Summer’s Vegan Queso

Makes enough for a party

Before Summer Burton became totally vegan, she wasn't really into cooking, relying heavily on cheese pizza, cheese quesadillas, bean and cheese tacos, and queso. She said, "One of the first things when I went vegan was, 'Oh my God, I'm really going to miss queso.' Queso was like my number one favorite food in the world, so I got obsessed with making the best possible vegan queso. Now I think I have a really good recipe – it's not the same, and I don't think substitutes always need to be the same, but it is really good. I'm more excited by the creativity of it than bummed out by not being able to eat regular cheese."

She experimented with many iterations, and this now-perfected version is her once-a-week staple served with warm tortillas and "everything from nachos to broccoli." It's a breeze to make, but you'll definitely want a high-powered blender.


- ¼ cup vegetable shortening

- 1 10-oz. can of diced tomatoes and green chiles

- 1 ½ cups plain unsalted cashews, soaked overnight if you remember (NBD if you don't)

- ½ cup of your favorite salsa

- 4 ounces jarred roasted red peppers

- 2 tablespoons white miso

- 1 tablespoon lime juice

- ¼ cup nutritional yeast

- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

- 1 teaspoon cumin

- 1 teaspoon garlic powder

- 1 teaspoon turmeric

- 1 cup nondairy milk (I like oat milk)

- Hot sauce (e.g. Frank's) to taste

- Salt to taste

- Optional toppings: cilantro, pico de gallo, sliced avocado ...

1) Melt shortening in a medium saucepan, then add canned tomatoes and green chiles and cook, stirring occasionally, while preparing the rest of the dip.

2) Add all other ingredients – except the hot sauce, salt, and toppings – to your blender and mix, starting at the lowest setting and then building to the highest setting for at least two minutes. Pulse and scrape sides as needed, and add water in small amounts to achieve your desired consistency.

3) Add cashew-cheese sauce from your blender to the saucepan with tomatoes and chiles, and stir well. Add salt and hot sauce to taste.

4) Cook on medium heat for at least 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Garnish with any toppings and enjoy!

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