Cold days and early nights are the perfect excuse to indulge in some classic comfort food. It is currently in the 30s where I live and the sun rarely makes an appearance. Thus, comfort food is not only delicious, but it is a necessity! Classics like macaroni and cheese, steak and mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, and cheese fondue are all good options for a warm and hearty winter meal.
This weekend, for a twist on a creamy bean and cheese dip, I made a healthy but satisfying Mexican dip. The dip is unassumingly vegetarian and vegan, and received high reviews all around.
HOT MEXICAN DIP
1 TB canola or olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
1/4 cup flour (all-purpose, spelt, or whole wheat would work well)
2 TB tahini
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (available in specialty or health food stores, and often in the bulk bins of mainstream grocery stores)
1/3 cup + 2 TB milk
1 tsp agave or maple syrup
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can green chiles, drained
1 tsp chile powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (decrease or omit if you prefer milder dishes)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lemon, juiced
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion for 4-5 minutes or until slightly browned.
Add the flour, tahini, nutritional yeast, tomatoes, milk, agave or maple syrup, and stir until mixed completely.
Adjust the heat to low, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chiles and all of the spices. Cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Transfer the dip to a serving dish and serve warm alongside vegetables, chips, or anything else. I served the dip with sliced bell peppers, baby carrots, and tortilla chips. It would also pair well with pitas or pita chips, mushrooms, and warm tortillas.
If you find yourself with leftover dip (don’t count on it!), use it as a topping on salads, soups, roasted vegetables, baked potatoes, burritos, or tacos. The hot Mexican dip is a great appetizer for any occasion (casual dinners, barbeques, Cinco de Mayo parties, etc.), but it is also hearty enough that it can serve 2-3 people as a light meal. However or whenever served, this dip is sure to provide a (deceivingly) rich and robust flavor and fulfill your desires for a warm, comforting meal during a dark, winter day.