There’s something about a plate of nachos that makes us feel like we’re in heaven. But what if you are vegan and can’t have the cheese? This recipe is for those who want to enjoy some delicious, cheesy nachos without dairy or meat! This plant-based recipe is made from nutritious vegetables and cashews with roasted green chilies for spice!
History of Nacho Cheese
Nachos are typically eaten in the U.S., but more recently, they have become popular in many countries worldwide. The word “nachos” comes from the Spanish word meaning “little nest.” They were invented by Ignacio Anaya in 1943 when he was working at the Victory Club restaurant in Piedras Negras, Mexico, during World War II. Nachos are now one of America’s favorite foods and often called an All-American dish because it has been so heavily adopted into American culture.
It is typically made with cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, milk, and spices such as jalapeño pepper. The ingredients are heated together until the cheese melts and becomes smooth. Nacho Cheese can be purchased pre-made, but it’s also common to make your own at home from scratch.
If you are visiting Portugal, it’s easy to just order this. Read up on Portugal Passes Bill Making Vegan Options Mandatory in Restaurants.
Vegan Nachos Cheese today
When I was a kid, there was no such thing as vegan cheese. It would be years before we discovered Daiya and other brands of vegan cheese that were actually good. Read up on The Untold Secret of Vegan Cheese.
I grew up when the only options for dairy-free nachos were to use fake soy or rice cheeses which tasted absolutely awful. But now things are different! These days you can find any number of delicious vegan cheeses at your local grocery store, including some perfect for grating over your favorite nacho recipe.
Is Nacho Cheese Vegan?
Nacho cheese is typically made from cheese. The critical ingredient to nacho cheese is cheddar cheese. If you are buying the pre-made nacho cheese, then there is a chance that it’s not vegan. However, suppose you are purchasing the ingredients and making it yourself. In that case, there is a good chance that it’s vegan because most raw cheese out of the package isn’t vegan. To find out what other vegan cheeses are there, I recommend reading 9 Must Buy Vegan Cheeses.
How To Make Vegan Nacho Cheese Recipe
To make a vegan nacho cheese recipe, you’ll need:
- Toasted cashews – 1/3 cup
- Creamy Original Cashew Cheese from Trader Joe’s – 1 container (16 oz)
- Roasted green chiles in adobo sauce, such as Frontera brand – 3-4 peppers (depending on taste preference), cut into strips with seeds discarded.
- Gluten-free chips of your choice. We used tortilla style chips because we ran out of corn chips, apparently 🙁 and the recipe doesn’t call for any GF flour or bread crumbs to coat them in. Corn tortillas will also work well if you’re not looking for gluten-free 😉
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the cashews thin on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 7 minutes.
- Remove nuts from the oven carefully because they will be boiling! Allow them to cool before chopping into small pieces. Set the cheese aside also. The recipe doesn’t call for using any gluten-free flours or bread crumbs to coat the chips, so I just used a small amount of oil, salt, and pepper to season them.
- Bake chips until crispy, about 16 minutes.
- Melt it on low heat, so it blends together better. Using an immersion blender or standing blender, add the roasted chiles and toasted cashews into the cheese sauce and pulse until smooth.
- Keep it on a low simmer, occasionally stirring. At the same time, you add any other toppings to your vegan nacho cheese recipe (if desired). We put fresh cilantro on top because we had some leftovers from our salsa Fresca earlier in the week.
I’ve also seen recipes that use jalapenos to spice up the cheese, or you can just add a few slices of avocado if so desired. Another good spice to improve the taste is Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Fresca.
Can You Make Vegan Nacho Cheese Without Nuts?
Nut-free vegan nacho cheese! Vegan Nacho cheese without nuts is possible, but it takes a little more work. You can make a nacho cheese sauce that does not rely on nuts by mixing beans, corn, soy milk, and agar.
You can also try replacing the cashews in the vegan parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast. It is typically made from brewer’s yeast. It can be found at natural food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts as well as many regular grocery stores with a large selection of grains and health foods.”
