Gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly, this is nacho average pizza! Our Gluten-free Nacho Pizza with Vegan Queso is loaded with classic Tex-Mex toppings. We piled salsa, vegan taco ground, and non-dairy pepper jack style cheese shreds atop our Gluten-free Artisan Style Pizza Crust, then topped it with jalapeños, lettuce, and cilantro for a vibrant, savoury chew.
Let’s taco ‘bout the star of our Gluten-free Nacho Pizza—the nut-free Vegan Queso. Our recipe’s melty and mouthwatering vegan queso was inspired by our friend Minimalist Baker’s Cashew-less Vegan Queso. Just like we did in our popular gluten-free Baked Mac & Cheese recipe, she swapped out nuts for roasted eggplant as the base for a cheesy, creamy, vegan and allergy-friendly sauce.
For this queso, you’ll need just enough roasted eggplant to make it velvety—one small or half a medium eggplant should be plenty! To help you master the art of nut-free vegan cheese sauce made with eggplant, we’ve discovered two tricks:
- Roast your eggplant well so it’s soft, not soggy; and
- Don’t skip the starch (cornstarch or arrowroot, it’s up to you).
Using a gluten-free thickening agent helps give this queso the cheesetastic sauciness you want, with none of the dairy or nuts. Whether you serve it on our Gluten-free Nacho Pizza, or scoop it up with gluten-free tortilla chips, this sauce is deliciously dippable, dollop-able, and totally devour-able!
For the vegan queso:
- Pre-heat your oven to 400℉. For the roasted eggplant, prepare the eggplant for roasting one of two ways:
- Peel and slice the eggplant into 1-inch thick slices. Lightly oil both sides of each slice with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes, flipping halfway through the cook time. Or;
- Peel and cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes, toss lightly with olive oil, and spread cubes evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes, tossing/flipping halfway through the cook time.Whatever method you choose, roast eggplant until softened and golden brown on all cut surfaces. To achieve that creamy richness we’re after, the eggplant must be roasted well to remove as much moisture as possible. (Under-roasting can yield surprisingly foamy results!) And remember, less is more with the eggplant. The total roasted eggplant in your sauce should be about 1 cup (don’t be afraid to leave extras on your baking sheet for snacking if you roast too much!)
- In a blender or food processor, purée roasted eggplant and remaining queso ingredients until smooth. Thin as needed for blending with an additional splash of non-dairy milk.
- Heat a small pot over medium-high heat. Pour the blended queso into the pot and warm for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles and starts to thicken.
- Remove pot from the heat, fold in drained canned tomatoes with chilis, and set aside.
For the pizza:
- Reduce the temperature on your oven to 350℉
- Heat a small pan over medium heat. Add vegan taco ground and brown (about 5 minutes).
- Begin layering the gluten-free pizza crust. Start with salsa on the base, then add browned vegan taco ground, red onion, and non-dairy pepper jack style cheese shreds. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños, avocado, and chopped cilantro, then drizzle with queso and add a dollop of non-dairy sour cream. Serve with additional queso and lime wedges for garnish.
- Our nut-free vegan queso can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Perfect for making a day or two ahead or storing leftovers for gluten-free movie night munchies at home.
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