Place cashews in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups water or to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 15 minutes, or until soft. Drain over a liquid measuring cup to reserve the cooking liquid.
Combine 1 cup of the reserved cooking water with the cashews, garlic, tapioca flour, nutritional yeast, vinegar, turmeric, cumin, and salt in the jug of a blender. Process for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth.
Pour mixture into the same saucepan used to boil the cashews and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is firmed up. (You need to keep stirring to move the thickened mixture at the bottom of the pan so that the liquid on top can reach the heat and become thickened.) The mixture will be soft yet firm and stretchy, like melted mozzarella cheese.)
Queso is best served warm, so if you have a small slow cooker, a flameproof bowl and tea light warmer, or warming tray, any of these would be ideal for serving. Use as a dip for nachos, crackers, vegetables, or fruit. Try combining the queso with 2 cups chopped spinach and 1 cup drained, chopped, marinated, canned artichoke hearts for an easy dip.
Best if made and used immediately but can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat before serving.
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Add some heat with ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes in step 2.
Makes 1½ Cups
⅔ cup raw cashews
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons tapioca flour
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
From “The Reducetarian Cookbook: 125 Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Omnivores, Vegans, and Everyone In-Between” by Reducetarian Foundation (Center Street, $21.99). Recipe developed by Pat Crocker. Photo by Ashleigh Amoroso.