Monday, March 3, 2014

Allergy-friendly recipe: Dairy-free cheesey queso dip

Dairy-free cheesey queso with crudités.

As part of my series of allergy-friendly recipes, I wanted to develop a dairy-free replacement for my favourite dip - queso. This Mexican flavoured cheese dip is usually made with cheddar cheese, cream cheese and salsa as its base, so it was no tall order to make it without either of the cheeses.

Well, I'm happy to say that I not only managed to come up with a dairy-free substitute, but that it's delicious. My girls and I LOVE it. And it's such a healthy substitute for queso as it's choc-full of vegetables.

I replaced the cheese with potato, cauliflower, carrot, chickpeas and Braggs nutritional yeast. The chickpeas provide the protein you'd normally get with cheese and the nutritional yeast gives a slightly cheesey flavour, plus it's packed full of B vitamins.

The result has the taste of queso in an easy-to-dip form. It doesn't have the rubbery texture you get with cheese, but it still works really well as a dip - more like a hummus in form. I'm thinking if you wanted the rubbery texture, you could experiment with gelatine or agar agar powder.

This recipe is great on top of nachos, or as a dip with corn chips or vegetable crudités.

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cauliflower, rinsed and cut into small florets
  • 2t cumin seeds
  • 1t ground coriander
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (tinned or homemade - I regularly cook up big batches of chickpeas and freeze them in 1 cup portions)
  • 1 300g / 10oz jar mild salsa
  • 1T Braggs nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Prepare vegetables by peeling and dicing the carrot and potato, and cutting the cauliflower into small florets.

2. Place prepared vegetables into a medium-sized saucepan of salted, boiling water, cover and cook for 15 minutes, until soft tender. (You may have to reduce the heat a little as the water starts to boil over once the vegetables are in.)

3. While vegetables are cooking, rinse cooked chickpeas in a sieve under running water.

4. In a frying pan, fry 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon of coriander in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil for 30 seconds.

5. Add the cooked chickpeas to the pan of spices and stir to coat, cooking for another minute before taking the pan off the heat.

6. Once vegetables have finished cooking, drain them through a large sieve under cold running water to prevent them cooking further.

7. Place all the prepared ingredients, plus jar of salsa, tablespoon of nutritional yeast, salt and pepper in a food processor.

8. Blend until smooth.

Nice eaten warm or cold, this dairy-free cheesey queso dip can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen and pulled out as a lunchbox filler. Defrosting causes some separation of water from solids, but just mix it back together.
Dairy-free cheesey queso in a lidded container.

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