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January 14, 2010

Alicia's Vegan Queso Dip

You may have noticed that quite a few of the recipes around here lately have been vegan. It is no coincidence, I have been focusing a lot on dairy-free cooking, and so far I have really enjoyed it. I have been able to use numerous great substitutes for milk, eggs, and butter in my non-dairy adventures. Cheese was the last of my dairy friends left to be substituted. Prior to making this queso dip, I had zero experience with vegan cheese, homemade or otherwise. I was very skeptical about cheese substitutes (how could they possibly be good??), but I was excited to try this recipe because it came from a very trusty source. Alicia of Vegan Epicurean is an amazing resource of healthy vegan recipes, and as I suspected, her queso dip turned me from my vegan-cheese-skeptic ways.

I had a great excuse to make this other than just my selfish cheesy desires. My roommate's mom stayed with us over New Years, and she is lactose intolerant. I thought it would be a really special treat to make this for her to try. I whipped up a batch of this dip, plus some guac, refried beans, and sauteed veggies for a deluxe nacho plate. And a special treat, it was! We couldn't stop gushing about it the entire dinner.

Alicia's Vegan Queso Dip

Makes approximately 7 ½ – ½ cup servings
½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour and drained
½ cup oatmeal, ground into flour
1 ½ cups water
2 teaspoon onion flakes, dried
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 clove garlic, peeled
14 ounces diced tomatoes (or substitute an equal amount of salsa if you like heat)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon hot crushed peppers (wet hots, finely minced pickled peppers), or to taste
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 dash cayenne, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the cashews, oatmeal, water, onion flakes, turmeric, and garlic in your blender. Puree until the mixture is smooth. (Note: it will be pretty thin at this point, but trust it, it will thicken up!) Pour the mixture into a heavy bottom saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring often to keep it from sticking. Add the canned diced tomatoes with their liquid (or salsa if using), paprika hot crushed peppers, chili powder and cayenne and stir to combine. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper, as you desire. Cook the mixture (continuing to stir) until it is hot and the texture you want. You can add more liquid if it gets too thick.



Bonus, it is only 65 calories per 1/2 cup serving! I checked out those queso dip jars at the store and it would cost you 320 calories to eat 1/2 cup of that stuff. Seeing that we saved ourselves all of those calories, we didn't feel too terrible eating one of these dairy-free Black Bottom Blondies from My Sweet Vegan.

27 comments:

  1. This looks really good. I may try this. Do you use raw cashews? How long do you soak them?

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  2. This looks delicious - I find regular cheesy dips too rich but quite like the vegan ones - this looks like a good one and the plate looks so impressive - as do your brownies

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  3. This looks delicious! I use Follow Your Heart vegan cheese on my sandwiches and wraps sometimes, but I've never tried to make my own vegan queso! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. YUM! I never make nachos anymore because they seem kind of blah with no cheese. But I will try this! This weekend! Hooray for snacks.

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  5. That dip and those blondies = Heaven!!

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  6. Isn't that dip fabulous??!! I tried it a few weeks ago, hubby even took it to work (office of all men) and they licked the bowl clean! You know it's good stuff then!

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  7. Looks great! I came across cashew "cheese" a year ago and was suprised how much I liked it. Such a great vegan substitute without getting into the processed cheeses.

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  8. This looks sensational, Sarah! I love the vegan factor and that it's no-guilt too--LOL! Going vegan has been harder me, as even just getting/finding meat-free alternatives in supermarkets where I'm living in Norway has been a huge challenge. There are no vegan cheeses, spreads, etc. Making them at home is fun, but not always able to get ingredients. At least I can do dairy. But vegan is the goal, in time. Those blondies--just looking at the photo is a treat!...mmm... Happy Weekend! :o)

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  9. Thanks so much for the review and the nice compliment. I am so glad you liked it.

    Those blondies also look amazing!

    Alicia

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  10. I have to say I'm intrigued! I am far from vegan with all the baking I do, but I have never loved cheese and the idea of eating all that fat just grosses me out. I'm going to have to give this a try.

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  11. Mmm...I love, love, love vegan cheese dip! I'm so proud of you for experimenting with un-cheese!

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  12. I too am a vegan-cheese-skeptic, but I may just have to try this.

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  13. That queso looks amazing. I happen to have some raw cashews in my cupboard that are just begging to be eaten up!

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  14. Wow, look at you go! Queso = amazing. So jealous right now, but I guess I will just have to eat the sandwich I packed anyway.

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  15. i have been noticing a lot of vegan eatz on your blog lately - i must say, i love it the most! yay! that's some serious looking queso, and one dan and i will fo 'sho be trying! i can't believe i don't have My Sweet Vegan - totally going to put that on my amazon wishlist 'cause those black bottom blondies are calling my name!

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  16. The queso looks awesome! I keep meaning to try a vegan queso recipe, but I always forget to actually do it. What did you think of the blondies? I was actually a little disappointed with that recipe. Mine came out kind of gummy :( Maybe I did something wrong when I made them.

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  17. Thanks for your comments all!

    haymarket - I checked with Alicia and she said soak the cashews at least 30 minutes, unless you have a Vitamix, in which case it isn't necessary. Soaking will help the cashews to break down into this smooth creamy goodness!

    Kiersten - Actually my blondies were an unexpected texture too, much different than any blondie or brownie I've ever had, but I still really liked them. I could see if I had baked them a little bit less that they might have passed into the category of gummy, I'm thinking if you bake them a little bit longer that will reduce this effect.

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  18. Alicia is awesome! That dip does look delish. Glad everyone enjoyed it. :)

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  19. That dip and those blondies look and sound absolutely fantastic! Both Alicia and Hannah are so amazing!!!

    Way to go, Sarah!

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  20. That looks amazing:)
    I don't like to eat too much, if any, cheese myself and so I might have to try this recipe out:)

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  21. I'm proud of you for taking a first step into vegan cheesiness! Well, that came out all wrong... :) Anyway, what I'd like to say is I love being vegan and I hope that you continue to so enjoy your venture into vegan yumminess! :)

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  22. Yummy! It looks like the blondie/brownies came out perfectly, I sure hope you enjoyed them. :)

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  23. That vegan queso recipe couldn't have come at a better time! I'm having a little get together this friday and I'm looking for veg recipes. Thanks!

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  24. Damn, that looks delicious! And those blondies... oh my!

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  25. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I am just getting started in the Vegan World due to some health issues. I just happen to have all of those ingredients on hand and have to try it.

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