Nacho Snacks with Carrot “Queso”

Nacho Snacks with Carrot "Queso"

This recipe takes me back to college, when I used to binge on super unhealthy things like chips and queso at night while trying to eat reasonably healthier and more vegetarian during the day. My transition to eating healthier foods took a few years to settle in. As a busy college student, the foods from Amy’s Kitchen really helped me make this transition. I loved their Vegetable Lasagna, the Breakfast Burrito, and of course these Nacho Snacks. So when the folks at Amy’s reached out to me, I knew I wanted to make a recipe that incorporated these snacks in a slightly healthier holiday appetizer.

Nacho Snacks with Carrot "Queso"

The secret to this carrot “queso” is that it’s actually vegan. It’s made out of carrots, potato, sauteéd onions, and smoked paprika, among a few other ingredients. I’ve seen these carrot-potato-based “cheese” recipes around the internet lately and I’ve been intrigued to try this sort of thing out myself. While I’ve been making cashew-based “cheese” recipes for years, the starch from the potato really creates a more gooey queso-like texture. As you’re blending it together, it seems impossible, but just go with it. It won’t fool your biggest cheese-lovers, but once you top it with the proper fixins, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I served it with Amy’s Nacho Cheese and Bean Snacks – which makes this whole thing pretty indulgent, but remember that the dip is still made of carrots, and besides, it’s the holidays so let’s live a little.

Nacho Snacks with Carrot "Queso" Nacho Snacks with Carrot "Queso"

5.0 from 3 reviews
Nacho Snacks with Carrot "Queso"
Note: this seems like a crazy concoction while you're first blending it together. Just go with it - blend until it's super creamy and let it cool a little before tasting. Topped generously with red onions, tomato, jalapeño and avocado.
Serves: serves 4
  • 1 cup peeled and diced russet potato
  • ½ cup peeled and diced carrot
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¼ cup raw cashews* (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil or other neutral oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 tablespoons water, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
For serving:
  • Amy’s Nacho Snacks and/or tortilla chips
  • diced red onion
  • diced tomato
  • diced jalapeno
  • diced avocado
  1. In a medium pot, combine the diced potatoes and carrots, fill with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Drain and add to a high speed blender.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, sauté the yellow onions in a drizzle of oil until soft, about 4 minutes.
  3. To the blender, add the sautéed onions, cashews, oil, water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, garlic powder, smoked paprika and sea salt and blend until smooth. If the mixture is thick, use the blender's baton to help get the blender moving. You can also add an additional 1 tablespoon of water if needed. This works best in a high-powered blender. If you have a regular blender, you might need to blend the mixture longer to get it creamy. Blend until completely smooth.
  4. Let cool slightly and season to taste. Scoop the queso into a serving bowl and top with the diced red onion, tomato, jalapeño and avocado. Serve with Amy’s Nacho Snacks or tortilla chips. The dip can also be made in advance and served cold.
*If you don’t have a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, soak the cashews for 3 to 4 hours to soften them a bit.

Note: the "queso" recipe is vegan, the nacho snacks are not.

Recipe inspired by Serious Eats.

This post is sponsored by Amy’s Kitchen. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking! Nacho Snacks with Carrot "Queso"

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Rachael from on said:

    This sounds delicious, a lovely alternative to that horrible orangey nacho cheese 🙂

    Rachael xx.

  2. The texture of that carrot queso looks perfect! I’m pretty hooked on my cashew-based cheeses, but this makes me really want to try adding in potatoes 🙂

    • Ha, I’m obsessed with cashew-based things too, I just loved the texture of this one 🙂

  3. Greta from on said:

    I LOVE the idea of adding carrots into the “queso” dip. Very creative!

  4. Kelly Nickell from on said:

    I made this last night and it was amazing!!

  5. SkinnyMe on said:

    Oh myyyy goodness! I had the hardest time finding a queso that I liked, but carrots in queso? LOVE it. I can’t wait to try this.

  6. Michele on said: This is so good. I’m a diehard queso lover, but I have vegan friends coming over tomorrow. I was skeptical enough to make a test batch tonight. Well, glad I did, my husband and I are eating this one and I’m going to make a double batch for tomorrow! 😀 This is so freaking good. I used a full tsp of paprika and one extra tbsp of nutritional yeast–which I have never used before and bought special for this. I also used beer instead of water. I am going to make this all the time from now on! Thank you!

    • Yay, I’m so glad you both loved it! Hope your friends enjoy it too! 🙂

  7. Melissa on said:

    I made this for my kiddos (18 mos and 5) to see if I could get some hidden veggies in them, but they saw right through my plan 😂 I on the other hand LOVED it. Great recipe!

  8. Corrine from on said:

    Jeanine, Could I use a food processor to do this or would a blender be better?

    • A blender is better – it needs to become really really creamy and I don’t think the texture would come out right in a food processor.

  9. Peaches on said:

    This sounds great but I have a quandary. My housemate can’t handle anything from the onion family. Can anyone suggest an alternative? Thanks.

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