Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vegan Queso Blanco Dip

 
I often use canned coconut milk to introduce a subtly rich dimension into tomato sauces, broths and marinades. Due to its high-fat content, it adds a supreme richness without imparting any detectable coconut flavor into a dish. Ever since I discovered that adding just a bit of coconut vinegar to coconut milk creates an authentic mozzarella/stringcheese/ricotta flavor, I've been using it in different ways with fantastic results. My latest experiment yielded an amazing vegan queso blanco dip, which tastes exactly like the velvety and rich version you would get in a Mexican restaurant. Add chopped jalapeños, cilantro, cumin, salsa or onion as desired at the end, although it tastes fantastically cheesy and perfect on its own. Serve in a small crock pot set to warm to keep the texture silky and smooth.

INGREDIENTS
I can of full-fat, good-quality coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
1 tsp coconut vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 TB tapioca flour
1/4 tsp agar powder

METHOD
Place the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until well-emulsified. Add in the vinegar and salt and whisk for about a minute. Then add in the tapioca flour and agar, whisk, bring to a small boil, then reduce the heat to low. It should thicken very quickly. Leave over low heat and whisk occasionally for about seven minutes. Transfer to a small and warmed crock pot to serve.

29 comments:

  1. Whoa. This looks genius! I'm curious about coconut vinegar now...any other interesting uses for it?

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  2. Thanks Bethany! You can use coconut vinegar like/in place of apple cider vinegar. It has a very distinct taste.

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  3. Two questions:
    1). Where do I find coconut vinegar?
    2). When is your genius cookbook coming out? <--you really NEED to write one. Just saying :)

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  4. Cara: 1). You can find it at Whole Foods or order it on amazon. It's super-cheap and will last forever. Unless you are me, and have made about a thousand batches of cheese in the past couple of months. : )
    2). You are too sweet! <3 Maybe someday!

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  5. I've never even heard of coconut vinegar until your blog. I need to track some down and finally try some of these cheesy recipes you've been posting. This one in particular looks awesome.
    I nomiated you for the versatile blogger award! You can find the info here: http://cookbookaficionado.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/newfoundland-toutons/

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  6. I never even heard of coconut vinegar before but I'm totally going to have to get it now just so I can make the dip. It looks awesome! :-)

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  7. I'm not sure if I did something wrong, but mine didn't get as thick as normal cheese dip. It is quite watery. Do I need to keep it on a higher temp longer, or a lower temp longer?

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  8. Anonymous: are you using agar flakes or powder?

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  9. Thank you so much for this recipe. I've made many different noocho cheeze sauces and nut cheezes since going vegan, but this queso blanco is the closest replication to the cheese sauce I knew and loved as a vegetarian. I had previously tried your ricotta recipe, and it was a bit too coconutty for me; this time around, I used apple cider vinegar instead of the coconut vinegar--it was excellent!

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  10. This looks incredible! Is the tapioca flour a must? Do you think a different type of flour might work? Almond or garbonzo?

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    1. Thanks! I've never used almond flour, and garbanzo would probably make this a bit grainy, so I wouldn't recommend it. The tapioca flour gives it that slightly stretchy feel of real queso, so it's pretty important for this recipe. Or you could just leave that completely out -- you'll just have a thinner end consistency.

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  11. Do you think this would work with another type of vinegar or is it the coconut vinegar that gives it the cheesy flavour?

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    1. Caitlin, I haven't tried it with another acid/vinegar, so I can't say for sure, but I do think the coconut vinegar is pretty essential for the cheesy taste here.

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  12. Just made this for my husband and 5 year old. They are currently shoveling it into their mouth as I type. It's rare when my kid gets this excited about vegan cheese. Thanks for this amazing recipe and I look forward to trying your mozzarella.

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    1. I love to hear that apryl! Thanks for sharing and I hope you enjoy the other cheeses!! : )

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  13. I live in Brazil and haven't been able to find coconut vinegar, so I'm going to try apple vinegar and rice vinegar (two separate batches). I'll let you know how it goes.

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    1. Ok, good luck! I've heard mixed results on apple cider vinegar. Thanks for trying it out. : )

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  14. Well there's the answer to my question about coconut milk! Thanks!

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  15. I just had to make this tonight only I did not have any coconut vinegar on hand. Subbed half brown rice vinegar and half AVC plus a 1 teaspoon nooch. Just awesome!!! Can't wait to make with the coconut vinegar, because we'll be finishing this batch off in a hurry.

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  16. Yum!!! This is delicious. I mixed a little with salsa and left most of it plain so we can add whatever we want each time. Super delicious! I think I may try mixing a roasted poblano in with the rest...

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  17. Darn!! I just got my coconut vinegar, but I forgot the tapioca flour. Do you think another type will work as well? I'm dying to try this!!!:)

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    1. There really isn't another good sub for tapioca flour -- you can try leaving it out, but the consistency will be a bit thinner.

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  18. Made this tonight for my boyfriend & I...we loved it! The consistency was just like queso. I added chopped, pickled jalapeño for some added flavor. I will definitely be making this again!

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    1. So happy you liked, thanks for your feedback! : )

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  19. Looks great! I've blended coconut vinegar with silken tofu and a few other ingredients as a cheesy-tasting base for vegan quiches and casseroles, so I imagine this flavor is very similar. Can't wait to try your recipe! :) Also, thought you should know that this blogger copied your photo and recipe, didn't give any credit to you that I could see. Hate it when that happens. FYI. http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/1019711/vegan-queso-blanco-recipe

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    1. Dawn, I hope you enjoy! Thanks for letting me know about the SheKnows article, but no worries -- that's me! I shared the content with the site. : )

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  20. Have you tried making your own coconut milk with water, a high-speed blender and shredded (pref. large flakes) coconut? You just blend at a high speed until liquefied, strain through a nutmilk bag or cheesecloth, etc. and viola, fresh homemade coconut milk -- much less expensive, much fresher and best of all, never in a can! Am looking forward to trying this recipe sometime. (Right now making your cultured cashew!)

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    1. I have not, but it sounds like I may have to try ... thanks for the tip! I hope you enjoyed the cultured cashew cheese, thanks for trying it out!

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