For week #33 of my 2018 challenge to try one new whole-food plant-based (WFPB) recipe each week, I tried this plant-based queso. I found the recipe on the Minimalist Baker website. You can get the recipe, and many more plant-based recipe ideas, at minimalistbaker.com.
I have to admit, I was a little hesitant on this one. However, the recipe had some great reviews, so I decided to give it a try. Even as I prepared it, I kept thinking, Eggplant in queso? Is this REALLY going to work? But I was pleasantly surprised by how good it turned out!
What I like about this recipe (besides the fact that it's healthy):
- Umm... nachos! (Need I say more?)
- A great way to prepare eggplant.
- My kids liked it! (Score!)
What I ended up using/doing:
For the most part, I followed the Minimalist Baker recipe. However, I did make a few adjustments. Mainly:
- Instead of broiling the eggplant, I roasted it. (I was roasting some other veggies, so I threw some eggplant in the oven too.)
- I used a whole can of Rotel. (The original recipe calls for 1/4 can, but I like my queso spicy.)
- As I mentioned, I was roasting some other veggies, so I added cooked sweet potato, to help with thickening and color. It worked well!
- 1 small to medium sized eggplant (enough to yield one packed cup of eggplant, after it's been roasted)
- Steamed or roasted sweet potato (peeled), about 1/2 packed cup
- Sea salt (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp finely minced fresh garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups unsweetened original almond milk
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 10-ounce can of Rotel original diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
- Smoked paprika, hot sauce, and/or cilantro for garnish (optional)
- I cut the eggplant into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick, and placed them onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet. I roasted them at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, flipped them, and roasted them another 5-10 minutes, until tender and golden brown in color. I then placed them into a container with a lid so they could steam. After a few minutes, I peeled the skin off of the eggplant slices and packed them into a measuring cup. (I used slightly more than one packed cup.)
- In a blender, combine the eggplant, sweet potato, nutritional yeast, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, cornstarch, and almond milk (1.5 cups to start). Blend it on high until smooth and creamy. Add salt to taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. To thin, add more almond milk.
- Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and warm over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Once hot and thickened, remove from heat and stir in drained Rotel (drain to avoid making it too runny).
- Pour into a serving dish. Top with smoked paprika, hot sauce, and/or cilantro. I served mine with baked tortilla chips.
NOTE: This dish is best when fresh. Leftovers reheat well, and the flavor is still good, but the color changes to more of a brownish hue.
This post was originally published on August 23, 2018.