Today’s prompt for Vegan MoFo is “creamy without nuts”. All vegans who cook can appreciate the challenge with this. Nuts are what gives vegan cheese life. Within recent history, however, some wonderful vegan cheese products have been born without containing nuts whatsoever. These options give the rather large population of people with nut allergies some non-dairy cheese and milk to enjoy.
The dish I’ve made here is not something original at all. I don’t know who exactly decided to create vegan cheese dip (in this case, a Mexican-inspired queso dip) out of potatoes and carrots, but they’re a genius. The idea is quite simple really. You’re basically making a pureed potato and carrot soup without adding too much liquid. The resulting texture is similar to a velvety queso dip you would find on top of nachos or in a mac n’ cheese. This cheese is really like a sauce/dip/soup hybrid. If you want to make this a soup, definitely try it! I would leave half of the mixture in whole chunks. Then, blend the other half of the mixture to create your soup base. Add a little more liquid (maybe instead of all non-dairy milk, use half veggie stock). There. You have a second recipe that can be made with the same ingredients, more or less. Nice.
The real MVP here is the potato. Without the potato, the cheese sauce would not turn out creamy. There’s something magical about root vegetable stock that allows a semi-liquid made from it to become creamy and homogenous. Cooking the potato and carrot down as much as possible is essential, too. If you don’t cook them enough, they will not puree properly. Things will turn out weird.
Another thing to note is the choice to use waxy versus starchy potatoes. I used an organic russet, which worked just fine. However, I used small red potatoes the last time I made this queso and the mixture was much more velvety and shiny. Both versions taste delicious, mind you. The texture will just be different. Think of how both types of potatoes fry and you’ll understand what I’m saying. Russet fries are not the same as yellow potato fries, but both are delicious and I would eat either of them right now with no preference.
Alright, you make some queso and I’m going to eat fries.
- 2 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 medium potato (I used russet), peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons prepared salsa of choice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice/apple cider vinegar
- In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the carrots and potatoes and enough water to cover them to a boil.
- When the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium-low to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender and soft.
- Turn off the heat and drain the potatoes and carrots.
- Place all the ingredients in a blender (does not have to be high tech). Blend until all ingredients are smooth and creamy. The mixture should not be so thick that it does not blend easily, but it also shouldn’t be runny. If you end up with a runny queso, add some tapioca/cornstarch to it, blend it up, and cook it over the stove in a saucepan on low heat until it thickens up.
- Eat queso with your favorite ingredients. You can also eat it like a cheesy soup or as a topping for a burrito/mac n cheese dish.