The Best Vegan Nachos With Homemade Queso

If you’re in the mood for Tex-Mex, I’ve got you covered! Everyone loves a good plate of vegan nachos, especially when loaded with black beans, vegan queso, pickled onions, and zesty jalapenos. There are many ways to make this recipe, but this variation takes the cake. 

You’ll love how these vegan nachos use simple ingredients you can find at most grocery stores. Vegan food doesn’t have to be complicated, and you can often enjoy the same things that non-vegans do. 

This recipe is two in one, as you’ll learn how to make the best cashew-based queso around! Serve this delicious dish as a party appetizer or a fun family dinner. Nachos have never tasted better. 

Vegan Nachos Ingredients

vegan nachos

The best thing about vegan nachos is how customizable they are. Nachos are a great way to use excess produce and vegan meat in your fridge. Here are the basic ingredients you need for this healthy meal, along with some variations. 

Tortilla chips. Tortilla chips are the usual base for nachos. Choose yellow, white, or blue corn for a festive twist. If you’re feeling adventurous, use mini sweet peppers or sliced cauliflower as your base.

Black beans. Beans are a great source of protein, making these vegan nachos ultra-filling. Everyone usually has a can of beans in their cupboard, so that’s the option we went with! You can use kidney beans or even vegan refried beans. If you want to add bulk to your nachos, add plant-based “beef” crumbles or plant-based “chicken” shreds. 

Jalapenos. The vegan nachos pictured use pickled jalapenos. This is an excellent option for those who want a hint of heat. You can use fresh jalapenos or other spicy peppers if you’re a real firebreather. 

I also use a dash of pickled jalapeno juice in the queso to give it an authentic flavor. 

Cashews. Nuts are the base of our vegan queso. You should note that you’ll need to soak the cashews for 20 minutes in boiling water to make them blendable. People with high-powered blenders may require less soaking time. In the blender, cashews get creamy and take on the flavor of the other queso ingredients. 

Nutritional yeast. We use nutritional yeast to give our vegan queso a “cheesy” flavor. This is a popular ingredient in vegan cheeses, and it pairs well with cashews. Nutritional yeast is easily found in most grocery stores, but if not, you can always find it online. 

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that’s considered a complete protein source. Aside from making queso, you can also sprinkle it on your popcorn or salads. 

Almond milk. The queso dip needs a little thinning, so I added a splash of unsweetened almond milk. Depending on personal preference, you can also use oat or cashew milk. 

For extra-creamy queso, use full-fat coconut milk. The amount of almond milk needed will vary based on the brand of nuts you used, etc. 

Spices. A decadent blend of spices takes the vegan queso to a whole new level. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and smoked paprika. You can also add a dash of cayenne pepper if you want it spicier. 

If you want even more flavor, you can substitute fresh garlic for powdered and add fresh cilantro. The sky is the limit! Experiment to find your favorite combination. 

Toppings. Fun vegan nacho toppings are the cherry on top! Great ideas include cashew or almond milk unsweetened yogurt (or vegan sour cream), salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, guacamole or avocado slices, green onions, pickled onions, and cilantro. 

Stores are full of fabulous vegan options that weren’t available years ago. Take a look at your local grocer’s. You may be surprised by what you find! 

How to Make Vegan Queso

Vegan queso is one of the easiest things to make. Once you try it, you’ll never want to be without a batch! Use it to top baked potatoes, roasted veggies, or Mexican rice. You can also omit the spices to make a gooey mac and cheese sauce. Delicious! Without further ado, here’s how to make this brilliant cheese alternative. 

Step One: Soak the Cashews

Place the cashews in a large bowl and pour 3-4 cups of boiling water over the top. Let the cashews soak for 20-30 minutes until soft. Some sources say you must soak the cashews overnight, but many find that boiling water speeds up the process. 

Step Two: Blend the Queso

Drain the water off the cashews and place the nuts in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Add the nutritional yeast, jalapeno juice, lemon juice, almond milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Blend until well combined. Set aside. 

This queso lasts 3-4 days in the fridge when kept in a covered container. It’s best served warm, although you can use it as a dip for carrots, broccoli, or celery. 

Make Vegan Nachos

Now that the queso is prepped, it’s time to assemble the nachos! This is the fun part, where your creativity can shine through. Here’s my easy method. 

Step One: Prep the Base

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Place the tortilla chips in a layer on a baking sheet. You may need two baking sheets, depending on the size of the pan. 

Step Two: Add Toppings

vegan nachos

Drain the black beans and rinse until the water runs clear. Place in a colander to remove excess moisture, then spoon on top of the tortilla chips. Spoon vegan queso over the top. Your queso may seem a little thick, but it will smooth out in the oven. 

Add the vegan cheese shreds, if desired, followed by jalapenos and pickled onions. 

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the vegan cheese is melted. 

Step Three: Garnish and Serve

vegan nachos

Remove the vegan nachos from the oven and add your cold toppings such as veggies, salsa, vegan sour cream, etc. Allow the nachos to cool for a few minutes before digging in. Enjoy! 

What’s your favorite healthy dinner? Let us know in the comments below!