I love a towering platter of nachos with an obnoxious amount of toppings. It’s the perfect combination of spice and textures, no utensils needed! My easy “all in a blender” homemade queso turns cashews into an explosively flavorful cheesy sauce that gets depth from mild jalapeño, smoky chipotle chiles, and good-quality salt (like pink Himalayan salt) to counteract the cashews’ sweetness. Finish it off with the zest and juice of a lime. If you are here for this kind of fierce flavor, run—don’t walk!—to your pantry. -Chef Charity Morgan
For the Queso
2 carrots, scrubbed and trimmed (no need to peel), coarsely chopped
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, or 8 slices pickled jalapeño
2 garlic cloves
2 cups unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
2 cups raw cashews, soaked and drained (see page 35)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons fine pink
Himalayan salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lime
For the Nachos
1 (16-ounce) bag tortilla chips
2 cups cooked beans (black, pinto, red, or chili beans, rinsed and drained, if canned), or refried beans, warmed
2 cups Walnut Chorizo (page 105), warmed
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
Optional garnishes: Pickled jalapeños, pickled or fresh sliced red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado and/or guacamole,
Brazil Nut Sour Cream (page 57), grilled and diced pineapple (yes, so good!), sliced scallions (green and white parts)
TIP: I usually add 1 chipotle and 1 seeded jalapeño to the queso and it’s mild enough for even my kids. If you’re a heat monster, feel free to add more. For a deeper, more fermented taste, add 1 heaping teaspoon white miso paste.
Make the Queso:
In a high-speed blender, combine the carrots, chipotle chile, jalapeño, garlic, milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, onion powder, paprika, salt, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, turmeric, and black pepper. Blend on high until completely smooth and the exterior of the blender is warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lime zest and juice and blend for 10 seconds. Taste for consistency and flavor. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Make the Nachos:
Arrange half of the tortilla chips on a large sheet pan or platter. Top with half of the queso, beans, and Walnut Chorizo. Add the remaining tortilla chips, beans, Walnut Chorizo, and queso. Top with the lettuce, tomato, and any garnishes (if using). Serve immediately.
Swap out tortilla chips for roasted potatoes to make “potachos” just like the ones you saw in The Game Changers. Mix queso with cooked pasta and cooked plant-based ground “meat” for an excellent stove-top taco mac flavored with Taco Seasoning (page 86). Queso is also great drizzled over roasted vegetables or loaded baked potatoes.