Vegan Rotel Dip (Secretly Healthy Recipe) - Plant Based Jess (2024)


This vegan Rotel dip is the ultimate creamy and cheesy dip to serve on game night. It pairs a homemade vegan queso sauce (easy and healthy) with spiced savory tofu crumbles and tangy Rotel tomatoes. Perfect as a warm dip with tortilla chips, but also amazing in tacos, nachos, quesadillas, burritos and much more. Plus, no one will know it's healthy!

Vegan Rotel Dip (Secretly Healthy Recipe) - Plant Based Jess (1)

I am not exaggerating when I say this homemade vegan rotel dip recipe is the best. It is absolutely mind-blowing!

Imagine this: an ultra-rich and creamy vegan cheese sauce combined with crumbly and chewy vegan ground meat and flavored with tomatoes, green chili and spices.Such an amazing comforting and satisfying appetizer or snack.

It is called a rotel dip because it uses a can ofRo-tel tomatoes, which are essentially regular canned tomatoes mixed in with some green chilies. And I'll share easy alternatives if you cannot find the classic Ro-tel tomatoes.

This dip not only has the most unbelievable texture but also is loaded with huge Mexican-inspired flavors.

Plus, you won't believe how healthy this dip is. There is no vegan Velveeta cheese, no vegan cheddar, no vegan cream cheese, no processed vegan sausages included. Just real ingredients, whole foods, real flavors. All dairy-free and plant-based.

Thevegan queso cheese sauceyou will need to make first for this dip has been one of my most popular recipes on the blog for years. It is made with cashews and potatoes and flavored with only a few ingredients. So easy to make, but packs an impressive amount of flavors.

Then, to make a classic vegetarian rotel dip, the traditional ground beef is replaced by chewy crumbles made out of pan-fried tofu filled with onion and spices.

Cheese sauce + spiced tofu + tomatoes + chilies = a seriously tasty combo you won't be able to stop eating. Perfect as a warm dip with tortilla chips, but also amazing in tacos, burritos, over nachos or even to make mac and cheese.

This is the kind of meaty plant-based dip you have to make for game day, Super Bowl night or movie night. Bring it at your next tailgating or potluck party, everyone will rave about it, even the meat-eaters. This is definitely the perfect recipe to impress your non-vegan friends!

Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️

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Why you will love this recipe

  • Incredibly velvety consistency with a nice chewy bite
  • Perfect balance in flavor with just the right level of spice, a nice cheesy flavor and a perfect tang from the tomatoes and green chilies
  • Much healthier recipe compared to other Rotel dips without any compromise on taste and texture
  • Versatile way to serve it
  • Can be made not spicy at all so the whole family can enjoy it
  • Quicker stovetop recipe
  • Perfect appetizer for parties and makes for a great finger food for game day
  • Vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and naturally gluten-free

Ingredients you will need

  • Vegan cheese dip: you will find the recipe on the blog. To make this queso dip, you will need some potatoes, cashews, nutritional yeast and lemon juice. The recipe also calls for some red pepper and canned chilies, but you can skip those 2 ingredients here.
  • Canned Ro-Tel tomatoes: the star of this recipe! I was able to easily order Ro-tel tomatoes online, but you can also find them in most grocery stores. If you cannot find Ro-tel tomatoes, then simply swap for a can of fire-roasted tomatoes (petite diced-10 oz) + a small can of green chilies (mild or spicy-4 oz).
  • Onion: adds flavor and texture to the meat crumble. Look for a small yellow onion, sweet onion or red onion and try to finely dice it for the best result.
  • Tofu: look for an extra firm tofu to give the meat crumble the best chewy texture.
  • Spices: I used a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and chili powder. You can also use a pre-mix taco seasoning!
  • Nutritional yeast: add more cheesy flavor and a deeper umami taste to the vegan tofu meat crumbles.
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How to make an easy vegan rotel dip

There are two main steps to make this vegan dip recipe: prepare the queso sauce and make the tofu meat crumble. You can make the queso sauce ahead of time, which can help you save some time the day you want to serve the dip.

Make the vegan queso cheese sauce

You can find thequeso sauce recipe here. To make it, you will have to cook some potatoes and cashews, then blend them with a few simple ingredients. The recipe calls for some red bell peppers and canned green chilis, but no need to include them in this case. It is very easy to make!

Cook the tofu meat

Warm up a large pan with a little oil (I like using oil spray) and then, cook the onions with a little salt on medium-high heat stirring often until softened and browned, about 5-6 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the bloc of tofu and wrap in a few layers of paper towels or a clean hand towel. Remove as much moisture as you can and once the onions are done cooking, then crumble the bloc of tofu in small pieces right over the pan.

Add the nutritional yeast and other spices (smoked paprika, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder), then stir to combine.

Keep cooking on medium-high heat stirring once in a while until the tofu is pretty browned and toasted, it should look like vegan ground beef. This can take up to 18 minutes. You can also use a wooden spoon to break the tofu into small pieces as you go. The chewier, the better!

