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This 5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso Dip Is Perfect for Poolside Snacking (and It’s Packed With Bone Health Benefits)

Let’s play a game of word association. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “tortilla chips”? Guac? Although we do love a good bowl of creamy guacamole, we’re actually talking about the golden, gooey, and delicious dip that pairs just as well—if not better—with cantina-style crunchy tortilla chips. Yes, we’re talking about queso.

Trust: This delicious dip never fails to make the friend group at the poolside get-together scoop until there’s no more in sight. So, to guarantee no chip goes queso-less this Labor Day, we found the best “cheesy” recipe of your dreams. Seven staple pantry ingredients, five minutes, and one blender are all you need to whip up this five-minute *vegan* cashew queso dip recipe by Minimalist Baker. Challenge accepted.

What makes this vegan cashew queso dip recipe so good?

Aside from the (creamy and dreamy) obvious, this easy queso recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and free from artificial ingredients. Plus, it’s packed with three grams of protein per serving, thanks to cashews, which are one of the best types of nuts for skin and bone health. Cashews contain a high amount of copper (aka 622 micrograms per ounce of the nut), which is about 70 perfect of the daily recommended amount for adults, Nora Minno, RDN, a dietitian and certified personal trainer in New York City, previously told Well+Good. Copper, Minno explains, helps stave off osteoporosis and maintain collagen and elastin, which are both important for skin health and bone density.

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To ensure that this queso is smoky, spicy, and packed with flavor, Dana Shultz from Minimalist Baker uses ingredients like garlic, nutritional yeast, chili powder, and harissa, which pack a delicious punch (and serious anti-inflammatory benefits) into every bite. However, Shultz says you can tweak the recipe to your liking. If you want more cheesiness, she recommends sprinkling in more nutritional yeast for that umami-rich savory flavor. Meanwhile, cumin and chili powder will do the trick if you wish for more smokiness or heat. Plus, this recipe calls for harissa, a simple Mediterranean-style spread made with ingredients like chili peppers, garlic, and spices.

Vegan cashew queso dip recipe

Photo: Minimalist Baker

Yields 6 Servings

Ingredients

3/4 to 1 cup hot water

1 cup raw cashews

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1 Tbsp harissa

1. Add all ingredients to a blender (starting with the lesser amount of water) and blend until creamy, adding more water as needed to blend until creamy and smooth. We recommend a small blender or a high-speed blender. Add just enough water to achieve creamy, pourable queso. If it gets too thin, thicken with additional raw cashews.

2. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more nutritional yeast for cheesiness, salt to taste, cumin for smokiness, chili powder or harissa for heat, or garlic for zing. It should be quite flavorful, so don’t be shy.

3. Serve with chips or add to things like tacos, nachos, burritos, and more! Garnish with additional harissa or a spoonful of fresh salsa or hot sauce for serving (optional).

Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for five to seven days or in the freezer for up to one month. To thaw from frozen, set in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. Reheat in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add more water as needed if it thickens when reheating.

Wait, what? This squash dip is made with stress-busting adaptogenic ingredients: