This recipe takes me back to college, when I used to binge on super unhealthy things like chips and queso at night while trying to eat reasonably healthier and more vegetarian during the day. My transition to eating healthier foods took a few years to settle in. As a busy college student, the foods from Amy’s Kitchen really helped me make this transition. I loved their Vegetable Lasagna, the Breakfast Burrito, and of course these Nacho Snacks. So when the folks at Amy’s reached out to me, I knew I wanted to make a recipe that incorporated these snacks in a slightly healthier holiday appetizer.
The secret to this carrot “queso” is that it’s actually vegan. It’s made out of carrots, potato, sauteéd onions, and smoked paprika, among a few other ingredients. I’ve seen these carrot-potato-based “cheese” recipes around the internet lately and I’ve been intrigued to try this sort of thing out myself. While I’ve been making cashew-based “cheese” recipes for years, the starch from the potato really creates a more gooey queso-like texture. As you’re blending it together, it seems impossible, but just go with it. It won’t fool your biggest cheese-lovers, but once you top it with the proper fixins, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
I served it with Amy’s Nacho Cheese and Bean Snacks – which makes this whole thing pretty indulgent, but remember that the dip is still made of carrots, and besides, it’s the holidays so let’s live a little.
- 1 cup peeled and diced russet potato
- ½ cup peeled and diced carrot
- ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
- ¼ cup raw cashews* (see note)
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil or other neutral oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 tablespoons water, more as needed
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 medium garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, more to taste
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Amy’s Nacho Snacks and/or tortilla chips
- diced red onion
- diced tomato
- diced jalapeno
- diced avocado
- In a medium pot, combine the diced potatoes and carrots, fill with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Drain and add to a high speed blender.
- In a small skillet over medium heat, sauté the yellow onions in a drizzle of oil until soft, about 4 minutes.
- To the blender, add the sautéed onions, cashews, oil, water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, garlic powder, smoked paprika and sea salt and blend until smooth. If the mixture is thick, use the blender's baton to help get the blender moving. You can also add an additional 1 tablespoon of water if needed. This works best in a high-powered blender. If you have a regular blender, you might need to blend the mixture longer to get it creamy. Blend until completely smooth.
- Let cool slightly and season to taste. Scoop the queso into a serving bowl and top with the diced red onion, tomato, jalapeño and avocado. Serve with Amy’s Nacho Snacks or tortilla chips. The dip can also be made in advance and served cold.
Note: the "queso" recipe is vegan, the nacho snacks are not.
Recipe inspired by Serious Eats.
This post is sponsored by Amy’s Kitchen. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!