How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese

In Essential Recipes/ Recipes

Want to make a healthy vegan nacho cheese sauce at home? Basically vegan queso, this cashew cheese sauce recipe is ultra simple and delicious.

How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese | A healthy vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe

Can we talk about vegan nacho cheese? Yes, vegan nacho cheese. If you’re like Alex’s brother and think vegan is a dirty word, you’re probably not reading this. So, I don’t have to convince you that vegan is indeed a delightful adjective that simply means this vegan nacho cheese recipe has no real cheese in it! However, this does not mean vegan nacho cheese tastes like fake cheese. It’s so creamy and flavorful that it has me swearing off that plastic processed nacho cheese forever! And let me tell you: I’m a huge cheese fan. Alex and I eat mostly vegetarian on the regular, but more and more vegan recipes have been creeping into our kitchen repertoire. And we think this vegan nacho cheese recipe should be in yours! Why we think so—and a new video—below.

Related: The Best Loaded Vegan Nachos

Watch how to make our vegan nacho cheese recipe

How to make vegan nacho cheese

The magic of this vegan nacho cheese recipe is in one word: cashews. We use cashews in many vegan recipes to make a creamy dairy free cashew cheese sauce: like in this Vegan Pasta Marinara, these Greek Nachos with Cilantro Drizzle, and these Vegan Tacos with Chipotle Cashew Cream. Oh and our Incredible No Mayo Potato Salad! After cashews are soaked, they blend into the perfect creamy consistency that can carry any flavors you like.

For this vegan nacho cheese (basically a vegan queso), we’ve added some traditional Mexican flavors. The special ingredient is a can of green chiles, which you should be able to find in most international grocery aisles. The canned green chiles we’ve specified are mild, but they do have a backend heat! Once it’s blended, you won’t notice too much heat: unless you use a hot chili powder! We’d done this by accident before, which resulted in a hot (but still delicious) vegan nacho cheese sauce. The other ingredients are all ones you likely have in your pantry and refrigerator: chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and yellow mustard.

How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese | A healthy vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe

How to serve vegan nacho cheese

We created this vegan nacho cheese sauce to be used on our Best Loaded Vegan Nachos! These nachos combine use popular Smoky Instant Pot Lentils and Rice recipe — but if you don’t have an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, you can use our Lentil Tacos recipe. This chip dip would be perfect as a gameday snack to nosh on while watching football! Here are some other ways to use this vegan nacho cheese sauce:

  • Plain: Just put in in a bowl and use it to dip chips!
  • Buddha bowl or grain bowl: A Mexican or Latin themed Buddha bowl is much more delicious with vegan nacho cheese! Try this Southwestern Bowl with vegan nacho cheese!
  • Chili: Our popular Vegetarian Chili turns into a vegan chili when topped with this cashew cheese sauce!
  • Tot-chos: As in, Tater Tot Nachos. Need we say more?

A few other notes: the recipe is totally kid friendly! Larson absolutely loved this cashew cheese sauce and loved dipping small pieces of tortilla chips! However, important: this sauce is messy! Because it has turmeric, if it lands on clothes it makes a yellow mark. So, when Larson eats it we strip off his clothes and put on his silicone bib.

How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese | A healthy vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe

Looking for more vegan recipes?

Here are some of our favorite vegan recipes!

This recipe is…

This vegan nacho cheese recipe is vegetarian, gluten free, vegan, plant based, refined sugar free, and naturally sweet.

How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese | A healthy vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe

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How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese | A healthy vegan nacho cheese sauce recipe

How to Make Vegan Nacho Cheese


1 Star (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 cup
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Want to make a healthy vegan nacho cheese sauce at home? Basically vegan queso, this cashew cheese sauce recipe is ultra simple and delicious.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw unsalted whole cashews
  • 1 7 ounce can mild green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (make sure it’s not spicy!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (for color, optional)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

Place the cashews in a bowl with water and allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes. (You can soak even longer if time allows, or even overnight if desired. If you don’t have a high speed blender, we recommend soaking at least 1 hour.)

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high until creamy and fully combined. Place in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator.

Keywords: Nacho Cheese, Vegan Nacho Cheese, Queso, Vegan Queso, Mexican, Cashew Cheese, Vegan Cashew Cheese, Nacho Cheese Sauce

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Jereen
    September 5, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Looks like my question did not go through. You mention white wine vinegar in the text but it is not listed in the ingredient. Should it be and how much should I use? Also how do I heat it up: microwave or stovetop?

    • Reply
      Sonja
      September 5, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      That was a mistake in my article, the recipe was correct — no white wine vinegar! If you want it warm, you can use warm water when you make it! Or heat it gently over the stovetop.

  • Reply
    Whitney
    September 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    I would have never thought of cashews! That is brilliant. I only learned recently that most cheese isn’t vegetarian due to the rennet. While I am not a strict vegetarian I do try to cut out meat when possible. I have also been wanting to try some vegan recipes so I can’t wait to try this! Looks delish!

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