I have a confession to make. I’ve been a bad vegan. No, I haven’t had any dairy, or eyed a hamburger out of the corner of my eye – I’m just a lazy eater. Sure, kale’s good, and nutritional yeast is great, but the last time I cooked a truly great vegan meal…well, let’s just say it’s been a while. Don’t get me wrong, I love my veggies, but after working all day (in a kitchen no less), and coming home to what feels like a million things to do, I’m not really in much of a mood to get (back) in the kitchen and cook a full on meal.
Add on to that the brave-new-world of vegan dinner shortcuts like faux meats, faux cheeses, and a bevy of frozen snacks and meals, and you’ve got a situation on your hands. Mostly, a “welcome to the working world Ms. Vegan,” siuation. I would like to thank Amy’s Burritos for getting me through my workweek “lunchtime.” Yes, it’s sad, but it’s true. I’m trying to cook more, dice veggies in advance so most of the prep is done, but frankly, some days, the couch and a snack wins. I try to make that snack hummus and veggies, but after a day of baking nothing but sugary desserts, all I crave is SALT.
One of the more popular snacks in my house is chips and dip. The variations of this are endless – salsa, nachos, queso (which is that ubiquitous white cheese they give you at mexican restaurants). My partner loves the queso, to put it mildly. I have no desire to see him drop dead from cholesterol related issues prematurely, and I’m always looking for ways to squeeze in extra veggies. This vegan queso makes us both happy and, while it isn’t a meal per say, I’m going to let it stand as a fairly healthy snack for now.
This recipe was inspired by a Mac ‘N’ Cheese Recipe I saw in VegNews by Allison Samson of Allison’s Gourmet fame. That particular VegNews was the very first one I bought after going vegan, and that recipe was something like an omen that this whole vegan thing was going to work out (mac ‘n’ cheese being a favorite of mine). So without further ado…
1 C russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
1 C cauliflower florets
1/3 C yellow onion, diced
1 C water
1/4 C raw cashews
1 t sea salt
1/4 t minced garlic
1/4 t Dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice
1/3 C Earth Balance margarine
1. In a medium size saucepan, add the potatoes, cauliflower, onion, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Vegetables should be soft. Let cool slightly. Strain, reserving some of the cooking water.
2. In a food processor, process the cashews, salt, garlic, margarine, mustard, and lemon juice. Add the vegetables and process until completely smooth. If you would like the queso to be thinner, add some of the reserved cooking water by the tablespoon until you reach the desired consistency. Serve warm.
*Makes approx. 2 C