Look at all that cheesy goodness! One of the most common things I hear people say when they discover I’m vegan is that they just couldn’t give up cheese. I always tell them that they don’t have to, and I mean it. This recipe for vegan Nacho “Cheese” Dip is a testament to that. It embodies everything you miss about cheese. It’s salty, gooey, tangy, and slightly funky. And when you can get that close to the thing you miss most, it definitely takes care of those cravings so you can leave the cows alone.
The best part of this vegan nacho cheese is that it literally takes fewer than 10 minutes to make, and you mix everything in a blender. The base of the sauce is cashew. A lot of vegan cheeses use cashews as the base because they’re soft and have a neutral flavour, and they have a similar caloric density to heavy cream. To bring out the cheesy flavours we use nutritional yeast, white miso paste, and lemon juice. The combination of these three ingredients just screams cheese. Nutritional yeast is earthy and slightly funky, white miso paste is salty and fermented, and lemon juice has a nice sharp tang. We also add chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric for colour, coconut oil for richness and pickled jalapeños for some added tang and saltiness.
All you have to do is throw everything in a high-speed blender (I swear by my Blendtec) and puree until it is a smooth liquid with no granules of cashew left. The liquid should be quite thin right out of the blender, but don’t worry; the added tapioca starch thickens up on the stove, as do the pureed cashews, so you’ll be left with a nice viscous cheese sauce that clings beautifully to tortilla chips.
The cheese sauce takes just 3 or 4 minutes to cook. It’ll start off by looking weird and curdled, but pretty soon the sauce will begin to thicken uniformly. It’s important to use a non-stick pan and stir constantly while the sauce cooks, otherwise you’ll be left with a sticky mess on your hands. When the cheese sauce is all the same consistency, you can remove it from the heat and transfer immediately to a serving bowl so it doesn’t cool in the pan.
And that’s it! You have incredibly easy and delicious vegan nacho cheese dip on your hands. I can’t emphasize enough how truly good this dip is. It’s perfect. I almost didn’t have anything to take pictures of because I couldn’t stop eating it. You’ve been warned. If you can resist eating all the cheese sauce at once, it’s worth using it to make Loaded Vegan Nachos. The nacho cheese even bubbles and browns in the oven!
I really hope you’ll give this recipe a try! Once you’ve made it, leave me a note in the comments to let me know what you think, and tag your pictures on Instagram with #whoneedssalad. And don’t forget to leave a rating! Enjoy all the cheesy goodness!
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for at least 1 hour
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp refined coconut oil
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp minced pickled jalapeño
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric for colour (optional)
- tortilla chips, to serve
- Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with all remaining ingredients. Blend until completely smooth and no chunks remain.
- Preheat a large non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add the liquid from the blender and stir constantly as it heats up. It will begin to look chunky and curdled which means the solids are beginning to cook. Keep stirring until the entire mixture is uniformly thick, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl and serve warm with tortilla chips, or use on Loaded Vegan Nachos
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Should you choose to make a purchase through one of these links, we receive a small commission which does not affect the price you pay and helps us keep the site running.