Easy, delicious, oil-free vegan queso you’ll want to put on everything (and it’s so light and healthy you can)! Just blend it, heat it, and you’re ready to roll. Don’t have a high speed blender? No problem. Simply substitute raw cashew butter for the cashews. Now grab some tortilla chips, and get ready for some supremely delicious snacking. Oil-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and pantry-friendly.
What’s so great about this easy vegan queso?
Aside from being ridiculously easy to make, here’s one of the things I love most about homemade vegan cheese sauces…. variety. The recipe I’m sharing today is one of my favorite ways to make vegan queso, but once you know the basic formula for creating this creamy dip, you can tailor it to suit your taste or simply to accommodate the ingredients you have on hand!
For example, not into spiciness? Omit the chipotle and choose a mild salsa. Want more heat? Increase the chipotle flakes or add chipotle in adobo sauce. Don’t have smoked paprika? Leave it out and choose a smoky, chipotle salsa. Love cumin? Double it! Don’t mind oil and want a thicker, richer, more decadent queso? Increase the cashews and maybe even add some Violife or Chao cheese slices to the blender (more on this soon when I share my favorite mac and cheese recipe).
On that topic, I may even add a more indulgent queso recipe to the blog soon, as an alternative to this one, because….. I get it. Sometimes you’re having people over or going to a party where you just plain want to impress them with vegan food. Sometimes you want a recipe that tastes as MUCH like the traditional version as possible. And I’m all about that! But I’m also all about having healthier versions in our back pockets that we can break out for ourselves, on a regular old Tuesday, just because we want cheese sauce. So let’s keep going with our low-calorie, quick, oil-free vegan queso….
Most of the ingredients called for in this Easy Oil-Free Vegan Queso recipe are shelf-stable. In other words, like I mentioned in the Chorizo Cabbage Rolls post, once you purchase the tapioca starch, smoked paprika, etc, you’re set! When the mood strikes just pull everything out of the pantry, and you’re minutes away from healthy vegan queso. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty awesome. Sort of a vegan superpower, if you will.
What’s in this Oil-Free Vegan Queso? Just 9 ingredients (plus water and salt):
- cashews (or raw cashew butter if you don’t have a high speed blender)
- tapioca starch
- nutritional yeast
- lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- chipotle flakes
- smoked paprika
- garlic powder
We eat this Easy Oil-Free Vegan Queso all the time and love it, and I hope you do, too! If you experiment with the spices and find a combo you enjoy I would love to hear about it! You can comment below, rate the recipe, and if you want to tag me in a photo of your delicious queso with @myquietkitchen on instagram, that would be awesome. Cheers to dairy-free cheesy snacking!
If you like Mexican flavors, check out my favorite Smoky White Bean Tacos With Almond Queso Blanco.
More vegan cheese recipes:
Easy Oil-Free Vegan Queso
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup raw cashews (if you don't have a high speed blender, sub 3 Tbsp raw cashew butter)
- 2 Tbsp tapioca starch (can sub 1 Tbsp corn starch if necessary) *Tapioca starch provides the thick and stretchy element to this cheese sauce.
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice or 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp chipotle flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 3/4 to 1 tsp salt (start with lesser amount; taste and adjust after adding salsa)
- 1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa or salsa of choice
- For smooth queso: combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth. For chunky queso: combine all ingredients except salsa in a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Pour mixture into a small sauce pan. If making chunky queso, add the salsa now. Stirring frequently, cook over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until the queso has thickened. Taste and add more salsa if desired. Serve immediately.