Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vegan Queso Taste-Off

Once upon a time a young bean asked a server at Chi Chi's, "What is queso?"  The answer was, "It's like a big bowl of melted cheese", and she was sold.  But that was not the end, because years later she would become vegan and the big bowls of melted cheese would elude her.  Fast forward eleven years.

Nacho Mom's Ultimate Vegan Queso had been saved in my Pangea cart on my radar for some time when the Food for Lovers Vegan Queso came on the scene (I know they consider themselves "The World's First Vegan Queso"; this was just my own, personal discovery timeline).  Since I had already planned to order a bit of Daiya, I added both jars (and more) to what turned out to be quite a large shipment of vegan cheese products.

I have my own tried and true method for preparing multi-layered, baked vegan nachos that I adore, but I was anxious to get back into the old school swing of things with simple chips and queso.  And, once the cheesy smell started permeating the air, members of the esteemed tasting panel started coming out of the woodwork.

Let's start with Food for Lovers Vegan Queso.  I hate the name.  Ok, perhaps it's cute that the creators love animals, food, health, the planet, and each other...but it's cheesy.  Maybe that was the point?  It could just be me, but who gets all swoony about love when thinking about cheese?  I get swoony about cheese when thinking about cheese.  Besides that, the term "lover" just conjures up a different kind of love that has nothing to do with my cheese life.  But that's just one person's opinion and, admittedly, has nothing whatsoever to do with the taste.

  • FFLVQ poured easily out of the jar into my microwave-safe bowl. 
  • For some reason, the color became significantly more appealing out of the confines of the container. 
  • It heated up nicely and quickly, with only a few breaks for stirring.
Overall: creamy, delicious, with a nice kick.  I think this was the schmaltzier of the two.

Onto Nacho Mom's Ultimate Vegan Queso.  The packaging is adorbs, but the company's site is actually a blog and I can't decide if it's not easily navigable or if it just doesn't contain that much information.  Either way, it would seem that it should be a bit more professional; I'd venture to guess that creating, marketing, and distributing a vegan food product is the hard part, not the website[Update 5/8/11: please see the comments for the updated link.]

  • NMUVQ needed lots of prodding from various spatulas in order to be released from the jar.  When it finally did so, it was with an unappetizing plop.
  • The color seemed more appealingly cheesy within the jar; once out it came across as more artificial.
  • It required a lot of heating time and the gelatinous texture made it difficult to stir easily.
Overall: lumpy, good, with no discernable spice.  I think kids would love this.

At first I thought I liked FFLVQ much better (the creaminess is hard to resist), but as I stuffed my face continued eating I decided that they both had their own, distinct flava (not to be confused with flavor, although that too).  The rest of the esteemed tasting panel- one vegetarian and one omnivore, gobbled up every last drop of both with no obvious preference: proving that either could pass muster as authentic queso.  For the record, both of these options are fat-free and have similar ingredients: most notably nutritional yeast.  I generally like but don't love nooch; these each tasted definitively cheesy, not noochy.

The bottom line is, the more vegan queso on the market the better.  Heck, the more vegan products on the market the better.  Everytime an omnivore eats something vegan they're not eating something cruel.  Try them both for yourself; go ahead and share.


  1. Oh the irony. I was so close to a taste off when 2 jars mysteriously crashed, cracked, oozed and were disposed of. I had another to compare, but I agree 100% with your assessment. I do love the FFL because of the consistency and the heat. Mine poured out of the jar like water but firmed up after the microwave changed it's molecular structure. NMU is definitely a gloppy chunky substance.

    There is one more called Nacheez. I have the spicy and mild. Stay tuned.

  2. Marty, How has Nacheez eluded me? Let me know how it fares. I hope your daughter is recruiting more veggies every day ;-)

  3. Have you tried making yr own? Do you have a preferred recipe for that?

  4. Nope, I've never made my own queso. But if I tried I'd imagine it would include Daiya & lots of hot peppers.

  5. correction: Nazho Mom's website is or It's not a blog. :-)

  6. Thanks Anonymous, but please note that has not worked any time I've tried it. does; thanks for tip!

  7. Glad to see your review of Nacho Mom's! I bought some recently as part of the Vegan Cuts deal, but haven't tried it yet. Hoping I like it as much as you and your tasting panel did! I sure hope so - I have 6 jars of this stuff!

  8. Hi Abby,
    I haven't had the time, or enough unopened jars to fairly judge all three quesos but the Nacheez is a product shipped out of Sacramento CA.

    I find the two flavors very easy to like. There isn't the same gloppy texture as Nacho Mom's, (and I did want to love her's just for the name alone!), and it's not a pourable liquid like FFL.

    I found there to be a citrousy tinge in both the mild and spicy from the lemon juice. The spicy queso had just a bit of heat, nothing like the FFL which is off the hook jalapeno.

    Marty's Flying Vegan Review

    PS did you make it to the Veggie Pride parade today?


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