Say hello to the easiest vegan queso ever. Also the most delicious. But maybe I’m biased?
But probably not.
Just LOOK at it!
If I never have a bowl of real cheese-filled queso for the rest of my life that would be a-ok, because now I have this.
I’ve made a few vegan queso dips before but I’m the happiest with this version, and it works out for the both of us that it’s so super easy.
You’ll need the 6 ingredients you see below and that’s it! Okay, I did add salt and a little bit of turmeric for an extra saturated color, but I’m going to say just 6 ingredients.
I used a combination of cashews, frozen butternut squash, and silken tofu for the base. These ingredients combined together give the sauce an incredibly thick and creamy texture. It’s like golden nacho silk on your tongue.
Then we have chipotle peppers for a smoked spicy flavor, salsa for extra zestiness, and nutritional yeast for a touch of cheeziness.
Don’t be afraid of silken tofu. I mean, it’s okay to be a little afraid, but it’ll be all good once it’s blended up in this sauce. I only use silken tofu in sauces or other applications where it’s fully blended. It’s a little too silky (pun not intended!) in the texture department to be used for anything else.
I made two versions of this sauce and the 2nd was by far the winner. I used less tofu, more squash, and added the cashews. Total win! Also, in the notes section I talk about a quick tip to soften cashews if you forget to soak them before making this recipe. Don’t miss it!
And in case you’re not only freaked out by the tofu but also using butternut squash in queso dip, rest assured, this does not taste the least bit squashy.
Now that I’ve calmed all your fears about this vegan queso it’s time you get to making it.
use of butternut squash inspired by: The First Mess (and daaang does her sauce look amaze)
Easy Vegan Queso
gluten-free, vegan // yields ~1 1/2 cups
- 4 cups frozen butternut squash
- 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours, then rinsed + drained)
- 4oz firm silken tofu (1/3 of a typical 12oz block)
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup thick-style salsa
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1-2 gluten-free chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400° F.
Place butternut squash on a baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until tender. Mash the squash and measure 1 cup.
Place 1 cup mashed squash, cashews, tofu, 1/4 cup salsa, 1 chipotle pepper, salt, and turmeric (if using) in your blender. Blend until fully smooth. Taste and add more salsa, another pepper, and more salt if desired.
If you blended the squash while it was still hot your queso should still be quite warm and perfect for serving. If your squash was roasted then cooled, place your blended queso into a saucepan and heat over med-low until warm. Stir frequently then serve.
Let fully cool before storing in an airtight container for 4-5 days. The queso thickens once cooled. Add a small amount of milk and blend to thin out again if needed. Warm as instructed above.
-Be sure you’re using firm silken tofu. This is found in a cardboard box in the ethnic aisle of the grocery store by other Asian foods. It is not in the refrigerated section.
-If you’re in a time crunch and forgot to soak your cashews, you can actually steam them in a steamer like you would vegetables. I place them in my steamer basket with water below, then steam until tender, about 12-15 minutes.
-The chipotle pepper adds quite a bit of heat and a lot of flavor. If you can’t find them I recommend using a smoky hot sauce in its place.
-The turmeric imparts no flavor, just extra color.
-I didn’t try this with fresh butternut squash but am sure it would still work. You may need to add a bit more tofu and/or a small amount of milk to make it creamier. Frozen butternut squash has more water content and blends easier in this recipe. You can also use a scant 1 cup canned butternut squash puree, but the color may not be as bright.
Super Bowl party recommended.