January 29, 2021
One of my favorite things in life is hosting parties, dinners, and gatherings at home. Cooking delicious, indulgent food that everyone loves is a big part of that. This vegan queso is so cheesy that no one ever believes it's vegan! But it is! Even better, it's healthy! The main ingredients for this creamy dip are raw cashews and vegetables—much better than dairy-based traditional queso dips.
Like many other vegan cheese recipes, this one uses a cashew cream base for a creamy texture. But the secret to the cheesy flavor in my recipe is in the butternut squash, carrots, and tomato paste, as well as the blend of seasonings. For even more texture and flavor, I included chopped tomatoes, corn kernels, and a diced jalapeño pepper (but you can use any veggies you'd like for this, or leave them out for a smooth cheesy dip).
Whenever I include jalapeños in a recipe, people inevitably want to know how spicy it is. This queso has what I'd describe as a mild level of spice, although jalapeños may vary in spiciness. I also found that the dip got slightly hotter when I ate the leftovers because the jalapeño juice soaked into the dip. Of course, if you don't like spicy food, just leave out the jalapeños, or use bell peppers instead. To increase the spice level, add some chili powder, ground cayenne pepper, or even hot sauce.
You may need pre-soaked cashews for this queso. If you have a high-powered blender, you can skip the soaking and put the cashews right into the blender. If not, you should soak your cashews in water for 2 hours. You can also boil them for 10 minutes to soften them before blending.
This recipe is pretty simple, but be careful when you're heating the dip. You want to keep the heat on low and stir constantly because the cashews can burn easily. If needed, you can add some water at this stage, if the thickness isn't to your liking.
I serve this vegan dip with tortilla chips, but feel free to eat it with fresh vegetable slices, pitas, potato wedges, or whatever you like to dip in your queso! It's the perfect game-day snack, whether for the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, or just a regular game-day get-together.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Boil butternut squash and carrots until fork-tender, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and drain.
While the vegetables are cooking, blend cashews and water in a blender for 2-4 minutes, until smooth. Then add cooked squash and carrots, along with the tomato paste, and continue blending until smooth and well-combined.
Add nutritional yeast, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and mustard powder and blend until well-combined.
Transfer the dip to a medium saucepan, then stir in tomato, corn kernels, and jalapeño. Heat the dip on low heat and continue stirring until the dip is warm, then remove from heat. (You can also add water to the dip if it gets too thick). Transfer to a serving bowl or spread over top of tortilla chips, and enjoy!
Be sure to stir continuously while heating the dip; if you don't, the cashews may burn.
Soak your cashews in water for 2 hours, or boil for 10 minutes. Soaking your cashews is not necessary if you have a high-powered blender.
Make ahead: You can prepare this recipe a day in advance, just skip heating it up. Mix the veggies in and refrigerate, then heat when you're ready to serve it!
Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in a saucepan on low to medium-low heat, stirring regularly. You may need to add a splash of water if it gets too thick.
Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.
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