What would cashews have to do with jalapeno nacho cheese dip? Let’s consult my handy dandy 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden… it says “A lot.” Cashews are in fact the base of this dip and before you dismiss this as hippie quackery I urge you to give it a try.
Cashews and nuts in general have been scientifically shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and attacks. It does this through its monounsaturated content which raises good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers the bad (LDL). Cashews are rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper, manganese and selenium. Add to that 5 g of protein and 1 g of fiber per ounce. Have I mentioned that it’s delicious? Just ask my meat-eating-Sarah’s-a-crazy-hippie friend who said “Frito Lay Jalapeno Dip? Yeah I love that stuff! Oh but this is waaaay better.”
Jalapeño Cheese Dip (adapted from Amy Healy)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (fresh or roasted)
- 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for a few hours then drained – optional step)
- 1 medium slice of fresh onion, diced (or 2 tsp onion powder)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp pink salt
- 2-3 T nutritional yeast (try it!)
- 4 T water +/-
- 2 T fresh lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
- 1/2-3 jalapeño pepper with seeds
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Blend all ingredients in a VitaMix, blender or food processor until smooth. Refrigerate.
Put it on some of these recipes or try it on any of your own:
For a comparison to Frito Lay Jalapeno Cheddar Dip let’s look at the obvious. The Frito Lay Jalapeno Cheddar dip lists MSG twice in the ingredients; once as monosodium glutamate and the other as autolyzed yeast extract (yep, that’s MSG!).
I’m trying to find more ways to sneak healthy greens into everyday foods other than the cooked way. I am just not a fan of warm squishy greens – but more power to you if you do! For those of you who need a boat load of sauce or dominant flavoring I think you’ll be more than surprised at this awesome pasta salad. The kale is actually a pleasant addition to one of my favorite ‘salad’ flavors – Caprese and it’s dairy-free too.
Kaleprese Pasta Salad
- 1 12 oz. package cooked gluten-free pasta (brown rice, quinoa, etc.)
- 10 oz. grape tomatoes, diced
- 1/8 tsp pink salt
- 2 T basil, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dino/tuscan kale (~3 leaves)
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder, optional
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic (save 1/2 tsp finely minced)
- 3 T fresh lemon juice (~1/2+ lemon) white balsamic vinegar might be ok here
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and cooled (350° for 10 mins – flip 1/2 way)
- 1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 cup basil
- 1/4 tsp raw honey, optional
- Optional: mozzarella or parmesan
- It’s easy to cook the pasta while making the rest of the salad, or you can make in advance.
- In a bowl mix the tomatoes, salt, and 2 T basil. Allow to sit and drain before adding to pasta.
- In another bowl mix kale, garlic powder (if using) and 1 T olive oil. Massage kale with oil until softened.
- In a blender combine garlic, lemon juice, walnuts, 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil (enough to cover the blades), thyme, red pepper flakes, white pepper, honey and basil. Blend until almost smooth and all ingredients are well blended.
- Pour the dressing onto the pasta and mix, then add the kale, remaining garlic and tomatoes. Mix well and cool before serving.
- Optional: add mozzarella or parmesan.
Check out this other kale salad recipe and learn more about this awesome veggie! You can also try other veggies like arugula, spinach, dandelion greens or chard. Why stop there? Add green beans, peas, broccoli – anything you like! This is one easy way to enjoy eating your vegetables.
Do you have one of these cruet doohickeys from the Good Seasons dressing? I haven’t looked for one recently, as this one is older than the memory in which I bought it. Well if you have one, GREAT-no need to measure! If not, that’s cool since I’ll provide measurements.
Have you ever had, or thought of, basil and jalapeno together? At first I had my reservations, but I needed dressing STAT and with options (and energy) low, I whipped this up. It is the easiest dressing besides oil & vinegar and delicious to boot. The sweet of the basil, the spice of the jalapeno and the tang of the vinegar are just the epitome of summer, and that color! It’s the perfect shade of chartreuse.
Basil & Jalapeno Dressing
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 3 T water
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 jalapeno, 1/2 seeds removed for a decent spice
- 2-3 oz basil
- 2- 3 small, or 1- 2 medium, cloves of garlic
- In a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth. Pre-chop your vegetables and herbs if necessary to ensure a smooth consistency.
That’s it! It’s so fresh and bright, that’s why the white balsamic is important. After seeing several tantalizing recipes featuring the vinegar, I easily found some and have made much use of it since. If I had used original balsamic, the flavor would have been much more tangy and the color a brown-ish green. Whatever is convenient for you will work.