Smoky Vegan Cashew Queso

June 7, 2021
I rediscovered this recipe for smoky vegan cashew queso a couple of weeks ago, and I can't figure out why I've left it so long to make it again!

My goodness, it's dangerously moreish! Rich, savory, piquant, cheezy, gooey (it has that stringy, unctuous effect, thanks to the addition of tapioca flour) and the smoky earthy hit of Chipotle flakes just keeps developing with time (although if you can keep from eating it all in one sitting, you deserve a prize for self-discipline)!

Pairs perfectly with crudités and a chilled off-dry white, or over tortillas, with salsa and a green salad, atop a crunchy jacket potato, or even on toasted sourdough with avocado and sliced plum tomatoes... the list just keeps going! Would go immensely well with these coconut bacon bits.

The original recipe is by Lee Watson, but I've made a couple of big flavor tweaks which add some extra pep and tang to the mix!
vegan queso in a white dish

Smoky Vegan Cashew Queso

Recipe Type: Appetizers
utensils YIELDS 2–4 (1 large bowlful)
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  • 1 cup Cashew nuts (125 g)
  • 1 2/3 cups Unsweetened soya milk
  • 2/3 teaspoon (or to taste) Ground turmeric
  • 1–2 teaspoons Garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (or more, for extra cheesiness)
  • 1 tablespoon Good quality cider vinegar with the mother
  • A pinch (to taste) English mustard powder
  • 1–2 teaspoons Dried Chipotle flakes
  • 1/2–1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 teaspoon or to taste Smoked paprika
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1. Soak the cashews in plenty of cold water for around 2 hours.

2. Drain the cashews, and put into a good blender or food processor, along with the soya milk.

3. Blend until you get a smooth, creamy liquid.

4. Pour the cashew liquid into a small/medium saucepan, scraping any excess from your blender.

5. Add all the other ingredients, apart from the chipotle flakes. Stir well to combine, until smooth.

6. Simmer on a low/medium heat, stirring continuously using a wooden spoon,  and being careful to keep going over the base and sides of the pan frequently.

When you start to get lumps forming, I’d recommend switching to using a metal whisk to get it all smooth and break up the lumps. Then you can go back to the wooden spoon when it’s all under control.

7. After about 10 mins, when the mixture is lovely, thick and gooey, have a taste and if it’s a bit chalky, give it a while longer on the heat.

8. Once it’s done, remove from the heat and stir in the chipotle flakes. Taste to check the seasoning, and tweak as desired!

Serve warm or chilled. Will refrigerate for several days—if you can wait that long!

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Photo: Ema Melanaphy


Ema Melanaphy is an ex-Civil Servant Reiki practitioner and Shiatsu student, a super proud auntie of 6 niblings, a multipotentialite, passionate vegan, yoga enthusiast and unabashed geek girl. She loves inventing new recipes and veganising the heck out of everything, experimenting with hair colours, learning languages (learning in general!) exploring the world, evolving, and connecting with nature. She posts on Instagram at @reikiema, and blogs on her website


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