The last time I celebrated Cinco de Mayo was May 5, 2015. I know this because I went to work May 6th with a massive hangover, and I was laid off May 8th. I also know that these things aren’t related, and I bet I *~celebrated~* so hard because of the looming DOOM at work, but regardless: I’m not sure I’ll ever unlink the association. Cinco de Mayo makes me remember the weird humiliation of being laid off from a job that I didn’t even like that much.
But I had this vegan queso recipe that needed to be shared, and what better time than now? If you, like me, don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo, GREAT. This food tastes just as good any day of the week.
It’s very fitting that, when I made the food for this post, I fed it to my dear friend Lindsey to celebrate her birthday. I met her through this old job, she was there the whole weird layoff day (from literally breakfast through drinking that evening), and I’m so thankful for that job if only because I met her.
Cinco de Mayo is on a Saturday this year, but I don’t think that you should use that as an excuse to go wild. I encourage you to make this meal with friends in the safety of your home, drink one (just one!) too many tequila-La Croixes, and scream/sing along to the live Dixie Chicks album from their recent tour.
The burrito bowls are flavorful and filling, and the queso takes the meal over the top. Vegan queso may sound intimidating (or even gross. I get it 😜), but it’s not! All it takes is nuts, water, and a few seasonings. You get a rich, tasty dip that’s as spicy as you’d like.
VEGAN BURRITO BOWLS
This makes enough for four adults, plus leftovers for lunch the next day
Black beans (4 15-oz cans)
Rotel (1 10-oz can)
Salt and pepper
Sweet potatoes (5 lb bag)
Cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil
Bell peppers (6, various colors)
Onions (one red, one yellow)
Salt, pepper, olive oil
Cooked white rice (toss with cilantro and lime juice if you remember to! I did not!)
Various salsas and hot sauces
Diced avocado (would be amazing, but I didn’t include since Grant is allergic)
These directions are very loose. They’re burrito bowls, not algebra. Do what I say unless you have an idea that sounds better.
- Drain and rinse the beans. Add to a pot with the Rotel. Fill the Rotel can with water and add to the pot, as well. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, pop the lid on, and leave it be for ~45 mins. Stir when you remember to.
- Preheat the oven to 425. Roughly chop the potatoes (if the pieces are similarly sized, they’ll cook evenly!), spread on a large baking sheet, season with salt, pepper, and a dusting of cumin, drizzle with olive oil, and toss. Roast in the preheated oven for ~25 mins, tossing halfway through.
- Slice the peppers into strips. Same with the onions. Throw in a HUGE pot with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let them sear over high heat for a few minutes before you stir. This is what makes the blackened spots like when you order fajitas at a restaurant. Continue until the peppers are cooked to your liking. These will hold over low, low heat for a long time.
- Assemble with white rice, lime wedges, hot sauce, salsa, guac, and vegan queso on the side!
1 ½ C raw cashews, soaked for 6 hours*
½ C water
½ C nutritional yeast**
1/4 tsp cayenne (more or less to taste!)
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
Tortilla chips for serving
* I buy my raw cashews from the bulk bins at Hy-Vee in the Health Food Market. I know that Planter’s also makes them, and those are in the aisle with the snack nuts. “Soaked” means just what it sounds like. Cover the cashews with water and let them sit for at least six hours, up to overnight.
** This is a cheesy-tasting, plant-based powder seasoning. I buy mine from the bulk bins, just like the cashews.
- Add all ingredients to a blender*. Blend. Taste for seasoning. The END!
* I’m sure this would be super-velvety and luxurious with a high-powered blender, but all I’ve got is a Cuisinart, and it works JUST FINE.