Vegan Cauliflower Queso

Cauliflower is in abundance at the HCC Realty Farmers Market/Colonial Village and we’re using some from Zanders Elmhurst Farm (more info following recipe) to make this super rich and creamy Vegan Cauliflower Queso for our Roasted Cauliflower Tacos. This dairy-free queso has a bit of smoky heat and a rich cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast. It’s great on nachos, sweet potato oven fries, baked or grilled potatoes, tacos, and if we’re being honest, a spoon.

Summer is a great time to explore the fresh and affordable local produce your community farmers have to offer. Get creative on your own or check out some of our other recipes from our Eat Local series.

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Vegan Cauliflower Queso

Vegan Cauliflower Queso

  • Author: Fresh. Out.
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 Cups 1x
  • Category: Sauces, Dips
  • Method: Oven Roasting
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan


A rich and creamy, smoky, Vegan Cauliflower Queso with just a touch of heat.


  • 2 packed cups bite sized cauliflower florets and chopped stems
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup canned cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed (low-sodium, if possible)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped jalapeno pepper (deseeded)
  • 1 tsp tahini paste
  • 1/2 tsp coconut aminos
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • Pinches of salt and ground black pepper
  • Generous pinch of smoked paprika


  1. Place oven rack at top position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine cumin, chili powder, chipotle chile powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. To a large bowl add cauliflower, onions, jalapeno, and garlic. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat, then sprinkle with spice mixture and toss again to coat evenly. 
  4. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip/stir, then return to oven for another 5-10 minutes, watching closely after 5. Cauliflower and garlic should be very tender.
  5. To a food processor or blender add the roasted cauliflower mixture, nutritional yeast, beans, tahini paste, coconut aminos, smoked paprika, and almond milk (add almond milk last). Pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed, then blend thoroughly until creamy and smooth.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Taste again and add more smoked paprika, salt and pepper if needed. For thinner sauce, add more almond milk a tablespoon at a time. 


Refrigerate in a glass airtight container up to 5 days, stirring well before using.



Zanders Elmhurst Farm is family-owned and run and has been a staple in the Rockford, IL community for two generations. They offer seasonal produce, cut flowers, perennials, and more. Located on Montague Road, call for hours: 815-964-5927.

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