Assemble and serve

Once the tofu looks done, then pour the whole batch of vegan queso sauce and also the can of Rotel tomatoes (with the juices) in the pan. Stir to combine and keep cooking on low heat to warm up the dip (about 5-6 minutes). If it gets too thick, then add a little water.

Taste and adjust salt to your liking, then pour into a serving bowl. Serve warm with tortilla chips and garnish with fresh tomatoes, sliced jalapeño and a dust of chili powder if you want.

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Helpful tips

  • If your dip is too thick, which can happen in the pan, then simply add a little water and stir. You can also add more water or broth if looking for a pourable cheese for tacos or nachos.
  • If your dip is too thin, then let it simmer in the pan on medium heat stirring often to let the extra moisture evaporate. It should thicken after a few minutes.
  • The texture is better if you break the tofu into small crumbs. It is more scoopable that way and simply gives a more pleasant uniform consistency to the dip.
  • Taste the dip and adjust the spice level to your taste. You can add more chili powder for a more pronounced flavor or add some cayenne pepper for more heat.
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Serving suggestions

My favorite way to serve this dairy-free rotel dip is as a warm dip with tortilla chips. It also goes well with crusty bread for a heartier appetizer or even raw fresh veggies for a nice boost in nutrients, such as cucumber and carrot sticks.

Also, you can garnish the dip with some diced fresh tomatoes and sliced jalapeño for a nicer finish. OR, feel free to keep some of the tofu crumbles aside and sprinkle them over the dip when serving.

Here are a few other ways to serve this recipe, which can be a great way to use the leftovers:

  • Quesadillas: the cheesy dip will help the tortillas stick well together. Add some black beans for a delicious complete and high-protein meal.
  • Tacos or taquitos: pairs well with romaine, beans, fresh cilantro slaw and diced raw onion.
  • Loaded fries: pour some of the gooey cheese over a large pile of French fries, what a treat! In this case, you can make the cheese dip a little thinner in texture by adding more water or some broth to the pan. This way, it will be easier to pour over the French fries.
  • Nachos: check out thisvegan loaded nachos recipeon the blog and use this recipe as a vegan nacho cheese!
  • Burritos: stuff some of the dip when making a bean burrito for a gooey, creamy and cheesy sandwich.
  • Mac and cheese: the cheese sauce is so delicious and packed with protein, simply pour over cooked noodles for a Mexican-flavored vegan mac and cheese!

Variations to the recipe

You can easily modify this recipe to your taste, it is quite versatile. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Spicy: you can make this dip spicy if you would like. You can cook a diced jalapeño with the onion or simply add a dash or two of cayenne pepper, your favorite hot sauce or spicy dried chipotle pepper to the cheese sauce. Or, try adding 1-2 chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a huge boost in smoky and spicy flavor.
  • Garlicky: add a few crushed cloves of garlic to the cooking onions for a garlicky flavor.
  • Taco seasoning: you can simply add some taco seasoning to the tofu crumbles for a delicious taco flavor.
  • Turmeric: adding a tiny pinch of turmeric powder will turn this dip to a bright yellow color without adding too much of a turmeric flavor.
  • Skip the tofu: if you wanted a quicker shortcut, then you could pan roast some vegan sausage crumbles in the pan instead of the onion-spices-tofu.
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Storage tips

Keep the leftover dip in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To serve the leftovers, reheat using the microwave or on the stove until heated through and add a splash of water as needed if it gets too thick to recreate the super creamy texture. If using the microwave, then make sure to warm up for 30 seconds at a time only, then stir and repeat until warm through.

You can also freeze rotel dip in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

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Is Rotel gluten-free?

Yes! Canned Rotel tomatoes are naturally gluten-free. The remaining of the dip ingredients also are completely GF!

Can I make it ahead of time?

Yes you can, it stores fairly well. This can be handy if you want to serve it for a crowd at a party or family gathering. Simply reheat in a small pot or microwave with a splash of water if needed to loosen up the consistency (it can thicken over time in the fridge).

Can I make it without a high-speed blender?

The ingredients for the basic vegan queso sauce need to be blended. You will reach a smoother texture if using a high-powered blender, but you can still make it with a regular blender. In that case, make sure to soak the cashews overnight or simply boil them with the potatoes, so they are soft enough to blend to a super smooth texture.

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Related recipes

  • High protein guacamole
  • Roasted mango habanero salsa
  • Pineapple pico de gallo
  • Vegan tofu sour cream
  • Vegan avocado lime cream
  • Vegan chipotle sauce
  • Cucumber pico de Gallo
  • Spicy jalapeño peach salsa

I hope you like this vegan Rotel dip recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!

