I always thought I was a little bit of a queso dip purist (that’s a thing, right?!) but I can legit say that I like this spicy cauliflower queso dip almost as much as the cheesy perfection that is the traditional version. If you’re getting all excited and hoping that this is vegan and has cashews and nutritional yeast, I’m sorry to disappoint…but good old google has some great options along those lines. This dip still uses cheese, for that texture and flavor, but replaces half (or more?) of it with veggies for an extra fiber and vitamin boost.
To say I love a good queso dip would be an understatement. If I start thinking about certain favorites, like the spicy black bean version at Nada here in Columbus, I can completely lose my train of thought. I think I could be full-on vegan if it wasn’t for the existence of queso dip. I say this to let you know that I don’t mess with it lightly. This isn’t a haphazard, throw some veggies in the mix sort of thing. This veggie-ized version of queso will still meet your heat and dipping needs, all while packing in bonus nutrition from the cauliflower and carrot. Maybe it will make you feel a shred better if you eat the whole thing because, well, vegetables. Not that I am speaking from experience here.
I originally developed this dip for a partnership I have with System of Strength (amazing fitness studio, offering digital classes too so check them out), but it was so good that I needed to share here too. This passed the husband test, but if I’m being honest my kids weren’t fooled. They begrudgingly powered through some of it, but let’s just say no one was fighting over it like they do when we hit up a Mexican restaurant. Regardless, it’s not hard to make. so I think you should try it if: 1) you like cauliflower, because there is still the slight hint of that flavor, especially as it cools, and 2) you love queso dip (duh) and are okay with trying to make it a little healthier by sneaking in some produce, and 3) because it tastes really good!
Important to note: this does require a pretty high speed blender to get the right consistency. I haven’t tried it in my food processor, but if you do, let me know how it turns out. I don’t think it would be quite as smooth but maybe that’s okay?
As for the heat, I love spicy. And I don’t love big chunks of tomato or jalapeno in a queso dip. So to bring smooth spicy-ness, I come at it from several angles here. First, there is some jalapeno added in when you puree it. Second, I blend up a can of Rotel tomatoes (Whole Foods sells something similar, theirs is diced tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeno and not as spicy). And third, if I STILL need more heat, I will add some adobo sauce. This last part is highly optional and only if you really like spicy (and the flavor of adobo/chipotle). If spicy is just not your thing, I recommend omitting the jalapeno and using your favorite mild salsa in place of the Rotel tomatoes.
This is amazing just scooped up with your favorite tortilla chips, but I think it would also be good on my lentil tacos, so I’ll try that next time. (Note: to make the tacos, just make the lentil recipe and do them up like you would any taco.)
Pin it to save this recipe! And I always want to hear what you think, so if you make it, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or tag me on Instagram (@feed_me_greens)!
A healthier spin on queso dip! This spicy cauliflower version replaces half the cheese of traditional queso with veggies for added fiber and vitamins. Best served warm and with your favorite dipping chips!
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 large carrot, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ clove garlic
- ¼ seeded jalapeno
- ¾ cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- ½ can Rotel tomatoes, pureed in blender if desired (or your favorite salsa)
- 1 Tbsp adobo sauce (optional, for more heat)
Add cauliflower, carrot, and almond milk to a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer over medium low for 15-20 minutes or until veggies are softened.
Add the mixture to a high speed blender and puree thoroughly. Add salt, garlic and jalapeno, and puree again until very smooth.
Pour back into the pot, heat over medium and slowly stir in the cheese. Add the Rotel tomatoes (or salsa). Stir and serve!
This dip is best served warm! Will store in the fridge for a few days; reheat as needed.
A high speed blender will produce the best smooth texture.