Healthy Spicy Queso

September 28, 2011 § 7 Comments

Were you one of the kids that usually brought their lunch to school? I sure was.  Not your typical PBJ/pudding cup/bag of chips lunches though (not that those aren’t also delicious)- I have friends that still tell me they would crave the lunches my Mom made for us. Lucky kids we were 🙂 There were the occasional times (like that delicious rectangular elementary school pizza) that we would go for the school lunch, but bagged/Care Bears Lunchboxed lunches were the norm.

Looks like I turned out to be bagged lunch grown up too! Only my lunches usually don’t fit in a brown bag, since I bring a bazillion containers of who knows what. Anyway, like the days when I was little, I would occasionally splurge on lunch and sample Chicago’s local luncheries. There was this awesome little vegetarian cafe/grocery store called Kramer’s right next to my building. Not only was it fresh/healthy/non-food-coma inducing (learned early on that big lunches lead to this) but the people that worked there were so nice and knew the customers by name.

Kramer’s often sold this awesome vegan queso that was so delicious I was alarmed at how healthy it was. Probably not so healthy anymore when I would demolish the tub of it in one sitting, but delicious nonetheless. I’m a big fan of “If you like something so much you buy it regularly, try making it yourself” and have been meaning to try to do this. However it included 2 ingredients that are not typically a part of my kitchen: tofu and nutritional yeast (what the heck is that? more on this later). I enjoy dabbling in vegetarian/veganism here and there; alas, I do enjoy my animal products too much to be a permanent herbivore.

Tofu is not one of my typical grocery store purchases, nor do I ever remember to buy it. But I saw it for $1 the other day and decided to give this “cheez” a whirl.  And now for the intriguing ingredient called “nutritional yeast”. After seeing it in this queso and on some food blogs, I bought a container. I’m still a little scared of it; it’s pretty yummy and almost tastes like cheese. But I’m always wary of something tasting like something it’s not. (Hence why I don’t buy Splenda).  I still don’t really know what it is or where it comes from, but I have yet to hear anything bad about it, but I’ll be on the lookout. Since it seems like you can only buy it at health food stores, I trust it a little more…but still. Wary.

It turned out great, though it didn’t taste exactly like Kramer’s. I wish I had a tub of theirs on hand so I could see what I need to tweak!


  • 1 package silken tofu
  • Jalapeno Pepper (I used 1.5- this was pretty spicy)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (more if you’re as obsessed with garlic as I am)
  • salt to taste (I’d say at least 1 tsp)
  • 5 T nutritional yeast
Chop your jalapenos and garlic up in the food processor. Add everything else. I had to keep taste-testing it and adding more salt.
I’ve been slathering it on everything- sandwiches, salads, just eating it out of the bowl with a spoon…you know.

§ 7 Responses to Healthy Spicy Queso

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