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If you’re looking for the BEST Vegan Queso, you’ve found it. This easy Loaded Plant-Based Queso Dip is better than the real thing! Whip the queso up in 5 minutes to creamy perfection, and top it with homemade guacamole, pico de gallo, and refried beans. Perfect for sharing at game day, not only is it undetectably vegan, but it’s also so easy to make paleo and low-carb – just skip the beans.

Best vegan queso with bean, guacamole, pico de gallo and tortilla chips in a white bowl.

This post was originally published on May 3rd, 2020.

Ahhh Austin, TX, what do I miss about you?

The people? Yes, definitely.
The great music every night? Kiiiind of – there are maybe a handful of local bands that I’d love to see at a venue again, but I miss the house show culture more – more intimate, more magic.
What about the food? AYE! Specifically, good Tex-Mex.

We actually have great Mexican food here in Newcastle, but the little 24-hour diners that sell everything from pancakes and tacos to pasta and burgers, and make it really well – there’s nothing like that here. Nada. Zip. That brings me to one of my post-gig hang standards: Magnolia Cafe. Known for their “Sorry, we’re open!” sign and, more specifically, their Mag Mud which is what this recipe is based on.

Best vegan queso with bean, guacamole, pico de gallo and tortilla chips in a white bowl.

🧀 What is Loaded Vegan Queso Dip?

It is ooey-gooey vegan cheesy goodness, topped with homemade guacamole, pico de gallo, and refried beans. Usually, it’s served with a side of salsa which you can add if you like! If you’re on a paleo or low-carb diet, just skip the beans! This dairy-free queso is undetectably vegan – you really can’t tell! Dimitris (whose diet is meat, cheese, and bread/pasta) said he would never guess that there was no cheese in this and was impressed that vegan foods could taste so good!

❤️ Why you will love this recipe

  • It’s easy: Make the guac, pico, beans, and queso separately (this will take about 15 minutes) and throw it all together. SO ridiculously simple.
  • It’s healthy: Queso, healthy?! YES! It’s much healthier than the vegan queso dips you find at the grocery store. There’s no cheese or other animal products, no artificial ingredients, and the queso on its own is under 300 calories. That’s 3 cups of cheesy dip for under 300 calories total!
  • It’s quick: The queso takes 5 minutes, the pico and guac take 5 minutes (made at the same time), and the refried beans also take 5 minutes. 15 minutes and it’s ready to munch! 
  • It acts like traditional queso: It has that creamy texture and gooey-sticky-melted consistency that you get with real queso. This is the BEST vegan queso recipe!
Best vegan queso with bean, guacamole, pico de gallo and tortilla chips in a white bowl.

🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Plant-based milk: Your choice! I used unsweetened almond milk as it’s fairly neutral, but another creamier plant milk like oat milk or even coconut milk would be great too.
  • Nutritional yeast: This ingredient adds a cheesy flavor. It tastes amazing! 
  • Tapioca starch: This is a paleo alternative to corn starch and it works really well to thicken the queso, giving it that cheese-pull effect.
  • Seasoning: Sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika
  • A little heat: I love a little spice in my queso! Adding chili powder (or cayenne pepper) is a great way to introduce a little heat. Completely optional ingredient.
  • Lemon juice: Just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to finish off this vegan cheese dip recipe. Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar is a good substitute if needed.

🥣 How to make the BEST Vegan Queso

Just 3 easy steps:

1. Make the queso

  1. Add the milk and then all of the remaining ingredients to a pot on the stove and THEN turn it on to medium-low heat.
  2. Don’t start the heat until all of the ingredients are in and you’re ready to stir – I did that the first time and was left with lumpy tapioca.
  3. Stir for 5 minutes, until it is a thick consistency. A whisk is recommended – it works really well to combine everything.
Overhead shot of plant based queso next to chips and tomatoes.

2. Make the beans (optional, skip if Whole30, paleo or low carb)

This can be made in two ways – here’s the quick option:

  1. Heat: Add 1 can of pinto or black beans to a pot on the stove over medium heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes until they’re heated through.
  2. Drain, mash, and season: Drain, add salt and spices, and then mash for a minute until it’s more of a chunky paste. You can use a blender for this step too. 

The long version (very tasty!):

  1. Soak the beans: Cover 200g pinto or black beans with water and soak them for at least 8 hours (I usually do 16).
  2. Drain the beans and add them to a pot with 1/4 tsp baking soda.
  3. Boil: Cover with clean water and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer: Reduce heat and simmer (lid on) for 30-45 minutes until they are cooked.
  5. Season and mash: Add salt and spices and mash until it’s more of a chunky paste. You shouldn’t need a high-speed blender – they’ll be quite tender.
Refried beans in a white bowl garnished with cilantro.

