Vegan Queso Nacho Stack

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nacho-cheese 30/11/2016

A cheese sauce that’s vegan, dairy free, tastes amazing and is good for you. Stuff of dreams, right? Wrong! This vegan queso dip is actually made from aubergines that have been grilled and finely blended with spice and garlic for a silky sauce that is great for dunking, spreading and pouring on all things Mexican.

I made this for a dinner night with my friends and yes, there’s always one who can’t eat anything but I presented her with this and she absolutely loved it. So did all the meat eating, dairy tolerant girls too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium aubergine, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 5-2 cups oat milk (or other vegan milk)
  • 1 clove finely minced fresh garlic
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp corn flour (optional for thickening)
  • OPTIONAL: Smoked paprika and hot sauce for added colour and flavour upon serving.

Instructions:

  1. Sprinkle both sides of the aubergine slices with a little sea salt and arrange in a colander to help draw out some of the moisture and bitterness. Let set for 10-15 minutes then rinse with cool water and thoroughly pat dry between two clean towels.
  2. Preheat grill to high and place an oven rack near the top of the oven. Arrange the dried aubergine rounds on a baking sheet lightly spritzed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with a very small amount of salt.
  3. Grill on high for 4-5 minutes on each side, watching carefully as to not let them burn. Flip at the halfway point to ensure even cooking. Once the aubergine appears tender and both sides have golden brown colour, remove from the oven and wrap loosely in foil to steam.
  4. After a few minutes, unwrap and peel the aubergine skin away. It should come right off.
  5. Place aubergine in a blender with the 1.5 cups (to start) oat milk, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder and corn flour and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. To thin, add more oat milk.
  6. Transfer to a small saucepan and warm over medium to medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly – about 5 minutes. The longer you go the thicker it will become.
  7. NOTE: If it isn’t looking as thick as you want, thicken with a slurry of corn flour by adding an additional 1 tsp corn flour to a small bowl with a little oat milk. Whisk to combine and then stir back into the pan. This should thicken it right up.
  8. Serve with nachos, salsa, crackers or veggie sticks.
  9. Refrigerate and cover leftovers. Reheats extremely well in the microwave or in a saucepan. This will keep for up to a few days but is best when fresh. It can be enjoyed hot or cold. I like mine on a massive nacho stack!
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