A creamy vegan queso made with roasted vegetables, then topped with cowboy favorites like beans and onions. This vegan recipe is the perfect appetizer for any party.
I know what you are thinking!
Since when do “Vegan” and “Cowboy” go together?? This are the last two words in the English dictionary that should be put together in a title, unless you put the word “NOT” in the middle!
Well, I don’t have an answer for you! Sorry.
All I can say is that this vegan queso tastes so darn delicious and it doesn’t give a cat’s behind on whether the title is dietary correct!
Tips for making this recipe
- Make sure you choose the right sweet potato to make this queso
- The “queso”, by itself, is salty and that’s the way it should be. Once you add the “cowboy” ingredients, the taste will adjust
- I didn’t use hot sauce in this recipe, but, you are welcome to add it in place of cayenne pepper
- Use black beans from a tin and be sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove the preservatives. That liquid in the can will mess with the taste of the cowboy queso
- For this recipe, I only had Thai chili on hand. If you have jalapeno, use those instead. Or, use any chili pepper you have on hand
- The queso ingredient amounts below will make a big batch. I only used half of it and froze the rest for other recipes.
Why I LOVE this recipe
In my cheese eating days, queso was a particular favorite of mine. Every time I went to a Mexican restaurant, I asked for queso and chips.
I would eat a whole bucket of chips and the queso without any worry in the world.
Now, I am trying to avoid regular cheese, I was craving queso so much.
Necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to make a vegan version.
After 3 years of trying, I finally have the perfect queso recipe. It can be used in this cowboy appetizer and so many other recipes.
It also happens to be a nut-free sauce and that’s why it has so much appeal.
I used it in my vegan mac and cheese recipe too and boy, was it delicious!
Use it in dips, pasta recipes, nacho recipes, burritos and so much more.
Common questions for making this cowboy queso
As you make this recipe, you will have questions about the some of the steps. Here are some of the common questions I can answer.
If you have other questions, please feel free to comment below.
Can I freeze this queso?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze it. I recommend freezing just the vegan queso and not the whole recipe.
When you are ready to serve it, mix in the cowboy ingredients.
I like to freeze the ‘queso’ sauce into Ziploc freezer bags. Also, I make sure I write “made day” date on the bag
Are chips vegan?
There are some chips that are vegan. My favorites are those that have very few ingredients.
Tostitos Scoops are made with just 3 ingredients (Corn, vegetable oil and salt). They are easily found in any grocery store.
If you don’t have access to those chips, you can make them at home. I made mine in the Air Fryer and they are definitely a game changer! So easy to make and they taste delicious.
If you are confused about veganism, I have the perfect guide where I break down everything vegan.
How long will this vegan queso dip last?
Once you mix in the cowboy ingredients, the dip has a shortened shelf life. I suggest you use it up within a week of making it.
Put unused portions in a glass container with a lid. Place it in the refrigerator and use it up within a week.
The queso, if frozen by itself, can last a long time (up to 6 months).
Why is it called Cowboy?
This is a guess on my part. I haven’t been able to find a real answer for it online.
It’s called cowboy because of the ingredients that cowboys ate out in the wild west? Sounds right to me.
Beans were always a cowboy favorite, so, I made sure to include it in this recipe. Black beans are my favorite, but, canned pinto beans will work too.
How to make this dip
First, start with making the queso itself. It’s the same as how I made the vegan mac and cheese. Here are the steps for it:
Preheat oven to 400°
Spray a baking tray with oil and set aside
While oven is heating, start by peeling 2 sweet potatoes.
Chop them into cubes. They don’t have to be perfect because they will be blended in the end
Place the chopped sweet potatoes on the oiled tray
Take a medium red bell pepper and cut into to half. Save one half for future recipes. Place the other half on the baking tray (cut side down)
Take 5 carrot sticks and place it on the baking tray too
Use a cooking spray to lightly spray the veggies on the baking tray
Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 40 min or until the sweet potato pieces can be mashed easily with the back of a spoon
Remove the skin of the roasted red bell pepper
Place the 3 roasted veggies in a blender and add 1.5 tsp red pepper flakes. You can adjust this according to your taste
Add 1 Tbsp of salt
Add 1 Tbsp of oregano
Add 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast
Add 1 Tbsp of yellow mustard
Finally, add 1 can of coconut milk. I also ended up adding about 2 tbsp more of coconut milk, but, it’s not necessary
Blend the ingredients until you have a sauce consistency (about 2 minutes)
Making the cowboy ingredients
Now, let’s mix the cowboy ingredients.
Thoroughly rinse one can of black beans and place them in a bowl
Add 1/2 of a bell pepper to the same bowl
Add 1/4 of a red onion, finely diced
Add 1/4 of a beefsteak tomato (or 1 plum tomato)
Add 1 jalapeno, finely diced. You can adjust to your taste
Finely dice 2 cloves of garlic and add to the bowl
Add 2 tsp of red chili powder or cayenne pepper. You can also adjust this to your taste
Add 1 tsp of salt
Squeeze 1/4 of a lemon on top of the bowl ingredients
Add chopped cilantro to it. This is optional.
Mix well and set aside for about 30 minutes. This is not required, but, it will marinate the beans
Add half of the vegan queso we made above. Keep the rest for a future recipe
Give it one good mix before serving.
Now that you have made this recipe, be sure to rate it below. I love getting your input. If you really like it, be sure to give it 5 stars.
Vegan Cowboy Queso
- 13X9 Baking tray
For the vegan ‘cheese’ sauce
To make the queso
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Spray a baking tray with oil and set aside
- While oven is heating, peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes into cubes
- Place the chopped sweet potatoes, bell pepper (cut side down) and carrots on the oiled tray
- Use a cooking spray to lightly spray the veggies on the baking tray
- Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 40 min, See notes
- Remove the baking tray from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes
- Remove the skin of the roasted red bell pepper
- Place the roasted veggies in a blender the red pepper flakes, salt, oregano, nutritional yeast, yellow mustard and coconut milk
- Blend the ingredients until you have a sauce consistency (about 2 minutes)
- Mix well and add more sauce, if needed
To make the cowboy queso
- In a bowl, add all the ingredients for the cowboy queso
- Mix well and (optonal) set aside for about 30 minutes
- Add half of the queso to the black beans mixture
- Mix well and serve immediately