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Vegan queso garnished with pickled jalapenos and cilantro

Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

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  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: About 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex
  • Diet: Vegan


You won’t believe how much this vegan nacho cheese sauce tastes like the real thing! Layer it into nachos, slather on tacos and burritos, or eat it as a dip with tortilla chips. (Adapted from 101 Cookbooks)


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated sweet potato (about 2/3 medium potato)
  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • About 1/4 cup roughly chopped pickled jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro


  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Soak for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the paprika, garlic, pepper flakes, and black pepper, and cook for 30 seconds more.
  3. Add the drained cashews, sweet potato, 1 cup water, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potato is softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a blender, along with the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and miso. (See warning below). Blend until smooth and creamy, gradually adding the remaining water until it reaches a dippable consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Stir in the jalapenos and cilantro.


Blender safety: Since the mixture is hot, it’s important that the steam has a way to escape the blender while you puree, so remember to take out the removable center of the blender lid before blending. If the steam is trapped inside, the lid will blow off when you start to blend and you’ll have a big mess on your hands.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 95

Keywords: nacho, queso, vegan cheese, cashews, miso

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