah says

      I made this. Color far more tan/brown than the pictures, but that didn’t really bother me. While I agree with a lot of the other comments that it doesn’t really taste like queso, I don’t think it’s bad by any means. Because of the spices used, I think this could go on a lot of the same things that a queso would go on and be good, but I don’t think it has the qualities to BE a queso itself. I’m not sure I would make it again, but I’ll certainly finish it. Pretty good, just not what I was after.

  24. Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

    You can try omitting and maybe increase the spices? It won’t quite have that same “cheesy” taste though.

  25. Maribeth says

    This was brown, not yellow and it tasted like baba ganouj. Absolutely nothing like cheese sauce.

  26. Amanda says

    Was so excited to make this because I love your mashed chickpea tuna recipe – but it didn’t work, unfortunately. What I got was a tannish dip (even after adding paprika) that tastes nothing like queso. I do like the consistency and taste of the eggplant in a dip but I don’t think I’ll be making this specific dish again because it was not at all like what I had expected it to be and was a bit weird. I’m giving three stars because even though it did not taste or look at all like queso or the dish shown I have still been eating it with chips these past few days.

    • Julia says

      Hi Amanda,
      I made this as well, and the color and taste of my result was also slightly off. I think this is because I forgot to peel the skin off of the eggplant! Could you have possibly made this mistake as well?
      Thought I would post this as a possible explanation for any more results like ours and a reminder for others to peel the skin off 🙂
      Thanks, Minimalist Baker, for the creative recipe!
      All best, Julia

  27. Kara says

    I don’t usually rate recipes, but I’ve used it so many times I figure I need to say that this dip is great. It really does taste like queso, and I always have people guess the secret ingredient since it’s not cashew. People are always surprised it’s eggplant. Thanks :)

  28. Katrina Peebles says

    My husband and I have been vegan since the beginning of 2020. We’re not a fan of the cashew cheeses we’ve tried, so I was very excited to find this one. The eggplant was brilliant! It was out of this world! Even my picky husband agreed that it’s the closest thing to real queso he’s tasted! Every recipe of yours that I’ve tried has been delicious! I just added your cookbook to my Amazon Wish List as I have a birthday coming up this month! Thank you for inspirational dishes! ;-)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you both enjoyed it, Katrina! Thank you so much for the lovely review! xo

      • Lisa says

        Hi, I’d like to know what a serving size means? The recipe says it gives six servings but I don’t know if that means 6 cups or some other kind of measurement. I’m planning on making this and would like to know as I’m tracking my food intake. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
        Thank you.
        Looking forward to my nachoes 😀

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Lisa, we don’t have a measurement in cups, but it’s 1/6 of the total recipe. Our best guess would be about 1/2 cup, but we’d recommend measuring out 6 servings to confirm if concerned.

  29. Deb says

    No, this did not work for me. My attempt was a less than appealing color (kinda tan-ish/green) right out of the blender. I thought I must have skipped an ingredient, yes, the olive oil on the eggplant before broiling. I doubt that made a color difference though. I will add turmeric, that could help.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Deb, did you add the smoked paprika and/or hot sauce? That can help with the color! The turmeric may also help. How did it taste?

  30. Barb says

    This recipe looks great. Reading through comments wondering can this be totally but free- is Oatly just an oat milk and if yes does it leave an aftertaste? Also a popular vegan queso uses cauliflower as first ingredient. Wondering if any benefit to adding some of that for nutritional benefits and creaminess as well?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, Oatly is a brand of oat milk and shouldn’t leave an aftertaste. But we haven’t tried it in this recipe specifically! We also haven’t tried using cauliflower, but it might work. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

  31. Maureen says

    I followed this recipe to letter and ended up with a delicious faux-queso! Since then, I’ve made this many times but I’ve never ended up with an orange coloured dip. Regardless, it’s always been super tasty and versatile. Thank you for sharing it with the world!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lisa, You can try omitting and maybe increasing the spices? It won’t quite have that same “cheesy” taste though.

  32. Amber says

    THIS QUESO IS A BANGER!!!!!!!!!!! I was definitely skeptical about the eggplant, but I will literally never use cashews to make a queso sauce again. This is the one. I used this for a batch of buffalo chickpea and tempeh quesadillas and it was sooooooo good. I can not overstate how amazing this stuff is. Stop thinking about it and try it now!

