When I first went vegan, there were a few foods I really struggled to let go of. Cheese-covered nachos were one of them. You see, I grew up with Friday Family Nights where my dad and I would go to Blockbuster to pick out a movie rental (remember those?!) and then go home to chow down on a “treat meal” on the living room floor as a little family-of-three. Those evenings are one of my favorite childhood memories. And let me tell you, homemade nachos made frequent appearances on family nights! I mean, they’re the perfect meal for sharing! But when I recently decided to stay away from cheese, I thought the best part of nachos was gone. Bye nachos. Bye nostalgia.

Now I get that store-bought vegan cheese exists, but to be honest it’s just not my favorite. Enter: This homemade vegan queso.

To get that cheesy flavor this recipe uses nutritional yeast, which not only tastes amazing but is also iron-rich – great if you’re following a vegan diet! Soaked cashews help achieve a creamy texture and the jalapeno peppers and brine give it a little pop! This “cheese” is so good that you don’t even miss the melty cheddar that is normally on nachos. Not sure? Give it a try next Friday and I promise, you’ll be saving this recipe for weekends to come.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 6 pickled jalapeño slices
  • 6-8 tbsp pickled jalapeño juice
  • Hot water
  • 2 bags vegan corn tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
  • Jalapeño slices (as many as you want)

Equipment

  • Sheet Pan
  • Food Processor

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Quick soak cashews by placing them in very hot water for roughly 30-60 minutes.
  • In a food processor, combine soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, chili powder, jalapeño slices, and jalapeño juice. Blend until smooth.
  • If the sauce is too thick for drizzling, add hot water or more jalapeño juice a little bit at a time to thin.
  • Arrange tortilla chips on a baking tray. Top with beans, tomatoes, green onions, and jalapeño slices. Drizzle generously with queso sauce.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve hot!
Rhiannon Ball

Rhiannon loves to cook and bake but has also never said "no" to a takeout burrito (see, she's just like you!). Despite slowly running out of room in her cabinets, she continues to expand her collections of cookbooks and kitchen gadgets and is deeply jealous of people who can just "whip something up" without a recipe. When she's not in the kitchen, you can find her camping and hiking with her husband and rescue dog, Waffles.

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