It happens every time. A recipe idea pops into my head just as I am about to fall asleep at night. This time, it’s vegan queso.

Origins of Queso

The queso dip, or chile de queso as it’s also known, is typically served with tortilla chips. It is believed that it originated in Texas during the early 1900s. ( source).

Although you might find chile de queso in some Mexican restaurants, it is not the same as the original Mexican queso (called queso fundido), which likely inspired it. While queso fondido is made from soft white cheeses like feta, chile de queso uses more processed American cheeses.

The plant-based version we offer is not traditional. It is inspired by chile con queso’s creaminess and spicy heat!

Eggplant Vegan Queso


Cashew cheese is a vegan cheese I have tried. It is good and the first time I have learned to mimic cheese flavor and texture without dairy. But I knew that there must be a better method.

Cashews have a lot of calories and fat. You can taste them in sauces unless you add spices or other flavors to make the sauce more flavorful.

The versatility of eggplant is amazing, especially when roasted. It’s great in pastas. I also like it in Babaganoush. Or roasted and then layered with a veggie sandwich. I love the creamy texture of baba-ganoush and thought its eggplant base could be a great base for vegan queso.

This sauce begins with roasted eggplant. By slicing the eggplant into thin rounds and then broiling it, I can speed up the cooking process. You can easily remove the skin by steaming it in foil. You can then blend it with almond milk and nutritional yeast and add a few spices.

It thickens up when heated in a pan for serving with a little cornstarch. It’s optional, but I highly recommend it to get that luxuriously cheesy texture. If you do not want to use cornstarch, then try another thickener, such as arrowroot.

Add a few tablespoons of Rotel, slightly drained (just like the real queso!) You can also use your favorite chunky salsa. The texture and taste are so good that it makes the real thing look like a joke.

Don’t worry. This dip is going to be used in a couple of recipes! Another bonus: It reheats very well. Cashew cheese doesn’t reheat very well. You can microwave it or reheat it in a pan, and it will still taste great!


  • 7-9 eggplant rounds (sliced 1/4-1/2 inch thick // Half of a medium-sized eggplant yields 7 rounds)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Unsweetened plain almond milk 1 1/2 to 2 cups
  • Use 2-3 Tbsp nutrition yeast (see instructions).
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic (I used crushed garlic purchased from Trader Joe’s).
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • Cornstarch 2 tsp (optional thickener // substitute another thickener as desired)
  • 1/4 cup chunky medium sauce (slightly drain // OR 1/4 10-ounce can of Rotel original diced tomato and green chilies).
  • Hot sauce and smoked paprika ( optional for color and flavor when serving)


  • Cut your eggplant into thin round slices, just below 1/2 inch. Sprinkle a little salt on both sides and place in a colander. This will help to draw out moisture and bitterness. Let set for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with cool water, and then thoroughly dry between two clean towels.
  • Place an oven rack at the top of your oven and preheat it to high broil. Place the dried eggplant round on a baking tray lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Drizzle olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with very little salt.
  • Broil at high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. Be careful not to burn them. Flip the eggplant at half-way to ensure an even cook. Remove the eggplant from the oven once both sides are golden brown, and the eggplant is tender. Wrap the eggplant in foil loosely to steam.
  • Peel the skin off after a few moments. It should just peel off. If you put your roasted eggplant in a 1 cup measuring cup, the volume will be close to 1 cup(amount written in the original recipe // adjust if you change the default number of servings).
  • Blend the eggplant with the almond milk, nutritional yeast, garlic minced, cumin, chili pepper, and cornstarch on high speed until it is smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings to taste. I added more nutritional yeast and sea salt. Add more almond milk to thin.
  • Transfer to a small pan and heat over medium-high to medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until it is slightly thickened. The longer you cook it, the thicker and more emulsified it becomes.
  • NOTE: If the mixture is not as thick as desired, you can thicken it with cornstarch slurry by adding 1 tsp to a small dish with some almond milk and 2 or 3 Tbsp from the cheese mixture. (Amounts are as written in the original recipe // adjust for changing default serving number). Stir to combine, then whisk back into the pot. This will thicken the sauce.
  • Remove from heat once it has thickened, and add drained salsa or Rotel. Please do not add the liquid, or it will become runny. Pour into a dish and add a bit of smoked paprika or hot sauce to give it some color and flavor.
  • Serve with crackers, chips, or vegetables. Warm in a small crockpot or a tealight warmer if available. Microwaves very well.
  • This dip will lose its orange color if left out for too long. The flavor is not affected, but the dip does not look as appealing.
  • Cover and refrigerate leftovers. It reheats very well in the microwave or a pan. It will keep up to several days but is best fresh.

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