Sarah Zubiate will tell you that vegans are the biggest following for her queso. If it’s any indication, they’re wild about it in Malibu, California. Zubiate’s dips have shared the beach with celebrities. Cindy Crawford showed up to a kettlebell class one day where Zubiate’s friend had brought the dips for sampling.
Raised in El Paso, Zubiate wanted to honor her Mexican-America heritage and be sensitive to allergies with a line of vegan salsas and cremas unfettered by the soaked and puréed cashew nuts that sometimes give body to faux cheese.
Her queso, instead, is made savory with vegetables—organic sweet peppers and onions cooked in cold-pressed safflower oil and then boosted with garlic and cayenne and given an extra nutty depth from nutritional yeast. The result is creamy and wonderful.
Zubiate launched in a small kitchen in Garland and sold at farmers markets, but she was quickly picked up by Central Market and Royal Blue Grocery, and now Zubiate’s Cocina has a production space in East Dallas, where they make the products in small batches and Zubiate can walk the floor and taste the ingredients. Her medium salsa is a version of the one her mother made. Both salsas currently in the line use fresh, high-end ingredients. They’re perfect for dunking chips or marinating pulled jackfruit or pork shoulder (depending on the crowd). As for the queso? I’d recommend it to all my friends—vegan and non-vegan alike. Then again, my mother lives not far from Malibu.
Available at Central Market, Royal Blue Grocery, eatzubi.com, or amazon.com.