I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thinking outside the bag

Non-dairy queso has been a project for a few months now. Starting with a recipe at Vegan Explosion, I looked into others on the net.

Initial requirements: spicy but not incendiary, salt present but not overwhelmingly so, cheesy but it doesn't have to be EXACTLY THE SAME as a dairy queso. We want a rich, satisfying scoop, not a moo clone. Since I'm not yet vegan, I could just go out and get stupid Velveeta for that.

This is the latest version. I like it so much it's been dinner for the past two nights. But tonight I was chipped out (put the tortilla chip bag back in the pantry), and a little fake french bread roll from the local discount grocery became the dipper of choice. I was lazy, too; it's not even toasted (do toast it for maximum satisfaction) but it reinforces my belief that cheesy stuff on bread is one of God's gifts.

Try this with toasted pita chips too, they are way big contenders for the chip du jour.

Vegan Queso

Dry ingredients:
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ - ½ cup chickpea or other flour (start out with the lower amount, as this really does thicken on standing)
¼ cup finely ground cashews or other nuts- use a spice grinder for a fine grind
1 Tbs. powdered miso (optional; make your own by placing teaspoonfuls of miso paste on a greased cookie sheet and drying in a very low oven until crumbly, or drying in a dehydrator)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chile powder- New Mexico chile powder is good
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. onion granules
½ tsp. garlic granules

Wet ingredients:
2 cups water or non-dairy milk; I've used both and can't tell much difference
2 Tbs. vegan butter or margarine, melted
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes and chiles, with liquid
1 Tbs. prepared mustard- I used Dijon cause that’s what I had, although plain ol' yellow is more traditional

paprika or chile powder, for garnish

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium (at least 2½ quart) saucepan and break up any lumps. Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl and slowly add to the dry ingredients, whisking as you go. Place over medium heat, and cook, stirring until the queso is thick and smooth. Adjust the seasonings to taste, and garnish with a little more paprika or chile powder if you like.

Serving suggestions: with tortilla chips, toasted french bread 'croutons', or toasted pita triangles; or on burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, etc.

Option: add a 4 oz. can of diced chiles, or a diced jalapeno, for a little more zing, but this is pretty snappy as is. You could also use a can of diced tomatoes without chiles if you want a tamer result.


  1. Hi from a GardenRanter and blogger at Homestead Gardens! I'd love to interview you briefly for a new segment on the blog "Meet the Blogger" or some such, quick mentions of garden and food bloggers in our area, and the blogs themselves.
    Shoot me an email! Susan@sustainable-gardening.com

  2. Sounds like fun, Susan! I love GardenRant, and someday when I grow up, hope to be a real gardener like you guys!