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By Crystal Baldwin
Step aside velveeta & cheddar cheese, this healthy alternative is creamy, flavorful, spicy (if you want) and oh so cheesy and it's actually good for you!
No more guilt with this queso recipe, it is full of vegetables, healthy fats and protein so, you can eat till your heart's content and you can feel good about what you are eating!
So what exactly is in this vegan queso? The main ingredient here is sweet potatoes! Don't worry, if your not wild about he taste or texture of a sweet potato, this dish gets so transformed you can't even tell it is full of them. It just becomes creamy, smooth textured and full of spices and flavor.
What else is in this dish? Cashews add protein and dairy-free fats (no butter here), more fiber and another layer of creamy goodness. These are soaked in boiling water and then blended into a cream of course so again, you will never know they are there. Add fire roasted tomatoes, hatch green chilis, garlic, jalapenos, smoked paprika and even some beer (optional) and you are on your way with flavor.
So, what gives this a cheesy flavor you might ask? The answer is simple- nutritional yeast. This ingredient is a must have for this recipe - don't skip it. Besides creating that savory, cheesy, umami flavor, nutritional yeast is good for you - helping to boost your immune system and may even lower cholesterol...something cheddar cheese does not do!
What exactly is nutritional yeast? It is an unactivated version of regular yeast that you might use to make bread however, it will not rise. Don't try using it for your dinner rolls or they will be flat and a little bitter tasting. Also, don't use regular yeast in this recipe...or it will be a bubbling mess that won't taste like cheese.
Nutritional yeast is also full of trace minerals, protein and fortified with B vitamins. It looks like flat flakes and has a yellow color - which reminds you of cheese. You can sprinkle it on popcorn or veggies and its' perfect for this cheesy, queso recipe. Who would think that sweet potatoes, cashews, nutritional yeast and some other veggies and spices would turn into this beautiful, creamy, golden cheese like queso?
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Add beer, tomato juice and tomatoes to your taste or water if you want less tomato taste and to get it to just start blending.
This Queso is unbelievably good…it’s hard to tell it doesn’t have any cheese in it! My cheese-eating friends even like this dip. Remember - don't skip the nutritional yeast or it will not have the cheese flavor. I still feel guilty when I eat it since it tastes so much like the real thing…but it’s not the real thing - enjoy!
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If you have some fun twists on old favorites it does spice things up and leave people talking about what a great party it was for sure. Changing things up can be easier than you think and a lot of fun. This is the time to get creative and have fun while wowing your guests.
If you need a break from cooking between the holidays or you still have a house full of people to feed and need a quick and easy meal...it doesn't get much easier than this dish!
If you have leftover shrimp cocktail from a party and want to use it up, you can do that with this dish as well. If not, grab a bag of uncooked shrimp from the freezer and get your dinner done in about 20 minutes.
Do you want to throw a great party and actually enjoy the party and your friends? I can't tell you how many party's I have thrown where I spent the whole evening in the kitchen, heating food, refilling trays, making drinks and not really having fun or spending time with the people I love.
Don't get me wrong, I have put on small parties for just two friends where I can spend time in the kitchen and time with my company and I want to cook up foods that need attention.
However, when throwing a larger party, like during the holidays I have found that making it simple so I can have fun too is a much better way to go!
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