Vegan Carrot “Queso” with Nacho Snacks

Who would have thought potatoes & carrots could blend into a creamy vegan queso? I sure didn't, until I made this tangy, smoky, delicious dip!

Nacho Snacks with Vegan "Queso"

This vegan queso 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.

Vegan Queso ingredients

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 fixings, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I served my vegan queso 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 Vegan "Queso" Nacho Snacks with Vegan "Queso"

Love this vegan queso? Check out some more of my favorite dips, like this kale guacamole or classic guac, this cheesy party dip, or this vegan 7-layer dip!

5.0 from 4 reviews

Nacho Snacks with Carrot "Queso"

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. Top generously with red onions, tomato, jalapeño, and avocado, and enjoy!
Recipe type: Appetizer
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"


Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Shila

    This was fantastic and so satisfying. And I love that it has a helping of veggies too. My husband and I loved this.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Ashley

    Turned out beautiful, I added a bit more nutritional yeast bcuz I like it really cheesy and left out the cashews.

  3. Peaches

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

  4. Corrine from

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

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      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.

  5. Melissa

    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!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      aw, ha, so glad you loved it!! 🙂

  6. Michele
    12.10.2016 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!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

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

  7. SkinnyMe

    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.

  8. Greta from

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

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      thanks Greta!

  9. 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 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

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

  10. Rachael from

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

    Rachael xx.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.