A plant-based queso dip that's cheesy and delicious yet somehow dairy-free and oil-free? Sign me up! This Vegan Cashew Queso Dip is super easy and absolutely addictive. Perfect as an appetizer, snack, or even the main course!
If you think going plant-based means giving up familiar comfort dishes, think again! The first time I made this vegan cashew queso dip I couldn't believe how rich and creamy it was. This dip reminds me of the queso blanco from my favorite Mexican restaurant back home. Creamy, comforting, and delicious--only this version is both dairy-free and oil-free!
The secret to making the perfect vegan queso starts with the creaminess of the cashews. You can substitute blanched almonds or macadamia nuts, but by far I think cashews offer the best flavor and texture.
Speaking of flavor: the cheesiness in this queso comes from a healthy dose of nutritional yeast--even if you're not a fan in other recipes, give this one a shot. Something about the combination of cashew creaminess and the deep richness of the nutritional yeast creates a flavor that's truly cheesy.
Finally, the add-ins take this vegan queso recipe from bland to bling! Diced tomatoes add acidity, cilantro adds a punch of flavor, and green chiles add a little kick of heat.
You'll love this Vegan Cashew Queso Dip because it's:
- Creamy & Cheesy
- Simple & Easy
- Quick & Delicious
- Vegan / Vegetarian
- WFPB (Whole-Foods Plant Based)
- Great with a Side of Salsa & Guacamole
- Perfect for dipping Chips, Celery, and more!
Can this be nut-free?
You can try using sunflower seeds to make a nut-free vegan queso blanco. I haven't tried it that way though, so I can't guarantee anything.
For something so transformed, this recipe is incredibly easy. Here's what you need:
- Unsalted Cashews
- unsweetened, plain plant-based yogurt
- nutritional yeast
- lemon juice
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Ground Cumin
- Sea Salt (optional)
- ½ of a ripe tomato or 2 tablespoon of your favorite chunky salsa
- 2 tablespoon of Diced Green Chiles (jarred or fresh)
- In place of the cashews, you can use blanched almonds or macadamia nuts. (If you can't find unsalted macadamia nuts, reduce the amount of salt you add to the queso.)
To change the flavor profile slightly and transform this queso into a versatile cashew sauce, simply omit the ground cumin and the garnishes. Then you'll have a vegan white cheese sauce that's perfect for topping fettuccini, macaroni, and lasagna, and more.
For this recipe, you'll also need a high-speed blender. I use my NutriBullet Pro because it gets the queso nice and smooth and is super easy to clean. If you don't have a high-speed blender you could also try using a food processor, but the queso won't have quite as smooth of a consistency.
- To make this vegan queso, start by boiling the cashews for ten minutes. Then rinse and drain.
- Add the softened cashews and main queso ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add the cashew queso to a small or medium-sized pot and warm over low heat for about 5 minutes. Be sure to stir with a wooden spoon to keep the queso from sticking or burning.
- When the mixture is heated through, remove from the heat, add in the chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and green chiles. Stir to combine and serve immediately!
How to Store
This vegan queso tastes best right after you make it, but it can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When reheating add a few tablespoons of water to the mixture to keep the right consistency (the queso will thicken when warmed).
How to Serve
Of course, you can serve this vegan queso with the traditional side of tortilla chips. But don't be afraid to think outside of the box either. I absolutely love this dip with raw veggies (especially celery). It also makes the perfect sauce for Vegan Tofu Tacos, nachos, a burrito bowl, enchiladas, or Baked Vegan Taquitos.
- Baked Vegan Taquitos
- Vegan Street Tacos
- Southwestern Salad with Chili-Lime Tofu Nuggets
- Cilantro-Lime Avocado Dressing (Oil-Free!)
- Vegan Fajitas with Veggies and Mushrooms
Vegan Cashew Queso Dip (Easy & Oil-Free)
Queso Main Ingredients
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- ¼ cup unsweetened, plain plant-based yogurt (I use soy yogurt)
- ½ cup water (possibly ¾ cup depending on the blender)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup diced fresh tomato
- 2 to 4 tablespoon diced green chiles (fresh or jarred: see note below)
- Add the cashews to a small pot and fill halfway with water. Over high heat, bring the cashews to a boil, and continue to boil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
- Place the cashews in a strainer to drain off the water and rinse with cold water.
- Add the cashews and all of the other main queso ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Add the queso sauce back to the small pot and place over low heat.
- Heat the queso on low, stirring with a wooden spoon for 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture is warmed through and slightly reduced (the queso will continue to thicken after it's removed from the heat).
- Remove the queso from heat. Mix the chiles, tomatoes, and cilantro into the queso mixture. Pour the queso into a serving bowl and serve immediately.
- I like the brininess of jarred green chiles for this recipe, but feel free to use fresh jalapeno if you prefer.
- Adjust the amount of diced chiles to fit your preferred spice level.
- If you don't have fresh tomatoes, you can substitute with chunky salsa or diced jarred tomatoes.
- You can substitute blanched almonds or macadamia nuts for the cashews, but in my experience cashews work best for this recipe.
- If you're using a super-powered blender like a Vitamix, you might only need ½ cup water.
- If you're happy with the thickness and temperature of your cashew queso out of the blender then you can skip warming it on the stove again.
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