Friday, January 1, 2010

Cheeseless Queso (No Joke)

I am a total cheese addict. Perhaps my New Year's Resolution should have been to wean myself from cheese. I absolutely love cheese dip. Yep, can't beat a good cheese dip! I can forgo meat, I can live without chocolate, but cheese dip, nope, must have. So when I saw a recipe from my blogger buddy Alicia from Vegan Epicurean for Queso Dip recipe, I knew I needed to give it a try.

Cheeseless Queso
Ingredients:
½ cup raw cashews, soaked and drained (30-60 mins)
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

Directions:
Combine the cashews, oatmeal, water, onion flakes, turmeric, and garlic in your blender. Puree until the mixture is smooth. 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.

Notes:
  • I had some chipotle powder and flakes that I used to add in some heat. 
  • I didn't have onion flakes so I just used finely diced white onion. 
  • I also had some fire roasted tomato flakes that I added.
  • Last tweak, I added cumin powder.
I don't think I originally pureed the cashews enough, so I put everything back into the blender to puree again. So it was super smooth and creamy. This was an awesome recipe. I didn't really know what to expect, but I am really glad that I found it and tried it. It's a great alternative to a "yellow" queso. No, it doesn't taste completely like cheese, but it's a super healthy alternative that's a definite keeper! Thanks Alicia!!