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Vegan Rotel Dip (Secretly Healthy Recipe) - Plant Based Jess (12)

Vegan Rotel Dip (Secretly Healthier Recipe)

This vegan Rotel dip is the ultimate creamy and cheesy dip to serve on game night. It pairs a homemade vegan queso sauce (easy and healthy) with spiced savory tofu crumbles and tangy Rotel tomatoes. Perfect as a warm dip with tortilla chips, but also amazing in tacos, nachos, quesadillas, burritos and much more. Plus, no one will know it's healthy!


Prep Time15 minutes mins

Cook Time15 minutes mins

Total Time30 minutes mins

Servings 4

Author Jessica Laroche


For the tofu meat crumble

  • 1 yellow onion - finely diced
  • 1 bloc extra firm tofu - 14 or 16 oz
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 heaping tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste

For the dip

  • 1 batch vegan white queso - find the cheese sauce recipe here (do not add the red bell pepper and canned chiles)
  • 10 oz canned Ro-Tel tomatoes - you can find them in most grocery stores or you can buy Ro-tel tomatoes online, choose mild or spicy


  • Start by making the vegan white queso sauce recipe. You do not need to add the red bell pepper and canned chiles. Set aside or make ahead.

  • Warm up a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat with a little oil. Then, add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Once the onions have softened, then add the rest of the meat crumble ingredients (tofu, nutritional yeast and spices) to the pan. Stir to combine and let it cook for 15-18 minutes stirring once in a while. The meat crumbles are ready when chewy, fragrant and golden brown. The chewier, the better!

  • Once the tofu is done, then pour the can of Ro-Tel tomatoes into the pan (with the juices) and the whole batch of vegan white queso. Stir to combine and let it cook for about 3-5 minutes on low-medium heat or until heated through. You can add a little water if it gets too thick.

  • To serve, pour the warm dip in a large bowl and garnish with fresh tomatoes and sliced jalapeño if desired. Serve with tortilla chips, enjoy!


Vegan Rotel Dip (Secretly Healthy Recipe) - Plant Based Jess (13)


  • Storage tips: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, you can add a splash of water or broth and use the microwave or the stove. If using the microwave, then warm up only 30 seconds at a time and stir often.
  • You can also use this dip in tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas and more.
  • Customize your dip as you wish, such as adding more spices (you can use taco seasoning), making it spicy with cayenne pepper (or cooking a diced jalapeño with the onion) and adding a pinch of turmeric for a boost in color. Check out the blog post for more ideas!


Vegan Rotel Dip (Secretly Healthy Recipe) - Plant Based Jess (2024)


Can you make Rotel dip without Velveeta cheese? ›

Skip the Velveeta and make this fan-favorite gameday snack with shredded cheese, chili powder, milk, and Rotel tomatoes. For all worry I devote to the college football season, I barely blink when there's a basketball game on.

Is Rotel dairy free? ›

This product has 1 ingredient that may have milk.

What is a healthy alternative to Velveeta cheese? ›

Healthy Substitute for Velveeta Cheese

If you want to find a healthy replacement for Velveeta cheese, try using pureed butternut squash or sweet potato. Both of these substitutes are naturally sweet and provide a creamy texture without the added fat and calories.

What is a healthy substitute for Velveeta cheese? ›

Colby Cheese: Colby cheese, with its creamy and slightly sweet flavor, can also be an excellent alternative to Velveeta. It has a smooth and melty texture that can work well in various recipes.

What is a non dairy substitute for Velveeta cheese? ›

The Original tastes nearly spot on for Velveeta, but the ingredients are much more appealing. As promised, Wayfare Dairy Free Cheese is tasty as a cold, thick, creamy dip. It also melts with ease in the microwave for pouring on nachos or when broiled in the oven.

Is Velveeta vegan? ›

A: Velveeta is a processed cheese which is not vegan. It's made with milk and whey, both come from cows. A great alternative is this vegan nacho cheese.

What is a food substitute for Rotel? ›

What Is A Good Substitute For Rotel Tomatoes?
  • Produce. • 2 tbsp Cilantro, fresh. • 1 4 oz. can Green chilies. • 4 Tomatoes, ripe.
  • Condiments. • 1 tbsp Lime juice, fresh.
  • Baking & Spices. • 1 Black pepper. • 1/2 tsp Salt.

What is a good substitute for Rotel dip? ›

Here are some of the best Rotel substitutes:
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes. These are a straightforward substitute. ...
  • Chunky Salsa. With its tomato base and chunks of peppers, chunky salsa can make a good Rotel substitute, especially in dips and Tex-Mex recipes. ...
  • Canned Green Chiles.
Aug 5, 2023

What makes Velveeta different from other cheese? ›

Velveeta may look like cheese, smell like cheese, and even taste like cheese, but it is technically classified as a “pasteurized process cheese product.” Though Velveeta was originally made from real cheese (sure it was runoff, but still), it is now mainly whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, milk, fat, ...

What is rotel dip made of? ›

Rotel is synonymous with dip, but what is Rotel dip made of? Rotel is the brand name of a classic canned tomato made with green chillies, and it serves as one of the key ingredients in Rotel Dip, along with cheese and ground beef.


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