3. Make the Pico de Gallo & Guacamole (optional)

  • Dice the red onions, tomatoes, and chili pepper, and finely chop the cilantro.
  • Add everything including the lime juice, salt, and pepper to a bowl and mix well.
  • Peel and deseed avocados.
  • Add them to a molcajete, mortar and pestle, or a large bowl.
  • Add half of the pico de gallo to the avocados, plus 1-2 tbsps of the juice from the pico (should be gathered at the bottom.  
  • Mash with a fork, large, rounded spoon, or pestle for about 1 minute, or until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Load it all together! Place the vegan cheese sauce in your serving bowl first followed by the other toppings. Serve this amazing dip with your favorite bag of tortilla chips or corn chips.

🫙 Storage Instructions

Store any leftover vegan dip in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the other toppings separately.

Reheat the leftover queso in the microwave or stove to return it to its original consistency.

✨ Other toppings to add to this plant-based dip:

🍽️ Other ways to use vegan nacho cheese

  • Burrito bowls
  • Vegan Mac & Cheese
  • Vegan Nachos
  • On tacos
  • Over mushroom fajitas
Best vegan queso with bean, guacamole, pico de gallo and tortilla chips in a white bowl.

😋 More vegan party food you will love

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📖 Recipe

Best vegan queso with bean, guacamole, pico de gallo and tortilla chips in a white bowl.

Plant Based Queso Recipe

Bethany Galloway
This easy Loaded Plant-Based Queso Dip is better than the real thing! Whip the queso up in 5 minutes to creamy perfection, and top it with homemade guacamole, pico de gallo, and refried beans. Perfect for sharing at game day, not only is it undetectably vegan, but it’s also so easy to make paleo and low-carb – just skip the beans. Seriously, the BEST vegan queso!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Vegan
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12 servings
Calories 178 kcal

Ingredients
  

Vegan Queso

  • 3 cups dairy-free milk of choice I used unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder optional

Refried Beans (optional)

  • 200 g 1 heaped cup dried black or pinto beans OR 1 can of black or pinto beans
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder optional

Pico de Gallo and Guacamole (optional)

  • 420 g 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced (I like cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 red onion diced finely
  • 1 good handful cilantro 10g
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 avocados for guacamole

Instructions
 

Vegan Queso:

  • Add the dairy-free milk and then all of the dry ingredients to a pot on the stove and THEN turn it on to medium heat.
  • Don’t start the heat until all of the ingredients are in and you’re ready to stir or it will turn lumpy.
  • Stir continuously with a whisk for 5 minutes, until it is a thick consistency.
    Overhead shot of plant based queso next to chips and tomatoes.

Refried Beans (optional):

    Quick option:

    • Add 1 can of pinto or black beans to a pot on the stove over medium heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes until they’re heated through.
    • Drain, add salt and spices, and then mash or blend for a minute until it’s more of a chunky paste.

    The long version:

    • Soak 200g pinto or black beans for at least 8 hours (I usually do 16).
    • Drain beans and add them to a pot with 1/4 tsp baking soda.
    • Cover with clean water and bring to a boil.
    • Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes until they are cooked.
    • Add salt and spices and mash until it’s more of a chunky paste.
      Refried beans in a white bowl garnished with cilantro.

    Pico de Gallo (optional):

    • Dice the onions, tomatoes, and chili pepper, and finely chop the cilantro.
    • Add everything including the lime juice, salt, and pepper to a bowl and mix well.
      Pico de gallo in a white bowl next to tortilla chips and ingredients.

    Guacamole (optional):

    • Peel and deseed avocados.
    • Add them to a molcajete, mortar and pestle, or a large bowl.
    • Add half of the pico de gallo to the avocados, plus 1-2 tbsps of the juice from the pico (should be gathered at the bottom).
    • Mash with a fork, large, rounded spoon, or pestle for about 1 minute, or until it reaches your preferred consistency.
      Guacamole in a molcajete surrounded by tortilla chips and ingredients.
    • Load a bowl starting with the vegan queso on the bottom followed by the toppings. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

    Notes

    1. You can just make the queso without the other toppings, but I highly recommend the whole recipe.
    2. Store any leftover vegan dip in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the other toppings separately.
    3. Reheat the leftover queso in the microwave or stove to return it to its original consistency.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1gCalories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 7gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 430mgFiber: 7gSugar: 5g
    Keyword allergy free, dip, guacamole, keto, loaded queso, mexican, paleo, party food, pico de gallo, queso, refried beans, tex-mex, vegan queso
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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