  33. Frankie says

    This is somewhat labor intensive but really good. The only thing I would do differently is to peel the egg plant before browning it in the oven. I didn’t have good luck peeling it and wasted some of the egg plant itself because it stuck to the peeling. Otherwise, it went well. I added fresh cilantro as an after thought.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sam, For the cornstarch, we would suggest omitting or maybe trying arrowroot starch (though we haven’t tried it)? For the nutritional yeast, you can try omitting and maybe increasing the spices? It won’t quite have that same “cheesy” taste though.

    • Shelby Hughes says

      YES! I agree with peeling the eggplant prior to broiling as I had the same issue. Otherwise, it was delish! I am going to see how it freezes as it makes quite a bit and I’m not able to eat it all right now!

  34. Morgan Fleming says

    All of the recipes I have done from this website are amazing including this one! I made this with cashew milk (and only 1 cup because that was all I had on hand) and it was still great. Thank you Dana for all these wonderful recipes. This is my go to website for vegtarian dishes and I am never disappointed.

  35. Judy Smith says

    This is amazing. In fact I’ve never left a review for a recipe before but this more than deserves the praise! I didn’t change anything except leaving out the salsa only because I liked it just plain. I plan to use on top of black bean burgers, for tacos and just as a plain dip. This could be used for so many things! It was easy to make and it will be a staple in my fridge. Thank you for the wonderful recipes!

  36. Shelby Schneider says

    This was delicious! Made it for Superbowl viewing; it was a hit! I was a little afraid to make it; it turned out great! Some of the eggplant I broiled, was a little burnt, I ate it as a snack, so delicious! The consistency of the queso was great; I used 2 tbls. nutritional yeast. I will follow one of the recommendations, and try making it with Oatly; as I need to make these again for my son’s girlfriend; she cannot have dairy or almonds! Thank you, I can’t wait to experiment with this recipe further.

  37. Astrid says

    Love your recipes! Can’t wait to try this one. Word of caution, most nonstick sprays contain soybean oil. I’ve only seen one avocado oil spray that doesn’t contain anything but avocado oil (it’s definitely not any of the main brands)

  38. Elizabeth says

    This queso is so easy and the spice blend is on point. I’ve started roasting the eggplant halved on a sheet pan until tender because the insides scoop out so easily. Making this for traditional “meat and potatoes” family members recently, I cooked ground Beyond Meat “Beef” with chilles and salsa and added it to the queso in a crockpot. It was great!

  39. Ligia says

    Made this and it was so delicious. One question. Could i add agar powder after everything is blended, and whisk everything in a pot with agar powder to make it a cheese? Would it work? I am looking for a cheddar cheese taste.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think that would work! I think tapioca would provide a similar, thickened, “stretchy” effect.

  40. Emily S Yang says

    Hello! I have been invited to my first vegan potluck (I am not vegan) and I’m so glad I found your recipe!! Thank you. PS – Do you think soy milk would work in place of almond?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi there! soy milk has a very distinct taste so I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d say cashew, almond and rice are your best bet here.

  41. Kristen says

    Just made this now. So tasty! Will be making again. I used the higher end of nutritional flakes but low on milk. I also like spicy so I added extra chili.

  42. Brooke says

    I love this website. When I found this, I made it the next day. I like the taste, but I put the items in the food processor instead of the blender, so the texture wasn’t right. Next time, and there will be a next time, I’ll put it in the nutribullet. I added the rotel, some jalepeno powder and a few drops of liquid smoke and it tasted pretty good. I think if the texture was right, it would’ve tasted more like cheese. We used as a dip with bread and veggies. Thanks Dana!

  43. Kristin says

    I’m new to the dairy free world and am slowly trending towards vegan. This sauce has totally opened up the world of creamy vegan sauces to me – in fact, changed the seasonings around, left out the nutritional yeast, and it made a great creamy enchilada sauce. It filled a void that I’ve been missing as my family eats our favorite sour cream chicken enchiladas. Thanks! :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Kristin! So glad you enjoyed it. Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review next time? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  44. Cassie says

    I made this tonight for nachos & it was amazing! I added a couple spoonfuls of chipotle sauce instead of tomatoes/Rotel & it was exactly what I wanted!

