Creamy Dairy-Free Queso Dip
Taco night just got a whole lot more fun!
This recipe was a quest to re-make that TERRIBLE-for-you cheese dip by Tostitos. You know the one I'm talking about in the glass jar that's always found in the chip aisle of the grocery store? I grabbed a visual just to be sure we're all on the same page.
I used to go to town on this as a teenager! I loved it and would dip anything I could into it. Fast forward to university and I definitely couldn't get away with polishing off half a jar and not feeling the effects of it. That, coupled with a pretty strong aversion to dairy, I hadn't thought about this sauce in years.
This year, once the Superbowl rolled around, my dairy-loving fiance mentioned how great it would be to have a dippable cheese. (He's hella-obsessed with any kind of queso). I went searching around the internet and found a DELICIOUS recipe from a fellow blogger. The only problem - it took forever (and MANY ingredients) for everything to come together. For a dip?! No Bueno. I knew I could recreate with fewer ingredients and a quicker timeline!
This isn't exactly like the Tostitos cheese ... but you know what it reminds me of? That liquid "cheese" you can get at the movie theatre and/or sporting events! The only difference is this really does have healthy properties attached to it!
Nutritional Yeast: this is an ingredient that has been around for awhile but only really used by vegans. It is made from a single-celled organism which is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, and dried with heat to kill or “deactivate” it. It IS NOT the same thing as baking yeast, so be sure not to confuse the two. The beauty of this ingredient is the vitamin B12 that is packed into it! This is typically a vitamin that you can only get from "food with faces" (animal sources) but this allows vegetarians and vegans to access more of that vitamin without a supplement. Be sure to read the labels - not all nutritional yeasts are created the same.
Cashews: cashews are lower in fats than most other nuts! They're a great source of copper, manganese, phosphorous & magnesium. I love using them as a milk alternative because they don't need to be soaked all that long and they typically don't need to be strained!
Sriracha: Let's talk about sriracha. It's not a clean hot sauce; the second ingredient in most is sugar and there are typically crappy oils (canola) in them. I know there are cleaner versions that do exist (check out your local Whole Foods), so aim to include an organic one when you use a lot of it. I personally don't find the sriracha affects me, and that is ENTIRELY what I base my food freedom off of. If I'm going to feel awful after consuming a food, I'll typically aim to find an alternative. If that's you, aim to make this with something like Frank's Red Hot or Chula - both clean hot-sauce alternatives.
Anyway, enough yammering ... let's get to the good stuff!
Creamy Dairy-Free Queso Dip
Prep Time: 10 mins + soaking cashews
Cook time: N/A
Total: 10 mins
1 1/2 cups Cashews (soaked)
1 1/2 cups water + 1/2 cup water (separated)
1 tbsp Avocado Oil (or other like oil)
1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
1/4 cup Sriracha (or hot sauce of choice)
1/4 tsp Turmeric
Sea Salt to taste
Soak cashews in boiling water for 10 minutes. If you have forethought, you can soak cashews anywhere from 2-8 hours. Using boiling water speeds this up.
Add cashews and 1 1/2 cups of water to your blender. Blend until smooth. This will vary on blender types, but approximately 2 minutes.
Add in nutritional yeast, sriracha*, turmeric, sea salt and blend on high. You'll notice the consistency will get thicker.
As it continues to blend, pour in the avocado oil. If the consistency is not liquidy enough, add the remaining 1/2 cup water using 1 tbsp at a time. This will allow you to monitor the consistency without making it too liquidy.
Once it's thoroughly blended, add to a serving dish and top with jalapenos, cilantro, avocado oil, or green onions. Get creative! Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, chopped veggies like, cucumbers and sweet peppers, or drizzle on top of your tacos! The possibilities are endless.
I like it served best hot, so if you blend it a little longer, it will heat up. I absolutely serve this with everything! Overtop of my eggs in the morning, toss roasted cauliflower in it as a rocking side dish, use this as a taco salad dressing, eat it with a spoon (wait, what??). Seriously - everything.
* If you're heat sensitive or making this for kids, consider adding only 2 tbsp at a time until desired heat levels have been reached.