Ummm, hi! Last fall I created one of the most delicious, addicting dip recipes of all time, and I’m here to remind you to make it ASAP. Seriously. Remember my famous vegan cashew cheese sauce? I took that creamy goodness and added warming spices, extra jalapeño, a little salsa and…wait for it…roasted. butternut. squash.
Call me the queen of cozy flavors because this vegan queso recipe is basically your fav queso with a flavorful, fall twist thanks to butternut squash.
Not only is this butternut squash queso vegan and dairy free, but it’s also packed with healthy fats from raw cashews and plenty of nutrients from the squash itself. No judgment if you decide to eat it with a spoon! It’s also the perfect dip for chips and sauce for nachos, burritos, tacos and more. I’ve included tons of delicious ways to enjoy it, plus ideas for using up the rest of your roasted butternut squash!
Whip up the best vegan queso recipe for football Sunday, or really any holiday, and watch friends and family devour.
Everything you’ll need to make vegan queso
We’re skipping the dairy and using my fav fall produce, wonderful spices and delicious mix-ins to make this vegan butternut squash queso. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:
- Cashews: the base of this vegan queso recipe is raw cashews, just like in my vegan cashew cheese sauce!
- Butternut squash: we’re adding a fall kick with cozy roasted butternut squash. Don’t forget to check out our tips below for cutting, peeling & roasting it yourself.
- Nutritional yeast: that true “cheesy” flavor, that keeps the queso dairy-free, comes from nutritional yeast.
- Produce: I love adding in jalapeño for a slight kick, and garlic for the savory element.
- Spices: here’s where things get fun — we’re adding paprika, ground turmeric, onion powder, chili powder, and plenty of salt and pepper for an out-of-this-world delicious flavor in the queso.
- Dairy free milk: you’ll also want to add a neutral-flavored, dairy free milk to help everything blend together well. I suggest unsweetened almond milk or cashew milk.
- Mix-ins: to pull it all together you’ll mix in your favorite salsa (I love chunky medium salsa), scallions, fresh cilantro and a few slices of regular or pickled jalapeños. YUM. You could also add some diced tomatoes for more fresh bites!
Easy ways to roast butternut squash
You have a couple of different options for roasting up your butternut squash to use in this vegan queso dip. You can either:
- Roast butternut squash halves OR
- Roast butternut squash cubes
Head to this post for all of our best tips & tricks for either option! Note that if you roast both butternut squash halves. You’ll only need about 1 1/2 cups mashed from one half, and if you roast cubes you’ll just need 2 cups of cubed, roasted butternut squash.
More ways to use roasted butternut squash
Although you’ll only need about half of your roasted butternut squash, feel free to use the rest in one of these amazing recipes:
- Chai-Spiced Butternut Squash Muffins with Salted Honey Glaze
- Roasted Butternut Squash Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Couscous
- Vegan White Bean & Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Winter Butternut Squash Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad
- Vegan Butternut Squash Lasagna with Garlic Tahini Tofu Cream
Get all of my butternut squash recipes here!
How to make vegan butternut squash queso
Now that we’ve covered the roasting part of this recipe, the rest is so easy!
- Prep the cashews. While your butternut squash is roasting you’ll want to add your cashews to a medium pot of water. Bring them to a boil, then turn the heat off and let the cashews sit for 30-45 minutes. This will ensure that they’re soft and easy to blend into the vegan queso.
- Blend the queso. Add the soaked, drained cashews to a high-speed blender with flesh from half of your roasted butternut squash, and the rest of the ingredients besides the mix-ins. Blend it all on high until the queso is well-combined, then taste & adjust seasonings to your taste preference.
- Heat & serve. If you’re going to serve it immediately, transfer the queso to a large pot and heat it over medium heat. Mix in the salsa, then add it to a bowl with your fav garnishes like cilantro and jalapeño slices. See our fav ways to serve it below!
Serving a party?
Feel free to transfer the vegan queso to a slow cooker and keep it on warm! Just be sure to stir it every so often. The recipe makes about 3 cups of vegan queso, so feel free to double it or halve it depending on how much you want.
Delicious ways to enjoy this vegan queso
This easy vegan butternut squash queso recipe is the perfect dairy free substitute for any recipe that uses cheese sauce. Here are some amazing ways to enjoy it:
- As a dip (of course) with tortilla chips, sweet potato fries, pita bread, crackers or even pretzel bites
- Over nachos or as a sauce for enchiladas, tacos, or quesadillas
- On burrito bowls or your fav grain bowls
Storing & reheating tips
- To store: if you have leftovers or simply want to make this ahead of time, simply skip the step of heating the queso and instead transfer it to an airtight container for later. This will stay good in the refrigerator for 5 days.
- To reheat: heat the vegan queso on the stovetop as written when you’re ready to enjoy it!
More dip recipes
- How to Make Super Creamy Hummus (+5 different flavor variations!)
- Spicy Green Cashew Dip
- Bubbly Hot Chicken Enchilada Bean Dip
- Vegetarian Three Cheese White Bean Buffalo Dip
- Creamy Feta Yogurt Dressing (or dip!)
Get all of our delicious dip recipes here!
I hope you love this vegan jalapeño butternut squash queso! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Vegan Jalapeno Butternut Squash Queso
Amazing vegan butternut squash queso filled with incredible flavor from roasted butternut squash, jalapeño, your fav salsa and tons of warming spices. This fall-inspired vegan queso recipe is the perfect way to use up extra butternut squash and is delicious served with chips, on nachos, in quesadillas and more!
