All aboard the queso train – toot toot!
Did you like my cheesy joke? (Get it? Cheesy cuz it’s…queso?)
But, in all seriousness, soak some cashews, roast your peppers, and ready your chips, folks. We’re making vegan queso.
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 version is not traditional, but is inspired by the creaminess and heat of chile con queso.
Roasted Jalapeño Vegan Queso
I’ve made vegan queso before, both from eggplant and from a semi-classic “roux” of garlic, oil, starch, and almond milk. But I had yet to tackle cashew queso.
However, after a trip to one of my favorite Portland eateries – Prasad – my friend Jeanette ordered their roasted jalapeño queso and insisted I try it. Things haven’t been the same since. I had to remake this queso.
My version is easy, requiring just 7 ingredients and a little over 1 hour to make. Plus, it’s oil-free for those of you avoiding oil, yet it remains ridiculously creamy thanks to the soaked cashews.
The “cheesy” flavor primarily comes from nutritional yeast, which also adds a hefty serving of B vitamins and a gorgeous golden hue. It’s what we call a win-win situation.
I hope you all LOVE this “cheese” sauce! It’s:
& So delicious
This would make the perfect sauce to add to things like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, nachos, and more. It’s also delicious with straight-up tortilla chips – you can’t beat a classic.
If you give this recipe a try, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment below, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Roasted Jalapeño Vegan Queso (7 ingredients!)
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for 6 hours or overnight in cool water or 1 hour in very hot water)
- 1-2 small jalapeños (2 for spicier queso, 1 small pepper for less spicy)
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (for cheesy flavor + yellow color)
- 1/2-1 cup filtered water
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 dash hot sauce (optional // such as Tapatío // or red pepper flake)
- Be sure to soak your cashews overnight in cool water or in very hot water for 1 hour before starting this recipe. Drain and then proceed with recipe.
- Preheat oven to medium broil and add jalapeños to a baking sheet. Broil on the top oven rack for 4-7 minutes or until slightly blackened on the outside. Wrap in foil to steam for a few minutes. Then carefully peel outside skin away and remove any seeds/stems. (Note: Be sure to wash your hands after peeling to avoid getting any lingering heat on your skin or your eyes.)
- Add soaked, drained cashews and jalapeños to a blender along with nutritional yeast, water (starting with the lesser amount), chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and hot sauce (optional).
- Blend, adding more water as needed to create a creamy, pourable cheese sauce. Scrape down sides as needed.
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more nutritional yeast for depth of flavor and cheesiness, remaining jalapeńo or chili powder for heat, cumin for smokiness, salt for saltiness, or hot sauce for additional heat.
- Serve immediately. Will be fine at room temperature for several hours. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
*Original recipe makes ~2 cups queso.
*Recipe inspired by the jalapeño queso at Prasad in Portland, OR.
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