This vegan warm cheesy bean dip will have you excited for game day whether you like sports or not. Inspired by the classic warm bean dip (AKA “Texas Trash Dip”—don’t particularly care for this name), this dairy-free version will please everyone.
This recipe idea was a glimmer in my mind’s eye for about a year. Now that fall is officially here, I figured it was time to bring this vegan game day appetizer to life.
As a kid, warm bean dip was my favorite game day food. Sinking crunchy Fritos into melty cheese and creamy refried beans was an activity I happily participated in every Sunday.
I can’t remember the last time I had the stuff, but it’s one of those flavor combinations you just don’t forget.
Classic, dairy-based bean dip is made by combining refried beans with cream cheese, sour cream, and taco seasoning. The bean base is then spread into a casserole dish, covered with shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, and baked until hot and bubbly.
The bean base seemed easy enough to veganize, but I wanted to figure out a way to top it with homemade vegan cheese rather than store-bought shreds.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that many store-bought vegan cheeses melt with a less-than-desirable snotty texture. I know, so gross. But also so true.
So I decided to try my hand at a homemade cheese layer that had an authentic stretchy melted quality to it.
SPOILER ALERT: I made it happen, but more on that after this beany, cheesy jump…
Let’s take a closer look at the how-to for this recipe, shall we?
Classic bean dip uses a packet of taco seasoning to jazz up the bean layer.
Since store-bought taco seasoning tends to have all sorts of funky additives in it, I decided to make a homemade version (I’ve included the recipe for you, too).
If you decide to go the store-bought route, I recommend adding about half the packet and then working your way up from there according to taste preferences. Most taco seasonings have a hefty amount of sodium, and you don’t want a too-salty dip.
Once you’ve made (or ripped open) your taco seasoning, add it to a large mixing bowl along with two cans of vegetarian refried beans, a cup of vegan cream cheese, and a cup of plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt.
As you might know, not all vegan cream cheeses and yogurts are created equally, so I’ve included my brand recommendations in the recipe (not sponsored, just the brands I love and use myself).
Once you’ve added everything to the bowl, you’ll mix, mix, mix until smooth.
Fun fact: The base for warm bean dip is one of the least attractive foods to photograph (I tried my best 🤷🏻♀️)…
Once the beany base is mixed, you’ll spread it evenly into a casserole dish and pop it in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until hot and perhaps even a little bubbly.
When you’re about 10 minutes out from the bean base being ready, get to work on the cheese.
This homemade stretchy vegan Monterey jack-ish cheese comes together with easy methods and in about 10 minutes flat.
It’s very similar to my cashew mozzarella recipe but with a few distinct changes to make it stretchy and zestier, too.
To a blender, you’ll add soaked (or boiled) cashews, filtered water, nutritional yeast, olive oil, tapioca starch, vinegar, tahini, and salt.
Blend on high until completely smooth. Then, transfer the mixture to a large saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until thick and stretchy.
The mixture will clump as it first begins to thicken, but just keep stirring until you have a smooth, stretchy cheese.
I typically use arrowroot starch for homemade vegan cheeses but opted for tapioca starch for this recipe because it yields a stretchy quality when activated by heat.
Ideally, you want the cheese to be ready at the same time or just after the the bean dip finishes baking.
Once the bean dip is ready, dollop as much of the cheese as desired over top (you may have extras) and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly over the surface.
I like to then drizzle a tiny bit of oil over top to give it an authentic melted cheese sheen, but this is totally optional.
I also sprinkle a few pinches of smoked paprika on top to add smoky notes to the cheese. Again, totally optional.
Now let’s take a look at how this cheese handles…
If that doesn’t look like stretchy queso fundido, I don’t know what does.
Although you can leave the bean dip totally bare, I highly recommend topping it.
My favorite toppings are:
Diced cherry tomatoes.
Fresh or pickled jalapeño slices.
But feel free to get creative.
Once you’ve topped your dip, ready your tortilla chips and dive in.
I hope this vegan warm cheesy bean dip makes all your vegan game day dreams come true.
If you make it, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #blissfulbasil on Instagram.
Vegan Warm Cheesy Bean Dip
Vegan Cheesy Bean Dip
- 2 (15-ounce) cans vegetarian refried beans
- 8 ounces plain vegan cream cheese (I recommend Kite Hill)
- 1 cup plain unsweetened vegan yogurt (I recommend Cashewgurt)
- 1 recipe Taco Seasoning (recipe below)*
- 1 recipe Vegan Cashew Jack Cheese
- 2 scallions, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
- Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste
- Sliced black olives, to taste
- Fresh of pickled jalapeño slices
- Tortilla chips, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the refried beans, cream cheese, yogurt, and taco seasoning until smooth. Taste. If desired, add a bit more salt.
- Spread the bean mixture evenly into the greased casserole dish.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
- Meanwhile, prepare the toppings (i.e., tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, etc.) if using.
- With about 10 minutes of bake time remaining, prepare the Vegan Cashew Jack Cheese.
- Dollop as much of the cheese over the hot bean dip as desired (you might have extras), and use the back of a spoon to spread/press it evenly over the surface. (FYI, I drizzle a tiny bit of oil over top to give it an authentic melted cheese sheen and then sprinkle with a little smoked paprika—totally optional.)
- Top with the cherry tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, black olives, and jalapeños (if using).
- Serve warm with tortilla chips for dipping.
Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Dash or two cayenne
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk together.