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Plant-Based Black Bean Queso Dip

Wow. I have to say, I was really shocked by this bean dip. For something so simple and quick to make, the flavors are incredible and the presentation is really cool.

At its core, this is just a humble mashup of canned black beans, frozen corn, and some spices all cooked together…

But we have to talk about that cheese. What looks like some kind of broiled mozzarella is, in fact, simple cashew cream! I’ve known for a while that cashew cream tends to harden and solidify when heated, so I decided to exploit that here. Once you’ve made the bean dip, just drizzle little pools of the cream on top and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. The entire surface of the dip becomes slightly hardened, toasty, and beautiful.

Top with some other delicious stuff like guacamole + cilantro, and it’s an incredible, nutritious, easy 15-minute meal…

Makes: 3+ meal-sized servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2+ teaspoons chili powder blend
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 15 oz cans black beans
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup fire-roasted corn (frozen)
  • 2 + 1 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 4 sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews

Prep Soak the cashews for at least an hour before blending into cream.

Step One

In a BIG skillet, warm a splash of water and throw in a diced white onion and the spices (2 teaspoons chili powder blend, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt) and allow them to simmer until the onions turn translucent. (In a way, this is like a curry where it’s essential to spice the onions at the start in order to bring out maximum flavors.)

Step Two

Add two cans of black beans and one can of diced tomatoes (including the liquid from all cans) into the pan along with 1 cup of corn (preferably the frozen fire-roasted kind), 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and a few sprigs of chopped cilantro (save some for topping). With a large fork, mash and stir repeatedly, every 3-4 minutes, and continue to cook for 15+ minutes until the tomatoes no longer taste raw and acidic.

Tip: Depending on how much liquid you have, you can thicken the dip in two ways: 1) Mashing more of the beans to release more starch and 2) adding more nutritional yeast.

Step Three

Meanwhile, make some cashew cream. Drain the soaking cashews and add them to a blender with 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, a pinch of salt, and just enough fresh water to make a thick cream. Blend until totally smooth. Then, stir in about 60% of this cream into the dip itself – reserving the other 40% for garnish.

Also give the dip a taste and feel free to add additional spices as needed, because the dip is basically done at this point.

Step Four

Finally! When the dip is done, turn on the broiler to high and place an oven rack just beneath it. Carefully add a few of those “pools” on top, as shown, and gently place in the broiler for 1-4 minutes – watch closely and remove just before it burns.

Top with chopped cilantro, slivered green onions, or even some mashed avocado. Serve with corn tortillas or homemade baked tortilla chips by slicing some “one ingredient” corn tortillas and baking until crispy.

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