You only need two ingredients to make this creamy, festive vegan queso recipe. No, for real.
You guys! Field Roast is making vegan cheese now! I grabbed all three varieties of Chao Slices to review and cooked with them. The sacrifices I make for you!
Note: If you’re just here for the 6-minute Queso recipe, it’s at the very bottom. I will not be offended if you scroll straight there without stopping!
Chao Cheese Review
Field Roast makes my very favorite store-bought fake meats. Their apple and smoked sage sausage is a staple in our house during grilling season, and their deli slices are my favorite treat for making a quick sandwich.
When I saw that Field Roast had entered the world of vegan cheese, I freaked out a little. Really. When I saw these cheeses on the shelf at Whole Foods, I stopped in my tracks and said, “WHAT!” before promptly filling my shopping cart.
Related: Earth Balance Mac and Cheese Review
The slices are nice! They’re a little bit firmer than American cheese slices, and the chao gives them the fermented tanginess that you find in really good vegan cheese.
Chao is the secret to Field Roast’s cheeses. It’s made with fermented soybeans and sounds sort of like a Vietnamese version of natto.
Tomato Cayenne Chao Slices
Darrol Henry and I busted into the Tomato Cayenne right away. Maybe we ate seven of the ten slices in the package while standing at the kitchen counter. That’s what I get for going hungry to the grocery store.
I liked these slices a lot. They were very spicy, which is a plus for me. The spice did overpower the fermented flavor a little bit, but you still get that tang at the end.
We ate most of these straight up or on crackers, but I did manage to save a few slices to make a grilled cheese sandwich and test its melt factor.
Ya’ll. I used three slices to make the grilled cheese sandwich. The package lists one slice as one serving. If anyone has eaten one of these Chao Slices without reaching for at least a second one, I would like to know about it!
That hasn’t happened at my house yet, even after going through four packages in less than two weeks.
So, back to the sandwich! When you look at this grilled cheese, it looks like the cheese didn’t melt, but actually it melted pretty well. These slices hold their shape, but when you bite into the sandwich, the cheese is wonderfully melty. Promise!
Coconut Herb Chao Slices
Well, that lasted two days, so I got to bust into the Coconut Herb cheese sooner than expected. Yay!
This one wasn’t spicy at all, but it did have a nice peppery flavor. If you’re not a fan of coconut, you may want to skip this cheese. It’s right in the name, but I was still surprised by the coconut flavor. By the second slice, though, I was super into this cheese.
OK, so I know that this is basically grilled cheese on thinner bread, but my next test was turning this cheese into a quesadilla. I just broke up three slices, stuffed them into a tortilla, and pan-fried them up in Earth Balance on medium high heat.
Easy peasy, and so, so melty. When it’s more melted like this, it has that nice, stretchy pull that’s hard to find in vegan cheese, too.
Creamy Original Chao Slices
I had a hard time finding the Creamy Original version of the Chao Slices, so when I finally got my hands on some, I maybe bought two packages.
It’s a good thing, because at this point, when he sees me opening one of the packages, Darrol Henry stands next to me at the kitchen counter, reaching up and shouting, “Cheese! Cheese!”
I think that these were my favorite. You could really taste the fermented flavors, but this cheese is also neutral enough to work in pretty much any recipe.
It sort of reminded me of one of my favorite cheeses growing up: Muenster.
For the final test, I decided to try making a microwave queso dip with one of my packages of original Chao Slices. I wanted to really put this cheese through its paces, so I adapted a recipe for a very, very non-vegan queso.
This cheese performed like a champ. I am in queso heaven!
6-Minute Vegan Queso
- 1 7-ounce package Chao Creamy Original Slices - cut into 1" pieces (Just cut through the whole stack of slices, like in the photo above.)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes and green chiles - undrained (about half of a 15 ounce can)
- Put cheese and tomatoes into a small microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave on high for 3 minutes, and stir. Keep microwaving in 1-minute increments, stirring well each time. Your cheese will be fully melted before it looks fully melted. Before deciding to pop the dip back in, try breaking up the chunks of cheese with your spoon. They might just need a little bit of help to combine into the queso. My queso took just two 1-minute rounds in my little low-power microwave, for a total cooking time of 5 minutes. A more powerful microwave might not need that extra minute.
- Serve with your favorite things to dip in queso!
This recipe was adapted from the Ro*Tel website; you can double this recipe for a crowd, no problem.