Whenever I’ve attempted to veganize dishes in the past, most of the time they’ve turned out good, but not great. Perhaps it goes without saying, but it’s pretty difficult to perfectly replicate a carnivorous dish.
I expected a similar outcome when I recently whipped up this vegan queso, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it. Despite not containing any cheese, this dip is tangy, cheesy, and perfectly spiced: in my opinion, a dead ringer for the dairy-filled queso I remember eating as a kid.
Unlike other vegan quesos, my version doesn’t contain cashews or tofu, so it’s low-fat and soy-free. Instead, I use hearts of palm to impart a creamy texture and tanginess. Moreover, the addition of nutritional yeast and steamed carrots adds an authentic color to this queso (and even a bit of nutrition!). This is truly plant-based fare at its finest. I love serving the queso with tortilla chips and assorted veggies, but it’s equally as delicious on burrito bowls, tacos, or simply eating with a spoon (yes, it’s that delicious!).
Spicy Vegan Queso
- 3 medium carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 15-oz can hearts of palm
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk, unsweetened (use almond or rice milk for soy-free)
- 1 4-oz can diced green chiles
1. Add about 2 inches of water to a small saucepan and fit with a steamer basket. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid to let carrots steam for about 10 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork.
2. While carrots are steaming, blend together hearts of palm, nutritional yeast, chipotle chilis, salt, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic, and milk. Add the steamed carrots and blend again until the dip is smooth. If you prefer a thinner dip, add milk by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached.
3. Transfer queso to a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir in diced green chiles. Serve warm.
Also by Molly: Gluten-Free Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta
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Photos: Molly Lansdowne