Makes 2 cups
Time: 45 minutes
If ooey, gooey, cheeziness is your idea of comfort, I’ve got just what the doctor ordered. Yes, the doctor ordered nachos. Don’t ask me! It’s some kind of experimental alternative medicine or something.
Whether you take your queso with a lot of crunch over nachos, or prefer it in a doughy burrito, this recipe will satisfy all of your needs for creamy, melty, oozy, spicy, tangy, cheezy bliss. The cashew base makes it rich and smooth, and cooking it with a little starch brings the texture even closer to melted cheese, especially as it sets. Miso adds a lot of umami depth and satisfying saltiness. And of course there’s the usual queso suspects: onion, pepper, garlic and jalapeno. Some cumin, ancho powder and lemon seal the deal.
But the magic doesn’t end there! Not to get all infomercial on you, but this queso can also double as a grilled cheese filling. Let it cool completely, then spread over bread and toast each side in a pan with a little olive oil. Two comfort foods for the price of one. And one last thing ladies and gentlemen, it’s is completely gluten-free. Order now.
~If you prefer a chunky queso, double the vegetable ingredients (except for the garlic) and set half aside before the pureeing step.
~This reheats really well! Gently reheat in a small pot, drizzling in a little water and whisking often until it returns to its original creamy state.
~The nutritional yeast is totally optional, I love it both with and without. It adds a little extra cheezy kick, but if you aren’t a fan or don’t have any on hand, the queso will not suffer for it.
~White miso is my favorite, but since it’s such a small quantity, any miso will do here.
1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours or overnight
2 cups veg broth
2 tablespoons white miso (see recipe note)
2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced (keeps seeds if you want more heat)
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ancho pepper (or any mild ground red chili)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Drain the cashews. In a blender or food processor, puree them with vegetable broth, miso and cornstarch until very smooth. This could take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depending on your device. Rub between your fingers to test; slight graininess is okay, but try to get it as smooth as possible.
In the meantime, preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute onion, red pepper, and jalapeno in oil with a pinch of salt until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute about a minute more.
Transfer vegetables to the blender where the cashew mixture is. Add cumin, ancho, nutritional yeast and salt. Blend again until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender with a spatula to make sure you get everything.
Transfer mixture back to the pot. Whisking often, turn heat up to medium until the queso comes to a slow rolling boil. Lower heat so that it doesn’t burn and cook for about 20 minutes. Whisk often and check to see that it’s thickening, if it’s not, then turn the heat up a bit. It should become nicely thickened but velvetty and pourable.
Stir in the lemon juice at the end. If the queso seems too thick, drizzle in a little water and whisk to desired consistency. Taste for salt, spices and lemon juice and adjust as you like.
My bestie is vegan (we’re not, but love vegan/vegetarian dishes). She made this for our Superbowl party….it was a huge hit. Even my teenage son, whom is all about junk food, loved it. it tasted just like the real deal. Thanks for such a feel good to pretend eating bad kind of recipe!
Made this afternoon. Husband gets home and asks what smells so good. Glad the recipe make a lot. He really enjoyed this, as did I.
This sounds yummy! To save time, if I wanna buy the cashew base should I be buying cashew butter or cashew cream for this?
Isa I have made this many, many times and my veg and non-veg friends LOVE it. I sometimes roast the veggies, add poblanos, etc…always good!! I was wondering if this freezes well. We will be skiing next week and would like to make ahead (if possible) and take with us! Thanks for all of the great recipes. Getting ready to make your pumpkin muffins for breakfasts!!
Amazing! thank you so much this is my second week dairy free (I have a pet chicken and use her eggs in recopies so I can’t call myself vegan) I have been thinking about giving up dairy for a long time, and your food is so totaly amazing I have not missed it for a minute!!!
Hands down best dairy-free cheese I have EVER made (and believe me I’ve tried a lot). I love the fact that you don’t have to use nutritional yeast, which my husband can’t tolerate the flavor of. We chowed down on this queso, dipping bread, tortilla chips, and veggies. It made a lot so I poured the rest of the queso over some pasta and indulged in a spicy mac and cheese! THANK YOU for your culinary genius!
Now, Should I use raw cachews? Or are roasted and salted fine?
