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Surprisingly Zesty Vegan Queso Dip
Nachos with cheese sauce has become a ubiquitous fixture at sporting events, movie theaters and basement rec rooms. It's not altogether clear how much actual cheese goes into the sauce, but as omnivore comfort foods go, it's a surefire crowd pleaser. Let's try to make a vegan version, shall we?
There are definitely a few recipes out there for vegan cheese sauces, many counterintuitively based on potatoes and carrots. I used a couple of them as inspiration for the experiments that resulted in this recipe. I want to give credit and pass them along to you in case you want to start your own experimenting in the same place I did. Probably the closest recipe is this one from Eat Healthy Eat Happy. I enjoyed it, but I felt it needed the umami flavour of nutritional yeast and the bite of hot peppers. However, I definitely used it as a starting point for my tweaking in the kitchen. There was also this cheese sauce from eatplant-based.com, which was also very tasty, but I felt might work better as the starting point for a nice, thick soup. (That experiment is on my to-do list for the fall.) The recipe you see below keeps the potatoes and carrots, but plays with the spices and other ingredients. I have to admit that I'm a little addicted to it, and it doesn't seem to last to the end of the nacho chips. Definitely not health food, but you can do far worse when watching sports. I hope you enjoy it.
2 cups potato, peeled and cubed
1-2 carrots, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
4 cups water (reserve 1/2 cup after cooking and cooling)
1 + 1 tsp salt
2 Tbl nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pickled hot pepper slices
Combine the potato, carrot, 4 cups water and 1 tsp salt in a large pot with a lid.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover and let cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid, then drain and transfer potatoes and carrots to a food processor.
Puree the potatoes and carrots in the food processor.
Then with the processor running, add in the 1/2 cup cooking liquid a little bit at a time. The result should be completely smooth.
Add the remaining 1 tsp salt, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and mustard to the food processor and process for about 30 seconds.
With the food processor still running, drizzle in the olive oil a little at a time until well combined
Add in the pepper slices and pulse to chop them up.
Allow flavours to mingle in the fridge for a few hours if possible. Serve with your favourite nacho chips.
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Posted: Monday, May 9, 2016