Even vegans can enjoy deliciously junky stadium nacho “cheese”

Photos: Ali Jakobson
Photos: Ali Jakobson

Am I lactose intolerant? Or am I just overdoing it on dairy? I don’t know, but at a certain point I needed to face the facts: Cheese sort of makes me die inside, and I need to eat it sparingly.


This is an unfortunate situation for my wife, who became hooked on our biweekly nacho dinners. These dinners entail a sheet pan, a bunch of chips, and any nacho topping we could dream up. Easy, delicious, and the perfect companion to margaritas. Nutritional value, be damned!

Unwilling to give up my nacho nights, I decided to consult my vegan recipe wizard, Minimalist Baker Dana Shultz. She’s basically a genius, so of course she had a vegan cheese recipe at the ready. I whipped it up (and it was great) but then decided I wanted to take it to the next level: I wanted vegan stadium nacho cheese. Like the orange, tangy stuff they squirt on your too-salty corn chips at White Sox games. Is it real cheese? Who knows! But it’s fucking delicious.

I began experimenting and after many delightful taste-test sessions, I finally nailed it.

These nachos are probably not any healthier than our previous sheet pan nachos. I mean, it’s a sheet pan of nachos. But it’s equally delicious, and murders my insides a little less—which is all I can ask for.

Vegan stadium nacho cheese

Adapted from Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Mexican Cheese (Three Ways)

Photo: Ali Jakobson
Photo: Ali Jakobson

1 1/2 cup cashews
1 cup hot water *
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. white miso paste
1 tsp. hot sauce (I use Valentina)
1/2 tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
A pinch chili powder
Turmeric (optional)

Add cashews and hot water to a high-powered blender (e.g., Vitamix or Blendtec)** and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until well mixed. If you want a really authentic stadium cheese experience, blend in a little turmeric to achieve that unnatural orange hue.


Recipe notes

*Hot, but not boiling. This cheez doesn’t heat/reheat well, so it’s best to make it right before you’re going to consume and with very hot water.


**If you don’t have a high-powered blender, pulverize the cashews in a food processor first, add the other ingredients, and then slowly whisk in the hot water, as suggested in the Minimalist Baker recipe.


I’m lactose intolerant. Check out the cheeses from Cabot. They have lactose free cheese in all varieties including mozzarella.