That's right! It's the moment you've been waiting for WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED VEGAN QUESO that tastes just like the creamy, spicy queso you remember from back in the day.
The most popular recipe on my blog to date is my low-fat vegan cheese sauce and that does not surprise me in the least - it's easy, pretty much fool proof, super healthy and CRAZY good. When I first heard that you could make a creamy, 'cheeze' sauce out of vegetables I didn't believe it but when I finally perfected my own, I swear, I almost heard angels singing - I danced around my kitchen, called myself a genius as I kept eating the stuff off the spoon (much to the deep, external embarrassment of my boyfriend). In the past I was a huge cheese lover and although I can't say I have craved real cheese since becoming vegan, this is a recipe I make time and time again when I want something super comforting.
This spicy, creamy, south-of-the-border version is probably my favorite variation yet AND its even SIMPLER than the original! The mouth feel and flavor profile are unreal and even the biggest cheese lover wouldn't think twice about double dipping into this plant-based-bowl.
In my original 'cheeze' sauce recipe I use a tiny bit of hummus to give the mixture a creamy, savory kick. I love using hummus as a lighter alternative to the usual nut-based vegan cheeses which can honestly leave most people feeling a little too full because of their calorically dense nature. This time around I use tahini (aka sesame seed butter, aka the base of most hummus) to create a smooth, silky texture that cannot be beat. I also didn't add any turmeric in this variation - it is used to give the sauce a 'cheese-like' color but I think the combo of carrots and red pepper do the trick here.
Again - This sauce is actually good for you - it is just veggies, nutritional yeast, sesame seeds and some seasoning but when combined it turns into something all it's own that will seriously have your head spinning.
Give it a try and let me know how you like it!
Serves: 4-6 people (as a dip) • Prep Time: 10 minutes • Cook Time: 15 minutes
- 1 large idaho gold/yellow potato, roughly diced
- 2 small carrots, roughly roughly diced
- 1/2 red pepper, roughly diced (bonus points and a more smokey flavor if you slightly char the pepper on your stovetop or grill first)
- 1/2 yellow onion, roughly diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, whole
- 1 low sodium veggie bouillon (optional, can omit or use vegetable stock instead)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp. of your favorite hot sauce
- 2 tbsp. good, runny tahini (like this brand)
- roughly 1/3 cup vegetable cooking liquid
- Salt or coconut aminos to taste
- 1/2 jar of your favorite salsa
1. Chop the potato, carrots, red pepper, onion and add to a pot along with your garlic and veggie boullion. Add enough water (or veggie stock if you don't have veggie bouillion cubes) to cover the vegetables about half way - turn the heat to medium high and cook till the vegetables to become soft enough to easily pierce with a fork, apx. 10 minutes.
2. Once tender, add the vegetables and 1/3 of the cooking liquid to a high speed blender along with nutritional yeast, hot sauce, tahini and salt. Blend on high till the mixture becomes fully smooth and creamy, you will have to use a spatula or your tamper (Vitamix peeps) along with way. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
NOTE: Yes I want you to blend everything while it's still very HOT. I highly recommend using a high speed blender (with vents) but if you are using a conventional blender (or nutri-bullet type device) let the mixture cool down a bit before blending to prevent an explosion.
3. Transfer the cheezy mixture into a sauce pan and heat at medium-low just until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken slightly, apx. 3 minutes.
4. Once warmed through, stir in half a jar (or more if you prefer) of your favorite salsa.
PRO TIP: As much as I love fresh style salsas like 'pico de gallo', I would caution against using them in this recipe - they are a bit too watery and will thin out your sauce too much - instead opt for a can of 'thick' style salsa from the Latin section of the grocery store - my favorite brand is Green Mountain Gringo which I can't get in California but, whatever, I make do.
5. Serve warm with homemade corn chips, on a burrito bowl, in a quesadilla, as a nacho topping, in tacos, in a wrap...you get the idea, this stuff goes great with EVERYTHING.