I don’t know about you, but during my High School years, my friends and I visited Chili’s *at least* once a week. We’d feast on their skillet queso, cajun chicken pasta and more. I have to admit, I stopped eating there years ago. In fact, the last time I ate there was one a family road trip. We stopped and I habitually ordered the queso for the table and my stomach hurt sooooo badly afterwards. I sure wish I still had the gut of steel I had in my high-school years but it’s just not the way my body functions these days. Don’t you just love getting old?
Considering it was one of those nostalgic dishes I adored growing up, I thought it would be fun to re-create it in my own kitchen with a healthy twist: Dairy-Free Chili’s Queso. I love making my own enchilada sauce and the last time I was making it, I had a moment of nostalgia and thought.. wow, this kinda smells like Chili’s queso!? A combination of a quick, paleo compliant enchilada sauce, some browned beef, and some Siete Foods Cashew Queso and voila! The most amazing Dairy-Free copycat recipe of the Chili’s skillet queso ever! You can see if any of your local grocery stores carry the cashew queso by clicking here, or you can order online!
I honestly still cannot believe how fabulous this Copycat Dairy-Free Chili’s Queso turned out and I cannot wait for y’all to give it a try!
If your stomach can handle dairy, try my Queso Fundido with Chorizo.
Dairy-Free Chili's Queso
- 1 tsp + 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional, or more to taste (i do a bit more for a spicer version)
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp arrowroot flour
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1 [10.8 ounce] jar of Siete Foods Cashew Queso (the Mild Nacho Flavor)
- pico de gallo, for serving (optional)
- chips, for serving (I use Siete Foods Grain-Free Tortilla Chips)
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp. oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, ground beef, salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a back of a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink and is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp avocado. Add the cayenne, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and smoked paprika and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring, until the spices are very fragrant and toasted, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the arrowroot flour and whisk until well combined and there are no longer any clumps. Once combined, add the tomato paste and using a rubber spatula or spoon, stir until well combined. It will likely be a big glob at this point-- but that's how it is supposed to be.
- While whisking, slowly pour in the beef broth until well incorporated. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let cook, simmering uncovered, until the sauce begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the meat to the sauce and stir to combine, then add the cashew queso. Stir to combine. Let cook, stirring, until the cashew queso is heated through. Taste and add more salt or cayenne pepper, if desired.
- Serve immediately topped with pico de gallo (not necessary) and with chips for dipping! Enjoy!