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Scrape-the-bowl nacho dip

2013 June 2


This is one recipe that I don’t really want to talk about. I just want to serve it to you, and get you hooked on its thick, cheesy, nacho-ness, mindlessly reaching for chip after chip. Or maybe a spoon.

And then I’ll tell you all about it.

Because what’s in it is my most magical vegetarian ingredient. My favorite creamy-it-up-without-the-dairy, lumpy, bumpy, vegetable:



Cauliflower cheese sauce has been making the rounds on the Interwebs since the turn of the year, and with good reason: cooked cauliflower mashed in its cooking liquid is, as it turns out, quite effective as a dairy substitute. I’ve tried it, and it’s spectacular. But in the back of my mind, I had another idea, one waiting for summer party season.


An appetizer — creamy, savory, with a nice kick of spice: cheeseless — yet creamy-cheesy — nacho dip. Cue the healthy cauliflower sauce, and healthier still salsa. Vegetables + more vegetables = all manner of goodness.

The cheeseless cheesy-ness comes thanks to my second most magical vegetarian ingredient, nutritional yeast (an inactive, distant cousin to brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast). Nutty and savory with a flavor you’d swear is aged cheese, nutritional yeast (or “nooch,” as it’s often affectionately called; or, a bit more tongue-in-cheek, “hippie dust”) makes a surprisingly decent substitute for parmesan or cheddar cheese in many dishes. And it’s packed with vitamin B-12, fiber, protein, and folic acid. Plus, it’s vegan, to boot.

So, how is it possible that these super healthy ingredients come together to make something rich, creamy, addictive, and bowl-scrapingly delicious?

I don’t know.

But it totally works. It must be magic.

Please try it before we get too much deeper into summer cookout season. Halve the recipe, if you must, but do try it. It’s one appetizer your peeps won’t stop eating … and one that you don’t have to worry about them enjoying.

(P.S. For those with cauliflower haters in the family, no worries: you can’t taste the cauliflower. At all.  Trust me, no one will guess there’s cauliflower in the mix.)

Scrape-the-bowl nacho dip


  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 heaping cups chopped cauliflower (use the stems, too; measure after chopping)
  • 2 large cloves garlic or 3 small, roughly chopped
  • 2 shakes vegetarian worcestershire sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (found in the natural foods section)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup salsa (use your favorite, homemade or prepared)


  1. In a medium sauce pot, bring the vegetable stock to a gentle boil, and add the cauliflower, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until cauliflower is very tender (easily pierced with a knife), about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the onion powder, chili powder, paprika, mustard, salt, nutritional yeast, and starch into the cauliflower mixture and give a good stir. Pour into a blender. Mix on low for a few seconds, then increase the speed to puree. (Make sure you remove the plug thingy in the lid, and cover the hole with a thick pad of paper towels. Hot ingredients tend to go volcano in a blender.)
  3. When the mixture is very smooth, pour it back into the sauce pot, stir in the salsa, and bring the sauce to a gentle boil once more. Reduce heat to low, and stir until thickened. Taste, and add salt as needed.
  4. Serve warmed with a side of tortilla chips.
Prep Time: 10 minutes       Cook time: 20 minutes       Yield: About 2 cups of nacho sauce, plenty for a party.

adapted from this recipe


One Response
  1. June 2, 2013

    I love dishes like this – that don’t sound like they should work, but are freaking delicious! Can’t wait to try this one!

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