Vegan NACHOS CHEESE (makes about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 cup cooked or canned pinto beans, drained
- 2 Tablespoons cornmeal 1 ½ cups boiling water
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsweetened soy milk
- 1 teaspoon agar powder 2 teaspoons tahini paste (see note below)
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro ¼ cup minced green onions
- 1 teaspoon chili powder ½ teaspoon salt one pinch nutmeg 1 can (4-ounce) diced green chiles
1. Combine the broth, beans, cornmeal, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to boil over high heat. Stir, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in the nutritional yeast, cilantro, green onions, chili powder, salt, and nutmeg.
2. Measure 1 cup of the hot soup mixture into a small microwave-safe dish; let stand 3 minutes thicken slightly. Add soy milk and agar to the plate. Mix well and microwave on high power for 1½ minutes.
3. Stir mixture in the microwaved dish; reheat it over very low heat until simmering. Add this mixture and cilantro (or don’t) to the remaining hot soup in the saucepan, constantly whisking to avoid lumps. Cook over medium heat until the mix is hot, about 3 minutes. Add diced chiles and stir to combine. Remove from the burner and serve immediately or cover the pan and set aside for 2 days in the refrigerator.
Note: Tahini paste is a thick brown paste made from sesame seeds and is used in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes. You can find it at health food stores and larger grocery stores. It has a mild taste similar to peanut butter, but I like its unique flavor, which helps make this sauce rich and creamy. Peanut butter can be a substitute for Tahini paste.
Other substitutions: depending on your dietary preferences, you may want to use non-dairy milk (rice, soy, almond, hazelnut) instead of soy milk and quinoa flakes instead of cornmeal.
Is Vegan Nacho Cheese Good For You?
It is a good choice because it has less fat and calories than non-vegan cheese.
Vegans can enjoy this cheese because it’s soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and free of junk ingredients like trans fats. It also uses all-natural plant protein and contains healthy essential fatty acids with Omega 3s. In contrast, regular cheese is high in saturated fat, sodium/lactose, processed carbohydrate(s), cholesterol & animal proteins, as well as artificial colors and flavors, likely to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals (lead, mercury).
4 servings of Vegan Nachos Cheese
Nutrition Facts (per 1/4 cup serving): Calories: 89; Protein: 5g; Carbohydrates: 12g; Fat 4.5 g (Saturated fat 1.0 g, Polyunsaturated fat 2.0 g, Monounsaturated fat 0.7 g); Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium 258mg
Best Food With Vegan Nacho Cheese
Nachos are a favorite dish for many people, but what is the best food to pair with nacho cheese?
For things like nachos or queso dip, you can use anything from onions and tomatoes to olives and jalapeños. You could also add guacamole, black bean dip, refried beans, or whatever you have on hand in your pantry! It’s really up to you. With so many options out there for different flavor profiles and textures, you must find something that speaks to your tastes.
Silken Tofu Nacho Cheese
Silken tofu nacho cheese is a delicious alternative to vegan nachos cheese. Silken tofu is the perfect substitute for dairy products. It is easy to find in grocery stores. It has a creamy texture that goes well with everything from vegan tacos to vegan quesadillas. And because it’s made of soybeans, it’s cholesterol-free and can be used by vegans who can’t have milk products.
Butternut Squash Nacho Cheese
Butternut squash nacho cheese is one option that tastes amazing with butternut squash. It sounds a little strange, but I promise it’s delicious. The first step is roasting the squash and then pureeing it in a blender with cumin and salt. Add a little heavy cream for texture, too. Serve it with chips and fresh salsa for dipping!
Sweet Potato Nacho Cheese
Sweet potato nacho cheese can be prepared by boiling sweet potatoes until they are tender. Next, mash them with melted vegan butter, vegan mayonnaise, a small amount of black pepper, and salt. Add some chopped fresh cilantro for a burst of new flavor and serve it with your favorite tortilla chips.
How To Store Vegan Nacho Cheese
Nacho cheese is a popular and easy food to make because it usually does not require any cooking. Nacho cheese can last a few weeks in the fridge or freezer if stored in an airtight container.
I store this vegan cheese in a glass container in the fridge. I’ll keep it handy in the pantry when it’s hot outside and just add water to thaw it out if needed. Be sure to stir it or shake it every time you check on it. But I bet you will have to revisit this page to make another batch because it tastes SO GOOD when eaten fresh.