The world seems to be obsessed with vegan and gluten free recipes right now so I’m diving in. I’m not doing it because I’m either vegan or gluten intolerant, but because I love playing around with new ingredient combinations and cooking techniques. I have never tried my hand at vegan cheese substitutes made with nuts, but have tasted a few that were quite tasty. I adore queso dip and chipotles so this recipe inspired me to dive into my kitchen and soak a few cashews.
I soaked the cashew nuts for 2 days because it just worked out that way and I’m sure can only soften them even further. You will need a powerful blender to get this dip really smooth. I found it difficult to get mine as smooth looking as the Couple Cooks did but it was smooth enough. You might also need to add a splash of water to get things moving along.
I played around with the quantities of pickled jalapeños and the pickling brine it comes in as I found their recipe was a little too astringent for my taste, but this recipe is really one you can totally adapt to your flavour preferences. I added chipotles in adobo, which I had made myself, because we don’t get chipotle powder in South Africa. Adjust the heat levels exactly to your preference. I would suggest adding dried chili flakes (about 1 tsp) to replace the chipotles if you simply cannot find this ingredient and then add more pickled jalapeños.
Nutritional yeast gives this recipe some body and umami flavour and I’m looking forward to using it more. It’s available from Wellness Warehouse if you live in South Africa.
Nothing for me will beat molten cheese queso but this receipt was a tasty substitute for those wanting no animal products or gluten.
Recipe – makes about 1 ½ cups – adapted from A Couple Cooks
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained (or for 2 nights as I did)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 shallot or ¼ white onion
- 2 Tbs pickled jalapeños
- 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2tsp jalapeños pickling juice
- ½ Tsp sea salt flakes
- 2 – 3 tsp chipotle in adobo sauce
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup chickpea flour
- Cilantro, for garnish
Place the soaked cashews, garlic, shallot, jalapeños & brine, nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt and chipotles into a blender and blend until it’s as smooth as it will go. Add a small splash of boiling water if necessary to get things moving along. Scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula too.
Heat the water in a small pot and add the chickpea flour and stir until there are no lumps. Continue to cook the starch out of the flour for about 6 – 8 minutes over a low heat (I use a small whisk here). This should resemble a roux.
Add this the other ingredients in the blender and blend further until it is as smooth as it will go (3 – 4 minutes). Scrape the bowl of the blender down and taste the mixture, adjusting the seasoning as you go.
Serve warm or at room temperature with corn chips, cracker’s or sliced up vegetables like carrots, cucumber and celery.
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