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Vegan Queso with Tomatillo Sofrito

Menu PartAppetizer/Small Plate
Cuisine TypeLatin
Vegan queso

Chef Josef Centeno

Bar Ama

Los Angeles

To appeal to vegan customers at his Tex-Mex restaurant Bar Ama, Chef Josef Centeno created this nondairy queso. It uses coconut milk and dairy-free cheddar shreds to produce a creamy plant-based queso. Chipotle peppers and house-made sofrito add bold layers of flavor.



2 tbsp. olive oil

5 tomatillos, chopped (1½ cups)

1 small onion, chopped (2/3 cup)

½ cup shredded carrot

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

½ cup water

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

¼ tsp. fine sea salt

½ tsp. freshly cracked pepper


1 cup coconut milk

2 cups dairy-free cheddar shreds

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. pureed chipotle in adobo

2 tsp. sherry vinegar

1 tsp. fine sea salt, or to taste

Tortilla chips or crudites for serving


1. For sofrito, in large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add tomatillos, onion, carrot, jalapeno and garlic; saute 5 minutes.

2. Reduce heat to low; add water and simmer 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender. Stir in cilantro, salt and pepper; remove from heat and cool.

3. For queso, in medium saucepan over medium heat, bring coconut milk to a boil. Stir in cheddar shreds; reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk until completely melted, about 6 minutes. 4. Stir in olive oil, chipotle puree and vinegar until well combined. Add salt (taste for seasoning and adjust as desired).

5. To serve, pour queso into bowl, top with heaping spoonful of sofrito. Serve immediately with chips or fresh crudites. Reserve remaining sofrito to serve with tacos or as a salsa.

Photo courtesy of So Delicious Dairy Free

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