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.

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Vegan stadium nacho cheese

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

Photo: Ali Jakobson

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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.

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**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.