  45. Katie Leigh says

    THIS! Is so amazing. I can not believe this even worked. Eggplant – Nacho cheese? WHAT! Well, it does and let me say, It’s so so good. I have now made it 3 times (shamelessly in the past week ha! eggplant overload from the garden) and modified a few of the ingredients each time – i.e. I add WAY more garlic than the 1/3 tbs and tried sauteing it first before adding in and also added fresh tomatoes and scallions, instead of salsa the 3rd time and it’s still amazing. KUDOS! Thank you :D I’ve loved you and your cooking for years but for some reason haven’t left a comment yet, so cheers to cashew-less cheeze & chips!

  46. Shannon says

    I think the chili powder and cumin can be reduced or left out. I added in probably three times as much nutritional yeast and it turned out pretty good. The spices were overbearing as it tasted like a chili cheese sauce BUT was still cheesy and gooey and definitely passed as nacho cheese.

  47. Jordan says

    Love the idea of using eggplant in a dip like this! I opted not to use nutritional yeast because I’m following medical medium recommendations. I added lemon instead. It wasn’t necessarily “cheesy” because I left the nooch out but delicious nonetheless!!

  48. Aj says

    This recipe is fantastic. I highly recommend following the recipe as written and you should not have any issues.

    I also made few changes the second time I made it. I used Oatly instead of the almond milk and turmeric for color and it’s benefits
    Great recipe

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi there, We don’t have a sub for nutritional yeast, but you can leave it out and up the amount of spices we list. It won’t be as cheesy though!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm we’re not sure whether that would work, but if you give it a try, we would love to hear how it goes. Good luck!

  49. Suzie says

    I just made this and it is wonderful! I had it up on my comp for a few weeks now and kept putting it off! I really don’t like eggplant or should I say I have yet to cook eggplant and enjoy it! BUT this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!

  50. Jenna says

    I just made this and it is freakin amazing! I’ve been vegan for about 6 weeks now and have been dying for some queso! Queso was my biggest addiction and BY FAR the hardest thing to give up. I am not a fan of cashew cheese and I got some “nacho dip” from the store that was absolutely disgusting. I was just about to give up hope for my queso dreams when I found your recipe. THANK YOU! The only substitution I made was replacing the cornstarch with a couple of tsp of agar-agar because I was out of cornstarch. Worked great! I will say, it is not quite as creamy as queso, but it definitely hit the spot. I’ll be making this again, for sure!

  51. Rasmalai says

    the first time I made this dip, it was blah. But I was craving nachos today so I decided to give it another go. It was amazing. I added turmeric for color and subbed Frank’s Hot sauce for the salsa.

  52. R says

    I was so excited to try this and had it bookmarked for ages as I’m not so keen on cheese substitutes that rely heavily on nuts – they end up being not so healthy.
    However, I found it tasted strange, bland, and not at all like a cheesy sauce :(

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi there! Sorry you had difficulties with this recipe. It’s one of my favorites, but definitely one that requires a bit of seasoning to taste depending on your preferred flavor. Did you change any of the ingredients? Just wanted to ensure you used nutritional yeast? When in doubt, add more nutritional yeast, salt, and spices!

  53. Pamela says

    Thanks so much for this recipe! Before dialysis, cheese was a staple of my diet. Now, not only is dairy off the menu due to its high levels of phosphorous, but the same goes for nuts. Any other suggestions for cheese alternatives for things like pizza would be most appreciated.

  54. Paula says

    I made this for nachos and it was a hit!
    Also, used this queso as a cheese base for mac-n-cheese and it was delightful.

    ***If your queso is turning GRAY, try peeling the eggplant before you blend it. Purple peel will certainly turn your queso grey. Maybe try a little turmeric in the recipe for color?

  55. Ariel says

    I made this!!!! We topped it on the grillable burger recipe that Dana has with onions and spinach and omg it was heaven. Sloppy deliciousness!
    I subbed a roasted jalapeno pepper for some extra heat instead of the canned salsa.
    Cant wait to use this base for the mac and cheese!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the sweet note and lovely review, Ariel. We are so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Johanna, we haven’t tried that, but don’t think it would work. If not using cornstarch, we would recommend arrowroot powder. Hope that helps!