Samah Dada
December 20, 2023

Vegan Jalapeño Queso

When choosing to live a dairy-free lifestyle, or at least try it out for a little while, I often find that cheese is the one food group that people are the most upset to give up. And when I say upset, I mean it. “I would go dairy-free except for the fact that….cheese. So I can't.” Look, I get it. But that's where this queso comes in to save the day.

And I know, I know. I am very aware of the fact that cashews are probably the last thing you think of when you’re craving queso. But the creamy, buttery consistency created by the cashews, the fiery kick from a roasted jalapeño, and the “cheesy” taste thanks to nutritional yeast all work together here to create a velvety, luxurious dip. I know you're absolutely going to love this (and your friends will too when you bring it to your next gathering). It's perfect with your favorite chip, or drizzled on top of nachos!


  • 1 jalapeño
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or “flash-soaked” (see note)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup vegetable broth, plus extra if needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Tortilla chips


1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the jalapeño on a small parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle it with olive oil so that it is completely coated. Roast the jalapeño in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until it is tender and the skin begins to blacken. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, remove the jalapeño’s stem, and set the jalapeño aside to cool. For a less spicy queso, slice the jalapeño open and remove the seeds.

2. Drain the soaked cashews and place them in a high-speed blender or a food processor. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, and roasted jalapeño. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth and velvety. I live for a thick queso but if yours is coming out too creamy for your liking, blend in a couple extra splashes of vegetable broth.

3. Season the queso with salt and pepper to taste, and transfer it to a bowl.

4. Serve immediately, with tortilla chips!

Note: You can either soak cashews overnight in room-temperature water or, if you’re impatient like me, you can use the flash-soaking method. All you do is boil some water and pour it over the cashews. Let them sit in the hot water off the heat for one hour!

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