Queso! I adore it, but I always overdo it, and waddle out of Mexican restaurants with a belly full of cheese. My queso-digesting powers seem to be diminishing rather than improving with age, which is quite unfortunate. So, I decided to come up with a dairy-free version to rival my favorite restaurant’s.
Let’s talk about the ingredients inside this queso. It starts with sautéed onion for ample flavor. Then, Russet potato comes into play, which has a magical tendency to become silky smooth, creamy and a little stretchy once blended. I grated the potato, which is faster than chopping it, and it cooks very quickly that way.
Fresh garlic and dried spices offer some complexity and familiar queso flavor. I included onion powder and garlic powder, which might seem redundant, but the combo makes this sauce taste irresistible—that’s a little trick I learned from Serious Eats, along with the potato factor.
Then, add raw cashews for more body and creaminess, and some water, which finishes cooking the potatoes and softens the cashews so they blend more easily. Once cooked, transfer everything to a blender (my Vitamix handles this queso like a champ).
Nutritional yeast offers some umami and “cheesy” flavor/color, and sun-dried tomatoes provide another little umami boost. Vinegar, hot sauce and salt round it out. Once blended to creamy oblivion, stir in some fire-roasted tomatoes (which are infinitely better than Ro-Tel).
Voila! You have the best vegan queso, which is so good that my cheese-eating girls’ night crew couldn’t stop going back for more. My best friend from childhood is coming to town soon and I’m going to make her some, too. We’ve eaten a lot of queso in our years together, but she has realized that dairy doesn’t agree with her skin, so this queso will be the perfect alternative.