This vegan chile con queso dip is spicy, cheesy, rich, absolutely delicious, and perfect for serving a crowd! We'll be serving this up at our Super Bowl party with plenty of tortilla chips to go around.
You may have tried vegan queso dip, but have you tried vegan chile con queso? If not, you're missing out.
It's cheesy, hearty, spicy, meaty (without the meat, of course) and quite honestly addictive. I'm not kidding. We literally couldn't stop eating this dip. Since it's football season, we've been making it pretty frequently and it's always a hit!
What is chile con queso?
Classic chile con queso is a cheesy dip studded with chili peppers and often ground beef or sausage. It's a Tex-Mex favorite, typically served at Americanized Mexican restaurants.
Chile con queso is often made with processed American cheese. It might be tasty, but it's not all that natural or healthy.
Our vegan chile con queso recipe is quite a bit more natural. We use a mixture of lentils and finely diced mushrooms to replace ground beef. Spicy chilis and diced tomatoes add heft, and it all comes together with a creamy vegan cheese sauce.
How to make
This vegan chile con queso essentially has two separate components that you'll need to prepare.
- Lentil + mushroom + tomato + chili mixture
- Creamy vegan chipotle queso
Together, they make for a creamy, rich dip with plenty of hearty texture.
The lentil mushroom mixture comes together in a skillet, sautéed with onion, garlic and spiced with chipotle powder and diced tomatoes with green chiles. A bit of vegetable broth helps to keep it from drying out.
We suggest using green or brown lentils in this dip. Red or lentils get too mushy (they're better suited for soups), and French or black lentils have to much texture. Cook the lentils separately in salted water before adding to the sauté pan.
The spicy, creamy, rich vegan queso dip is honestly good enough to eat on it's own. In fact, I had a hard time not eating it all before photographing this recipe!
The ingredients differ quite a bit from traditional queso. Here's what you'll need:
- Cashews. Raw, unsalted cashews need to be soaked for 2-3 hours, which softens them up enough to blend into a creamy, rich sauce. We use cashews in a lot of vegan recipes, including alfredo sauce and even vegan cheesecake.
- Potatoes and carrots. Roasted potatoes and carrots add heft to this vegan queso dip. Toss them in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until fork tender before blending.
- Nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast adds a savory, cheesy flavor to this dip. It's an essential ingredient, and you can find it at just about any grocery store.
- Lemon juice for a bit of acidity! Freshly squeezed is always best.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. These can be found canned, typically in the Mexican section of your grocery store. The whole peppers are quite spicy, so we only use one in the queso dip. We also add a tablespoon of the adobo liquid. Feel free to add more if you like extra spice.
- Cumin - just a pinch adds plenty of flavor.
- Salt, agave and olive oil. Olive oil makes this dip super creamy, salt adds flavor, and agave balances out the spice.
Classic tortilla chips are my favorite. I particularly love a locally made brand; the fresher (and saltier), the better! You can also serve this dip with crackers or even toasted bread.
If you're serving this at a party and want to provide some healthier options, cut up some carrots, cucumber and celery to serve.
Additionally, while this dip is delicious served plain, it's also great topped with avocado, fresh or pickled jalapeño and cilantro. Salsa would work, too!
If somehow this dip doesn't get completely devoured in one sitting, it would also be great served over a baked potato, fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, etc.
More vegan dip recipes
Serve up these dairy free dips at your next party or holiday.
- Vegan Caramelized Onion Dip
- Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Vegan Cheese Ball
- Vegan Ranch Dip
- Smoky Roasted Carrot Dip
- Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Dip via Veggies Don't Bite
If you make this vegan chile con queso recipe, we’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below! We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been cooking.Print
This vegan chile con queso is spicy, cheesy, rich, absolutely delicious, and perfect for serving a crowd! We'll be serving this up at our Super Bowl party with plenty of tortilla chips to go around.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 diced yellow onion (1 ½ cups)
- 1 ½ tbsp garlic, minced
- 4 cups button mushrooms, finely diced (16 oz)
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ tsp chipotle chile powder
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils (1 cup dry)
- 3-4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
Chipotle Queso Sauce:
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for 2-3 hours in room temp water
- 1 cup roughly diced carrots (2 medium carrots)
- 2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, quartered (2-3 potatoes)
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 ½ tsp agave
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 tbsp sauce from can of chipotles in adobo
- ⅓ cup olive oil
Tortilla chips for serving
- Soak cashews in a bowl with filled with room temp water for 2-3 hours. Drain and rinse.
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Toss carrots and potatoes in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until fork tender. Let cool.
- While vegetables are roasting, cook 1 cup of dried lentils separately in a small pan according to package directions in 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth. You may also use salted water if you wish.
- Preheat large sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil and diced onions and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt, and chipotle powder and stir well. Cook for additional 10 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and diced tomatoes. Stir well and let cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
- Add roasted potatoes and carrots, cashews, water, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice, salt, cumin, agave, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and olive oil to a blender. Blend until completely smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust spice and salt as desired.
- Pour cheese sauce over lentil mixture and stir well to combine. Serve hot with tortilla chips.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dips
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 526
- Sugar: 8.1 g
- Sodium: 936.1 mg
- Fat: 27.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.6 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 55.9 g
- Fiber: 9.4 g
- Protein: 19.7 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: vegan chile con queso