There are a variety of ways to make a dairy free cheese sauce, but I wanted to make one that was simple, but not too simple so there are some levels of flavor in there as well.

If you are new to dairy free cheeses, it’s important to understand that dairy cheese has a fermenting and aging process, and making a simple home recipe that you can use ingredients from your pantry to make a dairy-free cheese, it’s not going to have the same aged flavor. It’s not a one-for-one substitute especially with flavor, but it can carry the same idea and be used as an alternative.

Why White Beans?

This recipe uses white beans for a few reasons.

  1. This recipe is dairy and nut free
  2. White beans are easy to blend
  3. White bean are a good source of plant-based calcium

When I first made this recipe I wanted to make a queso dip, but I wanted to also have a plain version if someone wanted a cheese sauce for veggies. I have tried the cheese sauce on top of pasta, and it’s okay, but after a while it does turn a little sweet. I think the best way to use this is as queso bean dip. But you be the judge.

A Few Uncommon Ingredients

I wanted to make this with common ingredients as much as possible, but if you are not familiar with dairy-free cheese recipes there might be some a couple odd ingredients you might not be familiar with.

  • Nutritional Yeast
    • Nutritional yeast is produced by culturing a yeast. When the yeast is ready, it is deactivated (no longer ferment). This means this will not cause any yeast imbalances in your body.
    • It has a cheesy/nutty flavor. Usually comes in flakes or power. Most common is flakes. Something you can sprinkle on salads, pasta, etc. as a seasoning.
    • Nutritional yeast is high in B vitamins A lot of brands will fortify it with B12. And it’s high in protein (8-10g) for the 2 tablespoons you use as a serving.
  • Miso Paste
    • Miso is fermented bean paste, usually from soy beans. If you are allergic to soy, there is a chickpea variety that I use.
    • It adds a fermented, salty, umami flavor
    • Great to use in broths to add another layer of flavor.

Seasonings

There are a few seasonings, and when making the queso about 1/2 the ingredients listed is seasonings. If you do not have a lot of these, I’d suggest going to a grocery store that has seasonings in bulk. They are usually less expensive and you can just get a few tablespoons instead of a whole jar.

The Extra Steps

There are a few things I think are necessary for this recipe. One is for either the cheese sauce or the queso, the other is just for the queso.

  1. Browned Mushrooms
    • Taking the time to sautee’ the mushrooms and brown them slightly is worth it! This was something I added after a few other no-go tries. This helps bring in more of that umami taste and helps with thicken the sauce without the use of grains.
  2. Roasted Jalapenos
    • For the queso, there is nothing like fresh roasted jalapenos. In the queso recipe there is a can of chopped green chilies which I love too, but having that fresh roasted pepper in there, just bumps the queso up a notch.

I will tell ya’ll that the first time I made the queso without the mushrooms or fresh roasted jalapeno, it was okay. Then I took the extra steps and I thought it tasted pretty good. Then I went back to clean up and kept dipping in the second recipe bowl the rest of the afternoon.

These extra steps are worth it!

Recipe Time!

Okay okay! Enough about the components of the recipe, let’s get to the recipes. The first being the white bean “cheese” sauce and the next will be the recipe for the queso, adding seasonings and the roasted jalapeno.

White Bean Cheese Sauce

  • Servings: makes about 2 cups
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 small white mushrooms
  • 1 15oz can white beans, drained (I use butter beans)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste (I use chickpea miso)
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Clean and slice the mushrooms and sautee in medium pan on medium heat. If you have non-stick, no need for oil. Mushrooms give off their liquid so there should not be an issue. Space them so they are not crowded in the pan and don’t move them until they shrink or start to brown. Flip to brown the other side. This should take a total of about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Put all ingredients in a blender, including the browned mushrooms. Blend until smooth. About 5 minutes.
  3. Heat in a pan if needed. Pour over veggies, noodles, top of casserole, etc.

White Bean Queso Dip

  • Servings: makes about 2 cups
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 small white mushrooms
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 15oz can white beans, drained (I use butter beans)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste (I use chickpea miso)
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz can green chilies
  • Mexican Hot Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Slice the fresh jalapeno in half and if desired, remove the seeds. The seeds hold the majority of the heat. Put on a small baking sheet with the inside down, skin side up. Bake for 15 minutes.
  2. Clean and slice the mushrooms and sautee in medium pan on medium heat. If you have non-stick, no need for oil. Mushrooms give off their liquid so there should not be an issue. Space them so they are not crowded in the pan and don’t move them until they shrink or start to brown. Flip to brown the other side. This should take a total of about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Put all ingredients from white beans to salt in a blender, include the browned mushrooms. Blend until smooth and well incorporated. About 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove jalapeno from the oven, the skin should be black in some spots. Trying to remove the skin as best as you can. I will put the pepper pieces in a ziplock bag and seal it to allow it to steam for a few minutes, and then peel the outside skin off. Chop the remaining roasted pepper.
  5. Pour cheese mixture into a small sauce pan. Add the canned green chilies and the chopped roasted jalapeno and heat through on medium low heat.
  6. Top with Mexican hot sauce, cilantro, and sliced avocado.

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