This vegan cheesy BBQ chicken dip is ideal for game day noshing. A secret veggie ingredient is transformed into shredded barbecue "chicken" with a few easy tricks. The chick'n is then mixed with dairy-free cream cheese and baked until hot and bubbly. The warm dip is topped with vegan cheddar cheese and garnished with fresh cilantro, red onion, black beans, jalapeño slices, and scallions.
1small red onion, finely diced (if desired, reserve a small amount for topping the dip)
1tablespoonbrown sugar or coconut sugar
1/4teaspoonsmoke salt (recommendeor sea salt
2(14-ounce)cans hearts of palm, drained and cut in half widthwise
1/2cupvegan barbecue sauce
1/2cupcanned black beans, drained and rinsed
2scallions, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves, to taste
Fresh or pickled jalapeño slices (optional)
8ouncesplain vegan cream cheese (I use Kite Hill or homemade)
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender (about 5 minutes).
Whisk together the sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and smoke salt (or regular salt) in a medium bowl. Add in the hearts of palm and toss to coat.
Add the seasoned hearts of palm to the pan with the onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce and water. Pour over the hearts of palm. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until fall-apart tender. Remove the lid from the skillet and thoroughly shred the hearts of palm with a fork. Continue to simmer with the lid off for 5 minutes, or until the barbecue sauce is mostly absorbed. Turn off the heat.
While the hearts of palm simmer, prepare the red onion, black beans, scallions, cilantro, and jalapeños (if using). Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F, and lightly grease a large rectangular or round oven-safe casserole dish.
Once the hearts of palm are ready (be sure the heat is off), add the cream cheese to the pan and thoroughly stir to incorporate. Spoon the mixture into the prepare casserole dish, and use a spatula to spread into an even layer.
Dollop the cheese over the BBQ hearts of palm mixture, and use the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread evenly over the surface. (I drizzle a tiny bit of oil over top to give it an authentic melted cheese sheen.)
Top with the onion, black beans, scallions, jalapeños (if using), and cilantro.
Serve immediately with tortilla chips for dipping.
*In a pinch (or if you don't care for vegan cheese), you can skip the cheese layer altogether! Simply top after baking and serve.