OK, I’m not going to lie: 90% of this recipe is not mine. But I have to share the original as well as my tweaks with you. It’s just too good not to.
For the full recipe and nutritional information, click here or keep reading!
Let me take you on a journey. It all started when I saw this video:
That’s right: hot for food. The amazing YouTube channel and blog full of incredibly delectable recipes. I had never actually made one, but since this looked so good and so easy (the video is only 46 seconds!), I gave it a try. I’ve seen a lot of recipes across the internet for this kind of potato-carrot cheese sauce, and I was intrigued. Surely it will just taste like runny mashed potatoes, I thought. I thought wrong.
Reader, I made it. I had to use a few substitutions as I didn’t have some of the exact ingredients on hand. I put everything into my little blender and blitzed it up. I tasted it. Oh my God. Oh my GOD. A little this, a little that more. OH MY GOD. Now I’ll be honest: I’m easily impressed. But not like this. I got my mom to try it. She’s pickier. SHE LOVED IT. I got my brother to try it. He’s even pickier than she. HE LOVED IT. We downed that first batch in a matter of minutes.
One thing did bother me: the oil. 4 tablespoons in a relatively small batch of cheese sauce. Now, if you’ve seen any of my previous recipes, you know I am not afraid of fat, but I wanted to see if it was really necessary to have that much. So I made another batch, omitting the oil so I could taste it and add it in 1 tablespoon at a time as necessary. Guys. YOU. GUYS. It genuinely didn’t need ANY oil at all! Yes, it was obviously a lot thicker without it, so I added in more soymilk (well, not actually soymilk, but we’ll get to that later) to compensate. That is the only fat in the whole thing.
So thank you once again to hot for food for bringing this golden nectar into my life. Onto my version!
I started off with white potatoes and carrots. Don’t like potatoes? Use cauliflower! No carrots? Sweet potatoes or butternut squash work fine! Just know that with any combination, there will be little to no flavor left at the end. You want these to be a pretty small dice so they’ll cook quickly and evenly, and you want to cook them to be as soft as possible (without actually disintegrating). Drain and throw them into the blender.
Here’s where I start to go rogue. You can use any non-dairy milk that suits you for a nice thin consistency, but I used my homemade soy yogurt instead. This made my nacho cheese thicker as well as giving a nice added tang. Remember, there’s no oil in this version, so add enough milk/yogurt to the blender to get the consistency you want (go easy at first).
Add in the lemon juice, pickled jalapeños and brine, and tomato paste.
The next two ingredients are subs I made the first time I made it because they were what I had on hand. I use tapioca starch instead of arrowroot powder. I HIGHLY recommend using one or the other. If you absolutely must use cornstarch, keep in mind that you will probably have to heat the finished cheese for a little while to thicken it. I also used minced garlic instead of garlic powder because I was out of powder. Also add the onion powder.
I doubled the amount of nutritional yeast from the original recipe because I think that extra cheesy umami taste is needed. Don’t have nutritional yeast? Honestly, just get it. It’s not that expensive, available online if nowhere else, and adds tons of flavor and vitamins for virtually no calories. Also, instead of the half-teaspoon of salt, I use a half-tablespoon of Tajín for more tang and the faintest touch of heat. If you don’t have or can’t find Tajín, a medium hot sauce will work. If you don’t want any heat, go ahead and use the salt instead.
Now blend everything up!
And that’s it! If it’s too thin, add a tiny bit more starch at a time. If it’s too thick, add a bit more yogurt or milk. You can warm it up or serve it cold. It’s delicious with everything, including (but not limited to):
Tortilla chips (obviously)
Potatoes (french fries, baked potatoes, etc)
Macaroni for BOMB mac ‘n’ cheese
Crunchy dippable veggies
Veggie broth + broccoli for awesome broccoli cheddar soup
Veggie broth +broccoli +rice + vermicelli (vegan Rice-a-Roni, anyone?)
Dehydrated and ground into nacho cheese dust, perfect for popcorn or homemade chips!
Topping sandwiches, burgers, pizza, avocado toast, you name it!
It’ll keep in the fridge for a good couple of weeks, and it freezes well, too. It really is the best thing ever. Seriously, I’m obsessed. And I’m sure you will be, too!
Chile Con Queso | Printable Version
Makes 4 half-cup servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 c diced potatoes, cooked until very soft
½ c diced carrots, cooked until very soft
½ c plain vegan yogurt (or non-dairy milk)
1 T tomato paste
2 t lemon juice
6 pickled jalapeño slices
3 T pickled jalapeño brine
1 ½ t tapioca starch
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
2 T nutritional yeast
1 ½ t chili lime seasoning (such as Tajín) or hot sauce, or to taste
Combine all ingredients until smooth. Add more yogurt or starch as needed. Heat gently and serve.