- For the queso:
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews*
- 1 ½ cups mashed roasted butternut squash* (options for roasting in instructions)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or neutral dairy free milk of choice)
- 1 jalapeño, chopped (you can deseed if you are sensitive to spice)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For mix-ins:
- 1 cup salsa of choice (I prefer a chunky medium salsa)
- ¼ cup scallions
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- A few slices of jalapeno or pickled jalapeno
- For serving:
- Tortilla chips
To make with a whole butternut squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use a sharp knife to cut off both ends of a butternut squash, you’ll cut about ¼-½ inch off each end. Next cut the butternut squash in half vertically. Place the butternut squash upright or vertically on a wooden cutting board that’s very secured to your counter. We don’t want the cutting board or squash to wobble as you cut it. Use your knife to cut the butternut squash vertically down the middle. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds of the cut butternut squash. Place the butternut squash halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast the squash for 50 minutes-1 hour or until the squash is very fork tender. Set aside to cool for a little bit before scooping out the flesh. Please note you will only use the flesh from 1 butternut squash half. Save the other half for a different recipe.
To make with cubed butternut squash: Add 2 cups of cubed butternut squash to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and use your hands to coat the cubes. Roast at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through. Squash is done when it is very fork tender.
While your butternut squash is roasting: fill a medium pot with water and add in your raw cashews. Place over high heat and bring water to a boil. Once boiling, immediately turn off the heat; let the cashews sit for 30-45 minutes in the warm water, then drain.
Once the cashews have finished soaking you'll be ready to make the queso: add drained cashews, flesh from 1 half of the roasted butternut squash (about 1 ½ cups mashed or approximately 2 cups cubed roasted butternut squash), garlic, nutritional yeast, almond milk, jalapeno, turmeric, paprika, onion powder, chili powder, dijon mustard, salt and black pepper to a high powered blender. Blend on high until a sauce comes together. If you want a thinner queso, add a bit more almond milk. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Sometimes I like to add more salt or add in a dash of hot sauce to make it spicy; it’s really up to you!
You can either store this in the fridge to reheat later at this point, or to serve immediately you can transfer to a large pot or skillet and place over medium heat. Mix in the salsa and then stir frequently until warmed through to your liking. Transfer dip to a large shallow bowl and garnish more salsa if you like, plus scallions, jalapeno slices and cilantro. Please note: you can also transfer the mixture to a slow cooker and keep on warm to serve at a party. Just make sure you stir every so often!
Feel free to serve this with chips or over nachos, on burrito bowls, in quesadillas, enchiladas, etc. You can also halve this recipe to make less. Makes about 3 cups of vegan queso.
How to store: if you have leftovers or simply want to make this ahead of time, simply do not heat and transfer to an airtight container for later. This will stay good in the fridge for 5 days.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This is the BEST
I was going to make some guacamole for a get together with friends, but I saw this and immediately pivoted. Yuuuuum! My husband couldn’t believe it was vegan!
It made more than I needed. The “how to store “ comments you wrote were a little confusing. Can I put it in the freezer and reheat when ready with the extras?
Apologies for the confusion! Yes I think it should be fine to freeze and reheat, then top with whatever toppings you’d like 🙂
I LOVE the Ambitious Kitchen vegan mac n cheese so I knew I would love this. I tasted it after I prepped it today for some friends visiting tomorrow – YUM! The butternut squash makes it better than the original. It makes a huge batch so I’m actually saving half of it to use as a mac n cheese sauce on red lentil pasta.
I’m so happy you tried this one, Molly! Love the idea of using it as a mac n cheese or pasta sauce 🙂
very nice recipe
So delicious! Great for a more nutritious super bowl snack. We added a couple extra cloves of garlic because ours were small (and we love garlic). Also let our butternut squash roast a little longer than suggested so it was super mushy and mixed into the sauce easier since we don’t have the highest power blender. We might use the leftover for a spicy Mac and “cheese”!
This vegan queso is INSANE. Trying to eat more plant based in the new year and I cannot believe how delicious this recipe is. I didn’t think queso and vegan would go together but I was wrong! I also have family members who are vegan so this will be a great option for them at future gatherings. Thank you!
Yay! I am so glad you are loving this recipe!
Made this a few days ago and have used it several ways. Gets better as it sits in the fridge a few days!! Added about equal parts chunky salsa today and warmed to add lastly to delicious Mexican style buddha bowls. Used in burritos over the weekend and was the perfect sauce with pinto beans, rice and a bit of vegan cheddar!! This sauce is a keeper!!
Recipe looks delicious! Thks for posting. I was wondering if there would be a substitute for nutritional yeast as I don’t have it in my diet.
I wouldn’t suggest a substitution for nutritional yeast, it adds the cheese/nutty flavor to this dip without adding the dairy. So sorry.
I very much enjoyed making this recipe for a family gathering. After the event, I had leftovers, and discovered that adding a couple heaping tablespoons of this dip to a bowl of chicken soup gave it a whole new vibe. It’s great that a recipe that has this much flavor is also nutritious, as well as being dairy and gluten-free! Hooray!
Oh that’s a great idea! Exited to hear you are loving this recipe ❤️