Sometimes a recipe speaks to you. This is one of those recipes! Just the name chili cheese dip gets my mouth watering. Vegan and made with cashews, you’ll never guess that this dip is plant-based! Perfect for parties.
You-Won’t-Believe-it’s-Vegan Cheese Dip
While I didn’t grow up eating chili cheese dip, I was instantly blown away the first time I tried this vegan version. Made with cashews instead of milk, it’s creamy, lush, and perfect for dipping. I was out of corn tortillas the first time I went to make this vegan cheese dip recipe, but it didn’t matter to me — you can also pair it with fresh vegetables!
As a note — the cashews in this recipe add creaminess, but I know that some of you may be avoiding added fats. If that’s the case, try substituting 1 can of drained cannellini beans for the cashews. That said, cashews are one of many “healthy fats” that our bodies need, and in moderation, the benefits far outweigh the cons. Dr. Weil has a great read about how to portion a healthy balance of nuts into your diet without increasing your caloric intake.
This dip has a spicy tang from the salsa, and the satisfying addition of black beans balances out the other flavors and adds the heartiness any good bean dip or cheese and chili dip should have!
How to Make This Chili Cheese Dip Recipe
Refer to the recipe card below for exact quantities and instructions on how to make this vegan cheese dip recipe. Before you get started, here’s what you can expect.
Step 1: Blend the Ingredients
Before you get started, make sure to soak the cashews in hot water for at least 1 hour (overnight is best).
After the cashews have soaked, drain them and place them in a blender with the almond milk, nutritional yeast, bell pepper, chili powder, lemon juice, mustard, and salt. Blend until smooth.
Step 2: Sauté the Other Ingredients
Sauté the onion in a frying pan with water to soften. Drain and rinse the black beans, then add them to the pan with the salsa and taco seasonings. Heat over medium for about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Assemble the Vegan Chili Cheese Dip
Pour the “cheese” mixture into the frying pan with the onions, beans, salsa, and seasonings. Stir to combine and heat through.
Step 4: Make Your Homemade Chips
This step is optional, but I love making homemade tortilla chips to serve with my cheese and chili dip. It’s really easy!
Cut a package of 12 corn tortillas into even slices (you should end up with 72 chips), then place them on a prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with some water and salt, and bake for 8-10 minutes at 390 degrees F.
You can also serve this vegan cheese dip with my oil-free potato, yam, or tortilla chips recipe!
What is a Chili Dip?
Traditional chili dip combines cheese (plant-based for my vegan chili cheese dip recipe, of course!), salsa, chili seasoning, and a handful of other ingredients. You’ve probably enjoyed it at a party without even realizing it.
What is Vegan Cheese Dip Made Of?
All vegan cheese and chili dip recipes are different. Some rely on pre-packaged vegan cheese, while others (like mine!) achieve that creamy and cheesy texture and taste another way. The combination of cashews and nutritional yeast will yield very creamy results — it’s hard to believe it’s actually vegan, but it is!
How do You Thicken Cheese and Chili Dip?
If your cheese and chili dip isn’t as thick as you would like, I recommend adding a bit of flour or creating a cornstarch slurry out of cornstarch and a bit of water. Incorporate your thickening agent of choice one tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you’re after.
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below for this Vegan Chili Cheese Dip! If you have a photo, post it on my Facebook page, tag me using the hashtag #plantbasedcooking in your caption, and I won’t miss it!
Want more healthy and savory plant-based recipes? Here are a few more to try:
- Cashew Cheese Sauce
- Roasted Red Pepper Dip
- Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Chili-Topped Potatoes with Corn Salsa
- Enchilada Casserole
This recipe is Plantricious Friendly because it meets the following guidelines.
The Trusted Seal for
- Must be whole food plant-based, contains no animal products
- May be minimally processed
- No added oil
- No added sugars
- No artificial additives or preservatives
- *Plantricious Friendly foods may include but are not limited to condiments, fermented foods, soups, sauces, beverages, dressings, marinades, etc.
Chili Cheese Dip
- Silicone Cooking Utensil Set
- Baking Sheet or
- 1 cup raw cashews (or substitute 1 can drained cannellini beans)
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (or 1 cup homemade)
- 2 tsp chili powder
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 whole orange bell pepper (or red) roasted or unroasted, seeded and rough chopped
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tsp yellow mustard
- ¼ cup yellow onion minced
- 1 15 oz. can no salt black beans drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups homemade )
- 1 cup fresh salsa (low-sodium)
- 2 Tbl salt-free taco seasoning like No-Salt Mrs. Dash's
- 1 Package Tortilla chips or make your own. See homemade method below.
- Soak the raw cashews for at least 1 hour or longer up to 24 hours.
- Place the soaked, drained cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, bell pepper, chili powder, lemon juice, mustard, and salt in a blender and blend for a few minutes until smooth. Set aside.
- Water sauté the onions in a large frying pan for a few minutes, stirring so they don’t stick.
- Add the drained and rinsed beans, salsa, and taco seasonings and heat for about 5 minutes to combine flavors.
- Pour in the “cheese” sauce and stir to combine.
- Heat through.
- Serve with crackers or baked tortillas.
Baked Tortilla Chips
- Makes 72 chips
- Corn tortillas, 12 count, cut into 6 triangles each
- Preheat over to 390 degrees
- Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle or spray a small amount of water over the chips and lightly salt.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. Watch them carefully as they’re easy to overcook.
- Place in a single layer on a plate. Microwave in batches for about 4 minutes or until crisp.
I’m going to make this thank you for the recipe.
You’re welcome. I’m pretty sure you’re going to like this one!
Looks yummy. How much is one serving of the dip?
One serving is about 1 cup.
Is French’s yellow mustard the same as prepared mustard?
Yep, that’s it.
I made this dip for a potluck at work and it was gone before the end of the day. Everyone loved how creamy it was. I didn’t have regular mustard, so I used dry mustard powder instead and instead of red pepper flakes for the taco seasoning, I used a squirt of sirrahca.
Hey Deanna, I’m so happy to hear that the dip was a success! Thanks so much for the feedback and it’s great that you could mix up the ingredients. I encourage people to do that and experiment a bit with their own take. Yay!
This dip looks amazing! I don’t have fresh salsa – is bottled chunky salsa ok?
Sure, that would work just fine. 🙂
Just made this and I love it! So much more tastier than making plain cashew “queso” because of the added beans and onions. Will definitely make this again.
Thanks, Kelly, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. 💕 It’s one of my favorites, too. 🙂
Served over a baked potato. Very good! Definitely a repeat dish.
Thanks, Kristi. It’s one of my favorites.
How much is a serving size.
Hi Jo, I calculated an estimate but would need to make the recipe to check for certain. It’s about 1 cup per serving. It’s 1/6 of the recipe, but I’m sure that doesn’t help much. I’ll update it soon after making the recipe.