This Grain-Free Gouda Queso with Fresh Pico de Gallo is the ultimate crowd pleaser to add to your game day spread. It’s rich, creamy, delicious, seasoned to perfection and packed with an incredible amount of flavour. Top it with a fresh pico de gallo and serve with your favourite grain-free or regular tortilla chips, or even some fresh veggies.
What You Need For This Gouda Queso
- Some Good Gouda: Ditch the artificial, fluorescent stuff. You deserve better. The real flavour of this queso comes from using Beemster Classic Gouda Aged 18 months. It has an incredible, nutty flavour and buttery texture that is perfect for dips like this. This award-winning, premium Dutch cheese is very high-quality, has no artificial colourings, and is made with milk from grass-fed cows raised on family-owned farms. Look for it at a Costco near you.
- Tomatoes: I like to use firm, Roma tomatoes because the texture holds up better in the queso. They also have less seeds and water content than other varieties so it won’t dilute the queso or pico de gallo.
- Onions: You can use red or white onions here. Keep in mind that it will be used to make both the fresh pico de gallo and the gouda queso so try to use one that isn’t too bitter.
- Garlic: As always, measure this ingredient with your heart and use as much or as little as you like.
- Jalapeño: This mild pepper adds a nice flavour without an overpowering spice. To keep it mild, you can remove the seeds. For more spice, leave the seeds in. If you want to make it even more mild, you can substitute with a poblano pepper.
- Fresh Lime Juice: Skip the stuff in the squeeze bottle and squeeze some fresh lime juice into your pico de gallo. The flavour is a million times better.
- Green Onions: The white parts of the green onion will get sautéed to mellow the flavour. The green parts will be added to the gouda queso at the end to preserve their colour and texture.
- Fresh Cilantro: If you don’t like cilantro, you can omit it, but I personally can’t imagine this recipe without it.
- Grass-Fed Butter: The butter is used to flavour the queso and also to make the roux that will help thicken it. This recipe is not dairy-free so if you’re making it, you might as well grab some of the good, grass-fed stuff.
- Grass-Fed Milk: As with the butter, keep the quality of ingredients high and use some good, grass-fed milk, preferably full fat (3.25%).
- Seasonings: A combination of chile powder, onion powder, ground cumin and ground coriander bring help add some dimension to the flavour of the queso. If you want some smokiness. and even more colour, try adding a 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
- Cassava Flour: This alternative flour is the perfect grain-free and gluten-free substitute to make a roux and thicken the queso. No one will ever know the difference! You can buy cassava flour on Amazon or find it in local grocery stores. Bob’s Red Mill and Otto’s both make good quality ones at a good value. Thrive Market also makes a great private-label one if you have a membership.
Why Use Gouda?
You can of course use other varieties of cheese to make queso, but I personally find that the flavour and quality of Beemster aged gouda is hard to beat. Gouda is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands and is named after the city of Gouda. It’s made from cow’s milk and is known for its rich, buttery flavor and smooth, creamy texture. The cheese is typically aged for at least six months and can be stored for several years. Gouda comes in different varieties, including young gouda, aged gouda, and smoked gouda, each with its own distinct flavour profile.
Can You Make The Queso Ahead of Time?
You can make this queso ahead of time! The best way to do this is to keep it covered and warm on a very low heat on the stove. That way the queso doesn’t lump or harden. If the queso does end up drying out or hardening, you can set it over a low heat and stir in a small amount of milk to reconstitute it.
Keep It Grain Free with the Tortilla Chips
To keep this recipe entirely grain-free and gluten-free, try to get your hands on some Siete tortilla chips. They taste great and are the perfect dipping vessel for the queso.
For an even healthier option, slice up some fresh veggies, like cucumber, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli or endive and use those to dip.
This recipe was developed in partnership with Beemster Cheese. All thoughts and opinions are the author’s alone.
Grain-Free Gouda Queso with Fresh Pico de Gallo
- 500 g 17oz Beemster Classic Gouda Aged 18 months
- 2 Roma tomatoes diced, divided in half
- 1 medium white onion diced, divided in half
- 1 jalapeño seeded and finely chopped, divided in half
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro divided in half
- Juice of 1 lime
- Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
- 3 green onions thinly sliced, green and white parts divided
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
- 1.5 tablespoons cassava flour
- 1.5 cups grass-fed whole milk
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- Slice off the outer, firm rind from the cheese and, using the coarse side of a box grater, grate the Beemster Classic Gouda. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine half of the tomatoes, half of the onion, half of the jalapeño, half of the cilantro, and lime juice. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Preheat a 3qt sauce pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the remaining onion, remaining jalapeño, and white parts of the green onion. Season with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and translucent but do not have any colour on them, around 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 60 seconds. Add the butter and heat until melted. Add the cassava flour and cook, stirring, until it becomes slightly golden in colour, around 4 minutes.
- While continuously stirring, slowly pour in the milk. Add the chili powder, onion powder, cumin and coriander. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring, until the milk has slightly thickened, around 4 minutes. Add the grated Beemster Classic Gouda one handful at a time, stirring until melted, until it is all incorporated. Add the remaining tomato, cilantro and green parts of the green onion and stir to combine. Taste the queso for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as desired.
- Transfer the queso into a large ramekin or dipping bowl and serve with grain-free or gluten-free tortilla chips of choice. Serve immediately.