This vegan spicy cauliflower cashew cheese dip is zippy, silky smooth, and addictive. Perfect for sinking crunchy tortilla chips or veggies into, dolloping over tacos, or folding into burritos.
With recipes and life, systems are a win.
A few years back, I started using a veggie- and nut-packed combination to create super lush, creamy sauces and soup bases. It's most beloved in this hearty soup recipe but has also been featured in artichoke dip and even pot pie.
It's a reliable win and a sort of recipe "system" I've come to rely on for all things creamy and savory.
While I've mixed and remixed and adjusted it in many ways over the years, the one thing I hadn't yet attempted to do was to thicken it for use as a cheesy, spicy, sink-some-chips-in dip.
It comes together in 25 minutes (usually less) and with just a handful of ingredients. It tastes dairy-rich and like it'd be severely lacking in nutrients but is dairy-free and brimming with micronutrients.
To make it, you'll boil four cups of fresh (or frozen) cauliflower florets along with two-thirds of a cup of raw cashews (or use unboiled shelled hemp seeds for a nut-free alternative).
While the cauliflower and cashews boil, you can get to work gathering your other ingredients—filtered water, nutritional yeast flakes (add cheesiness and depth of flavor), pickled jalapeño juice, salt, arrowroot starch or cornstarch (to thicken), and garlic powder.
Add everything to a blender along with the cauliflower and cashews.
Then, blend on high until you have a super smooth and creamy sauce.
Transfer the mixture to a large sauté pan and heat over medium-low for just a few minutes, whisking constantly, or until the mixture thickens into a dunk-worthy dip.
Stir in a can of green chilis.
Taste, and adjust the seasonings according to your taste preferences. More salt, more jalapeño juice, etc.
I like to serve the dip topped with fresh jalapeños, cilantro, and tomatoes with a few dashes of smoked paprika. But garnishes are totally optional here.
Just be sure to arm yourself with plenty of crunchy tortilla chips and crisp veggies for dipping, dunking, and sinking.
I hope you love this vegan spicy cauliflower cashew cheese dip!
If you make it, let me know! Leave a comment, rate the recipe, and don’t forget to tag a photo #blissfulbasil on Instagram.
Vegan Spicy Cauliflower Cashew Cheese Dip
- 4 cups fresh or frozen cauliflower florets
- ⅔ cup raw cashews
- 1 cup filtered water
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 3 to 4 tablespoons pickled jalapeño juice, plus more to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 (4-ounce) can green chilis
- Cayenne (optional for more heat)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add the cauliflower florets and cashews, and boil for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is fork-tender.
- Once the cauliflower and cashews are ready, add them to a high-speed blender along with the water, nutritional yeast, jalapeño juice, sea salt, starch, and garlic powder. Blend on high for 2 minutes, or until completely smooth and creamy.
- Transfer to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken, whisking constantly.
- Stir in the green chilis. Taste and season with more salt and/or pickled jalapeño juice, if desired. If you'd like to up the kick, stir in a few dashes of cayenne pepper, too.
- Serve warm with plenty of tortilla chips for dipping.
I'm looking forward to trying this! I've used the cauliflower + cashew combo for making alfredo, but for some reason it never occurred to me to do the same thing with vegan queso.
I hope you enjoy it, Becky!! Would love to hear your thoughts once you've had a chance to make it. :)
Caitlin Havener says
Never enough dips if you ask me! There is nothing better than a summer evening on the terrace, with friends, cold drinks, nachos and lots of different dips. This one will definitely be on my table! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us!
Agreed, Caitlin! Hope you enjoy the recipe. The image you've painted with the evening on the terrace with friends sounds so lovely! :)
Made this today. Thought it was a little bland and missing richness. I added a tablespoon of vegan butter and another 1/4 of nutritional yeast and that helped. Not sure I’d make this again but I am a huge fan of the other recipes you have made with this base.
Hi, Sarah! Oh goodness, I'm so sorry it came out bland for you. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. I'll have to retest this one with other tasters to offer input. Pregnancy is a bizarre time for tastebuds, especially since I've had lingering morning sickness into the third trimester—makes everything taste stronger and saltier than it normally does, so I should know by now not to rely on just myself at the moment. Again, thanks for sharing and please accept my apologies for the disappointing recipe.
I was just coming on here to say that it was REALLY tasty the next day. Kind of like chili, all the flavors were better blended together and more pronounced. I would definitely make this again but let it sit a bit before enjoying it. Thanks Ashley!
Thank you for the update, Sarah!! Happy to know the flavors popped a bit more with time. I still plan to rework the recipe a bit and leverage the input of others' tastebuds, too, but very helpful (and reassuring) to know it brightened up the next day. Thanks as always for your feedback—helps me make better recipes. :)