Queso’s Vegan Cousin


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We were originally going to call this “vegan queso,” but on second thought, we found that name to be misleading. Because, while that’s the inspiration for this dip, it doesn’t taste like melted, moldy cow’s milk. Big disappointment, right?

I’m going to rant for one tiny second here, but if you’re not in the mood to get fired up with me, just scroll and look at the pretty pictures. Ooo lah lah.

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Attempting to make plant based foods taste like dairy and meat is the mother cause of many delicious vegan meals, but, by and large, it holds people back from truly evolving into a diverse plant based diet; vegetables don’t taste like meat, and that’s the best fucking part. Most of us grew up eating dishes revolved around meat and dairy, therefore acquainting us with much of what that side of cuisine has to offer, but by embracing the full spectrum of colors, flavors, and textures brought forth by vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits, we are given an opportunity to explore peaks and valleys of cuisine with little human impression upon them.

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To lay it out like plain Jain, next time you look at a carrot, don’t think “how can I make this taste like meat?” instead think, “how can I make this taste like the best carrot ever?” 

Okay, end rant.

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All that being said, this dip does have a cheesy essence, brought about by lots of nutritional yeast. The base for this sauce is paprika roasted sweet potato, which lends silky texture, vibrant orange color, and lots of vitamins (this is health food, after all). Other flavor components are brought forth by tender onions and garlic, dijon mustard for bite, a sprinkle of cayenne for a lil’ kick, and a touch of apple cider vinegar for sharpness.

This dip is to die for when paired with crispy spring roll chips, carrot mole tacos, or a traditional tex-mex style meal of rice, beans, cassava tortillas, and so on.

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Sweet ‘tater queso on cassava tortillas with pressure-cooked black beans and fresh cilantro.
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Crispy spring roll chips is this dip’s best friend.

If there’s a dish you’ve always wanted to see veganized, submit it here, and we’ll head to the lab, break out the test tubes, and whip out our culinary gadgets, so that in a couple of weeks there’ll be a recipe dedicated all to you.

All the best,
Ryan & Kim

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Queso's Vegan Cousin

  • Servings: A lot
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Heart warming, creamy sweet potato dip with a sharp bite, reminiscent of melty queso.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups diced sweet potato (2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, + more for seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 2 c (+ more if needed) mushroom broth
  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast
  • cilantro, for topping (optional)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F, and toss diced, peeled sweet potato with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Once ready, place in oven for 20-30 minutes – until very tender – stirring halfway through.
  2. While the sweet potato roasts, cook onion and garlic in a medium pot over medium heat along with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until the onions are translucent and tender, about 12 minutes. If the veggies start to brown, drop the heat to medium low.
  3. Once the sweet potatoes are fork tender, transfer to the bowl of a food processor or blender along with the cooked onion & garlic, and the rest of the ingredients. Blitz on high until completely creamy, about 30 seconds.
  4. Remove the lid and taste for seasoning and texture, adding more salt for saltiness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, mustard for bite, or mushroom broth for a thinner consistency. Scrape the sides of the bowl and blend once more.
  5. Enjoy as is or place into a pot over medium heat until bubbly hot. Serve with chips, beans, seared tempeh strips, or in any place queso is desired.
  6. Leftovers will keep for up to 4 days. To re-heat, simply place queso in a pot over medium heat along with a tablespoon of water and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot.

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