Nacho Cheese – A Really Easy Vegan Recipe

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Fantastic with so many dishes, and made with just a handful of staple ingredients (and no nuts), my vegan nacho cheese is creamy and cheesy, with a little bit of a spicy kick!

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Nacho cheese

The trouble with all of the nacho cheese I’ve tried over the years is that that it’s all been just a bit…. well, bland. When it comes to cheese, I prefer stronger flavours.

Perhaps in Tex-Mex land, nacho cheese is supposed to be mild and not-very-cheesy but to my way of thinking, if you’re going to make a cheese sauce, it really ought to taste of cheese. Or as close to cheese as it’s possible to make a plant-based recipe.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that as someone who grew up with incredibly flavoursome cheese, and who loved nothing better than extra mature Cheddar so strong it made my gums tingle, I am just not accustomed to mildly-flavoured cheese!

Vegan queso recipe

Anyway, for my own vegan nacho cheese (aka queso), I’ve really ramped up the flavour, and added a bit of spiciness too. Yes, it requires a lot of nooch (nutritional yeast) but I can tell you that it’s so worth it because this is frankly, amazing.

Of course, if you actually prefer a milder cheese, by all means use less nooch but for us (and everyone else who’s had it), my version is perfect. I am of course, massively biased… but try it, I bet you’ll agree with me!

As well as being incredibly simple to make from just a few basic ingredients (see below… and yes, potatoes and carrots!), this makes a fantastic dip for chips and crisps, on fries, on baked potatoes, on pasta and pizza, for quesadillas, enchiladas, and burritos. And of course, it’s an essential part of loaded nachos too. Plus, it works very well for lasagne instead of béchamel.

And there’s not a cashew in sight!

Oh, and Brit friends – this makes a really nice base for Welsh rarebit, too. Just sayin’. 🙂 

Ingredients for vegan nacho cheese

Not only is this recipe quick and simple to make, it only needs a few basic ingredients, too.

  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • nooch
  • garlic
  • oil
  • lemon juice
  • mustard
  • miso paste
  • Tabasco
  • salt

How to make vegan nacho cheese

  1. Boil the potatoes and carrots (and fresh garlic if using) until soft, then drain and reserve the water they were cooked in.
  2. Blend the veggies and the rest of the ingredients until you have a thick, smooth and creamy sauce.
  3. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Alternatively, freeze for up to three months.

Tips & notes

  • If you’re using fresh garlic, add it to the pan with the potatoes and carrots.
  • I love to use wholegrain mustard but do feel free to use whatever you prefer.
  • Do check the ingredients list of your mustard – some contain honey. I use Waitrose’s own brand wholegrain mustard, which is not only vegan but doesn’t contain sulphites either (unlike several other brands).
  • Depending on the speed and power of your blender, you may have to stop and scrape the sides down. It should still only take a few minutes however, until the ingredients are fully-blended.
  • If you prefer a milder-tasting nacho cheese, add the nutritional yeast a few tablespoons at a time, and taste in between.
  • The same goes for the Tabasco – just add a few drops, blend, taste. Add more if desired.
  • Similarly, if you don’t want a spicy kick, leave the Tabasco out.
  • If you don’t want to use oil, omit it but add a bit more of the cooking water, or even some of your favourite plant-based milk. The oil does give a richer flavour and mouthfeel though.
  • You’ll find that this nacho cheese ‘sets’ a little in the ‘fridge but don’t worry – just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, and it will be saucy again. Or gently warm it in a saucepan over a low heat.

You’ll love this vegan Nacho Cheese

Because it’s…

  • tangy and slightly spicy
  • creamy and melty
  • bursting with flavour
  • nut-free
  • nutritious
  • awesomely delicious!

We really, really love this, and I’m sure you will too. Enjoy!

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