I feel like trying to use words to tell you how good a dairy free queso is, well… that’s kind of a tough sell! But if I could just pass you one of these chips loaded with queso, guacamole, and pico, you wouldn’t need any words at all.
But since photos still don’t even have a scratch and sniff option, (ha ha wouldn’t that be fun?) you’ll have to just trust me on this one. I won’t sit here and tell you this dairy free queso beats the real thing, I’m not that crazy! After all, cheese is my favorite food on this planet, and in my mind nothing, not even chocolate is better.
However I’ve been trying to eat less dairy over the last while. You know… just trying not to treat dairy like it’s the only food group available! So I wanted to give dairy free queso a go to see if I could make something I’d actually enjoy.
Also a while back my friend called me to see if I had any dairy free queso recipes that were relatively simple. I had to say no, and she had found one online somewhere that had her husband tracking down all sorts of weird sounding ingredients for several different stores. (And to add insult to injury, it didn’t end up tasting great either from what I heard!)
Between that and lots of requests for more dairy free recipes, I decided to start getting creative. And it turned out to be a good idea because we’ve been loving this queso as pictured here, but also in all sorts of Mexican inspired bowls for dinner.
How to make this recipe:
- First up prep everything you’ll need.
- Then add most of it to the Instant Pot.
- 5 minutes later, the queso is cooked.
- Then blend it until smooth with the remaining coconut cream and nutritional yeast.
- Serve with anything you’d serve regular queso with. Chips, homemade guacamole, and pico de gallo are all fantastic together with this ‘cheese’ sauce.
Tip 1: The Instant Pot makes this really easy, but if you don’t have one, simmer on the stove top stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick until the sweet potatoes are tender. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe as directed.
Tip 2: The only semi- strange ingredient in this recipe is nutritional yeast. I kept this recipe really simple, but you definitely need nutritional yeast because it’s what gives this a ‘cheese’-like flavor. I get mine at the local health food store and it’s always been really easy to track down, even in Montana, so hopefully you’ll be able to find it in your area too.
What is nutritional yeast, and what are it’s benefits?
- Nutritional yeast is from the same strain used to make bread or kombucha, but it’s been deactivated.
- It’s packed with B vitamins as well as traces of other minerals.
- It provides a nutty cheesy flavor perfect for those who are dairy free.
- By weight it’s 50% protein, and a serving size boasts 9 grams.
- As mentioned, this queso is great with your choice of chips along with my homemade guacamole and pico de gallo. We’ve been getting the grain free chips from Siete and loving them, perfect for if you can’t have corn or grain!
- Any Mexican inspired bowl – for instance we’ve done roasted sweet potato cubes topped with either my Chicken Tinga, Beef Barbacoa, or Carnitas (coming next week). Then we drizzle this queso over the top and pile on shredded lettuce, guacamole and either pico de gallo, my Fire Roasted Blender Salsa, or my Mango Salsa.
And finally a quick ‘recipe’ for the drinks pictured here: Grapefruit Spindrift + a squeeze of fresh lime juice + a splash of freshly squeezed grapefruit or orange juice over ice.
Super easy and freezer friendly dairy free queso perfect for any Mexican inspired meal!
2 Tablespoons avocado oil, or olive oil
1 small yellow onion, 1/4″ dice, 1/2 pound
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 14 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 cups bone broth, or veggie broth for vegan
1 white fleshed sweet potato, 1 pound, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1/2 cup raw cashews, not toasted or salted
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Teaspoon onion powder
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
2 Teaspoons smoked paprika
1 Teaspoon chili powder
1 Teaspoon sea salt
1 – 4 oz can green chilis
1 – 13.5 oz can coconut milk, refrigerated, see notes
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
2–3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Set the Instant Pot to the sauté mode, and when it’s hot, add the avocado oil, onions, and garlic. Sauté until lightly browned then turn off the sauté mode. Add the fire roasted tomatoes and broth, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Then add the sweet potato pieces, cashews, garlic and onion powder, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, sea salt, and green chilis.
For the coconut milk, scoop the hardened cream from the top of the can and set it aside. Then add the remaining liquid to the Instant Pot. Stir to combine the ingredients, then set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 5 minutes.
When the time is over, use the quick release function. When the Instant Pot is safe to open, carefully transfer the contents to a high powered blender. Add the reserved coconut cream, secure the lid and begin to blend starting on low. Increase the speed using the tamper to keep the mixture moving, and blend until mostly smooth. Add the nutritional yeast and blend again until smooth, being careful not to burn yourself as the ‘queso’ is very hot.
When the ‘queso’ is completely smooth, add lime juice to taste and serve immediately with chips, guacamole, and pico de gallo.
You can also cool the queso and reheat it later, which makes this a great recipe to make ahead. It also freezes perfectly, which is perfect for the leftovers you’ll probably have. You can try making smaller batches, but the ingredients listed use the full amounts in each can which makes for less waste overall, especially since you can just freeze the rest meal prep style.
The coconut milk needs to be refrigerated to separate the cream from the liquid. If you have coconut milk that’s been sitting on the shelf in the pantry for a while, it will separate without being refrigerated. You can turn the can over next to your ear and if you don’t hear it sloshing around, it’s separated. The coconut cream will curdle in the Instant Pot, so it must be separated from the liquid.
Keywords: Instant Pot, Dairy Free, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Mexican