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Loaded Butternut Queso

As soon as I graduated from college, I moved to Austin (a.k.a. the land of queso) to be with my now-husband Jack. Whenever we’d get together with friends, there would always be queso, which was often the too-yellow, too-fake type of cheese that I don’t exactly gravitate toward. I couldn’t really complain because I’d fill up on chips, salsa and guacamole instead . . . but now I can have the best of both worlds with this oozy butternut queso loaded with all the toppings. Even though this recipe is vegan, every cheese lover I know loves this dip.

 

Directions

Yield: Serves 4

  1. Place the diced potatoes and butternut squash in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until fork-tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a high-speed blender.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion in a drizzle of olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. To the blender, add the sautéed onion, cashews, the 1⁄4 cup olive oil, water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne and salt. Blend until smooth, using the blender baton to help keep the blade moving or pausing to stir as necessary. If the mixture is too thick, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and blend until smooth.
  4. Make a quick guacamole by mashing together the avocado, lime juice and sea salt in a small bowl with the back of a fork.
  5. Scoop the warm queso into a shallow serving dish and top with the guacamole, black beans, diced tomato, red onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

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