Vegan Queso Dip

As I’ve admitted several times in this blog — I love cheese!  I’m always on the hunt for vegan versions of my favorites.  Queso dip was at the top of the list but I’ve been searching all this time for one that was satisfying and I finally found it!

The dip started with a recipe for a vegan cheese ball by the Vegabond Chef, Brad Myers.  I attended his Holiday Appetizers cooking class back in December and the cheese ball was one of the appetizers he showed us how to make (see my 12/25/14 post for his wrapped and stuffed dates recipe).  From this basic recipe I eliminated the coconut oil and drizzled a bit of olive oil instead and added about a cup of creamy cashew milk until I reached the desired consistency.  Then I added a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies (I used mild but choose original if you want an extra kick).

So yummy and much better for you than the Velveeta version!

Brad’s recipe is as follows: start by soaking two cups of cashews and 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes overnight (I boiled for ten minutes).  Drain the soaked cashews and sun dried tomatoes and pour into a high speed blender such as a Vitamix.  Then add 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup of coconut oil (I eliminated this for the dip and drizzled with olive oil instead), 1 tablespoon mellow white miso paste, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and a dash of cayenne pepper.  Blend until smooth then allow to cool in the refrigerator before rolling into a ball and cover with sliced almonds.  I haven’t made the ball version myself but tasted it at Brad’s class and it was delicious.

To make it into a dip I followed the instructions for the ball up to allowing to cool.  Instead I left the mixture in the blender and slowly added creamy cashew milk to the mixture until it was the consistency I was looking for — I didn’t measure but I’m guessing it was about one cup.  You may want it thicker or runnier so pour and blend as you go.  When done, place the mixture in a pan on the stove and add one can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies then cook until warm.  Serve with chips and enjoy!

The first time I made this dip it was with the suggested coconut oil and the coconut flavor overpowered the dip so the second time I made it I used just a bit of olive oil instead and it was perfect.  I understand why it’s in the cheese ball for consistency but also because coconut oil is a superfood with powerful medicinal properties — everything Brad creates is delicious and healthy!

I’m also thinking about other possibilities — if I eliminate the Rotel it would make a nice base for mac & cheese or adding more cashew milk and steamed broccoli could produce a wonderful broccoli cheddar soup — will try that soon!

For more on Brad Myers, follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thevegabondchef.

This recipe was perfect for us last night — we’ve been so busy getting the house ready to sell that a movie night on the couch was long overdue.  I highly recommend, “The Theory of Everything” if you haven’t already seen it — Eddie Redmayne deserves his awards!  It’s one of those movies that really sends a powerful message about love and fortitude.  I have to say how grateful I am for my wonderful husband — he is truly the perfect fit for me!  I was out of state interviewing for a few days last week and came home to a bouquet of flowers, he missed me.  Check him out at http://www.nuvue-cinema.com/.

To follow along with my theme of effortlessness this year, here is a quote from the movie:

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” – Stephen Hawking

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