The Simple Hack To Make Homemade Vegan Queso

Gone are the days when vegans were restricted to vegetable medleys and fruit skewers as their only meal options. No shade to either dish, but plant-based foodies deserve access to more than the basics. Luckily, as the plant-based market expands, so do the options for vegan food. From meatless burgers to cauliflower fried chicken, animal-free food choices are more expansive than ever. With some creativity, you can bring the world of innovative vegan food to your kitchen.

We don't blame you if you're a vegan who craves queso. This cheesy Tex-Mex staple is delicious and versatile: Use it for a satiating appetizer or as a condiment for smothering burritos and dipping tacos. However, achieving a classic queso texture and taste in a vegan kitchen is no easy feat. Thankfully, it's easy to make homemade vegan queso thanks to one unsuspecting nut — cashews. According to WebMD, cashews are high in healthy fats, which helps impart a rich, creamy texture to plant-based cheese varieties. 

Like real cheese, cashews are also a source of protein, so you can still meet your daily intake with cashew queso. Cashews are generally mild in flavor and, with the right spices, can easily take on a queso flavor. One of the easiest ways to make vegan queso is to blend water-soaked cashews with salsa, nutritional yeast, cumin, and salt until creamy before heating it in a pot and serving it with tortilla chips. 

How to customize cashew queso dip

Thanks to its funky, savory, umami-rich flavor, nutritional yeast is one of the most important ingredients for giving cashew queso its cheesy appeal. As long as you have nooch and cashews, you can experiment with vegan queso as much as you want and always have that creamy, cheesy element. If you don't have nutritional yeast, don't fret: Vegan yogurt or cream cheese is a great substitute.

One vegan chef on TikTok shared a recipe for cashew queso using cashews, oat milk, cashew cream cheese, jalapeños, and taco seasoning mixed with ground beef made from walnuts for a spicy, meatless ground beef queso that could rival Torchy's Tacos beefy queso.

By incorporating smoked paprika or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into your cashew queso, you can achieve an irresistibly smoky flavor that can pair well with pulled-pork tacos made from jackfruit. Keep it simple by adding a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice to brighten the flavors and give the queso a tangy edge or add a touch of sweetness by blending in maple syrup of agave nectar. Whichever way you make your cashew queso, the food pairings are as limitless as the queso itself, so get creative, get inspired, and never settle for less with vegan cuisine!