Meatout Mondays: Vegan chile con queso

We ate the cheesy delight with blue corn chips. Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

We ate the cheesy delight with blue corn chips. Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

The heat might have us feeling like we are really residents of Texas rather than Pennsylvania. Despite that cold front a few weeks ago, last weekend’s heatwave and the still-high thermostat readings have residents desperate for cool treats and air conditioning.

I know, Texas probably has a dry heat, unlike our latest humidity bubble, but Texas is where I drew inspiration from for this week’s Meatout Mondays — chile con queso.

I chose Texas for my next culinary experiment for 50 States, 50 Vegan Dishes because I have spicy food on the brain. After Cinco de Mayo and the Mission burritos, I realized I have grown to love spicy, Mexican food. This is funny to me, as I never experimented with these flavors before I went vegan and my struggles with IBS prevented my culinary explorations.

But now, bring on the spice!

Chile con queso is popular at Tex-Mex restaurants as an appetizer or side dish, served with tortilla chips. It is usually just spicy, melted cheese, but you can add black beans to the cheese and serve a bowl of guacamole on the side.

I found this super simple recipe by The Food Network and substituted vegan ingredients. I also went with canned chilies and jalapenos because I figured that was the safest bet for me, though fresh can be subbed instead. I also took a tip from the comments and sauteed the veggies before creating the cheese masterpiece.

Wanting to take it to another level of spicy, I used Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti. This blows the dish away. And even though it seems like this dip would be bad for you, one serving is 80 calories.

Get ready for some fondue fun!

Vegan chile con queso
Serves 10 people

Ingredients

  • 1 7-oz. container of Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti
  • 2/3 cups unsweetened original almond milk
  • 1/4 cup diced, canned fiesta green chilies
  • 1/4 cup diced, canned jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup diced, canned, whole and peeled tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Recipe

  1. Open and drain cans of chilies, jalapenos and tomatoes.
  2. Dice tomatoes (about 2) and add to small pot. Add the chilies and jalapenos. Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
  3. Add milk to the pot and turn on heat to medium/low. Break up pieces of the vegan havarti wedge and place them into the pot. With a whisk, slowly whisk cheese and milk as it begins to melt.
  4. Halfway through melting (about 5 to 10 minutes), add spices and vegetables to the pot. Keep whisking until cheese is melted and incorporated.
  5. Pour into small crock pot or fondue pot, and let the cheese simmer for about 10 more minutes.

Serving suggestions: tortilla chips, pieces of pita, sturdy vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower or broccoli; also can be added to baked potato, burritos and other Mexican dishes.

Have a recipe to share? Email bfehlinger@ydr.com. 

About Bethany Fehlinger

Bethany Fehlinger is a journalist in the Design Center at the York Daily Record. She is a graduate of Penn State University, is a York City dweller and has been vegetarian and geek for more than five years. Twitter: @Wonder_veggie
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