macadamia-nut-queso-fresco topped with salsa

Macadamia Nut Queso Fresco

What can I say about vegan cheese? I don’t like it. I’m sorry, but I just don’t. Maybe it’s because I was a passionate cheese lover before going vegan. Oh did I love cheese! The stinkier the better. The vegan versions of cheese just don’t live up to my expectations, so I prefer to do without it. However, I decided to give it a try once more with this macadamia nut queso fresco, because you can’t drink a good glass of wine without cheese.

Macadamia Nut Queso Fresco

The Recipe: Macadamia Nut Queso Fresco

This cheese is perfect for a fruit and jam cheese plate, but also topped with a chipotle-pineapple salsa and some chips. The texture is light and easily spreadable. It has a touch of sweetness, but is savory in all the right ways.

Macadamia Nut Queso Fresco

Macadamia Nut Queso Fresco

The best part of it is that it is so easy to make. First you soak the macadamia nuts in water overnight. The following day you grind them in the food processor with garlic, oil, salt, and a bit of lime juice. This makes a sort of paste with the consistency of ricotta cheese. You wrap this paste in cheese cloth, squeeze out the excess liquid and leave in the fridge overnight. That’s it, your cheese is ready to eat.

Macadamia Nut Queso Fresco


Macadamia Nut Queso Fresco

Macadamia Nut Queso Fresco

Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 d
Total Time1 d 25 mins
Servings: 3 servings
Author: Dora Stone


Queso Fresco

  • 1 cup Macadamia nuts, raw
  • 1 clove Garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp. Lime juice, fresh
  • 1 tbsp. Olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 piece cheesecloth

Chipotle Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 Tomato, large
  • 1/4 Onion, white
  • 1 clove Garlic, unpeeled
  • ¼ cup Chopped pineapple
  • 1 Chile chipotle adobo (1 pepper)
  • 1 tbsp. Cilantro, chopped


  • For the queso fresco: soak the macadamias in water at room temperature overnight. The following day, drain the nuts and place in a food processor with the garlic, lime juice, oil, water, and salt.
  • Process 1-2 minutes or until the nuts turn into a paste that resembles ricotta cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Wet a large piece of cheesecloth, approximately 12” X 12”. Place the paste in the center and a form it into a ball by gathering the edges of the cheesecloth around the cheese.
  • Twist the top edges of the cheesecloth to tighten, give shape, and get rid of excess water in the cheese. Place the cheese bundle on a plate and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
  • The next day unwrap your cheese and serve.
  • To make the salsa: boil water in a small saucepot. Drop tomato in and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the tomato begins to soften.
  • While the tomato is simmering, set a large sauté pan to medium-high heat. Place the onion and garlic in the pan and let the high heat char them for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan, peel the garlic, and place them both in the blender.
  • Remove the tomato from the water and add to the blender. Add the chipotle, cilantro, and pineapple to the blender and process until you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.


If you cannot easily find raw macadamia nuts, you can substitute with blanched almonds.
Tried this recipe?Mention @dorastable or tag #mexicangonevegan!



10 replies
  1. aaliyanna
    aaliyanna says:

    recently went vegan and it’s been a bit tough at times. I miss my queso fresco mexicano and ditto on the vegan cheese. guacala! anyway, before I get too excited (really, too late!), does this queso fresco taste similar to queso mexicano? like, where I can have a nice big bowl of frijoles con queso?

    • dorastable
      dorastable says:

      Hi Aaliyanna,

      I know what you mean, it is difficult at times, especially around the holidays when you want to share a meal with your family and they are SO not vegan. Hang in there! This is the only version of vegan cheese that I enjoy so far. I wouldn’t say it is exactly like queso fresco, but it is a good substitute. Before going vegan I was a huge cheese fan, so that’s why I think I’m not on board with the vegan cheese, but this macadamia nut cheese is very good. Even my husband like it!

    • The Detonator
      The Detonator says:

      One of the tricks of going vegan is to treat foods as individual. If you taste something, I find it’s less useful to ask, “Does this taste like dairy ___?” Instead, I find it helpful to ask, “Does this taste good?” Veganism really adds so many new opportunities to experience different flavors. It’s hard, but try not to get hung up on looking for direct substitutions.

  2. Lili
    Lili says:

    What happens if I soak macadamia nuts that have been roasted and salted, (in fact imported from Hawaii)? Can I use those in place of raw macadamia nuts? You are blessed being in Hawaii and being able to get those nice fancy nuts. Here in California they’re pretty expensive and normally you only find them roasted and salted.

    • dorastable
      dorastable says:

      Hi Lili, I used to live in CA and I would get the raw macadamia at whole foods in the bulk section. You can also use almonds in place of macadamia nuts. I don’t see why soaking the roasted and salted macadamias wouldn’t work. It is going to change the flavor of the finished product but I think it will still be good.

  3. Cassie
    Cassie says:

    I just discovered your blog and I am obsessed! Will be trying this out soon as I do miss queso fresco on my tacos.

  4. Cristina
    Cristina says:

    Hello, Dora!
    I have been vegan for 7 years, and I love it. I don’t miss any foods because I love all of my whole food “replacements.” It took a while, though, to achieve recipes that I love. I totally agree with what “The Detonator” wrote, above. That was really well-put. I also don’t like vegan cheese, like you, so instead of using vegan cheese, I use a recipe called sunflower sour cream from the Country Life cook book. It’s
    1 cup sunflower seeds
    1/3 c lemon juice
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1 2/3 c water
    I actually modify the original recipe by adding 1 clove of garlic and 1/3 of an onion. I use this anywhere one might use cheese or salad/cooked vegetable dressing or atop whole grains or beans or potatoes or loaves or on sandwiches…it even is good on macaroni and blends well with tomato sauce! Maybe you know the recipe already, but I thought I’d share :).


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