Awesome recipe!! This recipe rocks. I also cheated and used salsa so it was super easy!!!
This makes a great pasta sauce, and super easy to swap some pasta cooking water for the broth.
Xochitl, La Vegan Chica
OMG! Ay dios mio, this was so freaggin’ amazing! I served it with nacho toppings and people just ate it up and asked for seconds. Love all your recipes and tell everyone I know to check out what you got up your sleeve. ¡Mil gracias, Isa!
This was a really wonderful recipe. Thank-you so very much!!!
This queso is amazing! The first time I made it, my husband, while in the midst of devouring it, commented on how good it was. I thought I told him earlier that I would be tested out a cashew queso recipe (I probably did and he didn’t hear me…). Anyhow, a day later, we were talking and I said something to the effect of there being absolutely no cheese or dairy in the queso. To which, he responded, “There’s no cheese in that!”
This recipe rocks!! I did add a little softened almond jalapeno cheese as I am allergic to soy. It is really tasty!
Traci with an eye
Sweet mother! This dip is the most!!! My husband and I ended up eating chips and queso for dinner!! Seriously delicious!!
I have to admit that I had no clue what on earth the queso is… I am not american, and actually, I thought, Americans are only eating peas and sweet corns, and steamed broccoli and that long beans with some roast, according to the movies I’ve seen. Well, it turned out that you people definitely have some serious delicacies there, over the sea. This one is a-ma-zing! I added only a few dash of cumin since I think that 2 teaspoon a “little bit” too much from this particular spice, added a tbsp of tomato paste, some turmeric and a ready roasted pepper beside the bell pepper… I literally licked out the pot… Brilliant recipe! Thank you!
What can u use instead of miso? Allergic to soy!
miso alternative? chickpea miso! just made it the other day, worked out fine.
This is by far my favorite queso! I have made it many times and served it to lots of non-vegans who have also loved it! Sometimes I mix it with pinto beans, sometimes with beyond meat, sometimes with salsa-just so GOOD! Thanks again! <3
Great recipe as it is… but sometimes I do add a few peeled and boiled potatoes to the blender… assists in the gooey texture. Also add some chipotle in adobo sometimes.
Why drain the water? Couldn’t you just soak them in 2 cups water, then add some veggie bouillon?
Hi! I am starting a new blog to talk about my journey towards being more plant based. I would like to post a recipe that includes this cashew queso as a main ingredient. I would like your permission before I post. I am not sure (bc I am new to this) what the etiquette is. Do I list the cashew queso as an ingredient with a link back to your page, or do I just mention that the recipe is from your page? Thanks in advance!
Hi! I just commented but my email was incorrect. Correct email below! I was requesting permisssion to use this recipe in a recipe of my own.?
This is an old post, but I wonder: Can I just make this with raw cashew nut butter, instead? Seems like it would up the creaminess factor. But does it work?
Did you use cashew butter? How’d it turn out?
I make this exact recipe all the time!!! My non-vegan friends love it. AMAZING
I’ve made this twice now–and it has pleased both non-vegans and picky eaters. I used a green bell pepper the first time and it tasted fine (although the color was a bit off-putting). I used a yellow bell pepper the second time and it was even better–and more aesthetically pleasing. I found that I didn’t need to add the extra 1/4 tsp of salt and also probably doubled the nutritional yeast for extra cheeziness.
Thanks so much for a perfect recipe for board game nights!
Hi, Isa! I love this! I wonder…do you have a blender recommendation for things like this. I don’t have one!
No time? Then use dried onions and replace the taste of the peppers with paprika! It worked so well. I cut down on the salt my miso is super salty. I did not even heat it up, I threw it on my vegan enchiladas and it thickened in the oven. The mix of seasoning is always exceptional in your recipes. The best. I’ve tried many vegan recipes and cook books (it’s an addiction). And hands down my meat-eaters are clamoring for more of your food even if there is no meat.
Great–allergic to bell peppers of all colors so the tip to use paprika instead is MOST helpful!!
I just made it!
Ive had it in your restaurant and my first thought was “shes cheating! this is dairy!!” So i had to try it and omg so creamy so delicious, and a great consitancy. Seriously better than store bought queso! 11/10 would reccommend.