My mom and I used to get jalapeño poppers from Sonic (America’s Drive In!) all the time when I was a teenager. Since going vegan over 4 years ago I don’t think I’ve had a jalapeño popper, which is just an absolute travesty. I know, I could always make them at home, but I hate frying in my kitchen.
A few months ago I was perusing some omnivorous-type foodie blogs and happened upon a recipe for jalapeño popper dip. I made a note to myself to veganize it, and veganize I did! I created a cashew cheese inspired by the recipe from Veganomicon, plus added some extra spices and other ingredients. I’ve brought the dish to two get-togethers now and it’s received great reviews, so now I’ll share the recipe with the world!
It’s up to you to decide how you want to handle your jalapeños. Personally, I love spicy food, but I know most people don’t like the level of heat I enjoy. The first time I made the dip I had spicy jalapeños and de-seeded all but maybe two of the peppers and it turned out plenty spicy. Another time I made the dip my peppers were not spicy at all, so I left in the majority of the seeds.
Vegan Jalapeño Popper Dip
Jalapeño and Onion Mixture
- 1/2 pound (about 6 of 7) jalapeños, stems cut off, de-seeded if desired, and cut thinly into circles or half moons. Reserve 1 pepper for the cashew cheese.
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup cashews
- 1/2 pound firm tofu, crumbled up a bit with your fingers
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
Bread Crumb Topping
- 1/2 bag (approx. 1 cup) of whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup margarine (I use Earth Balance)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
Preheat oven to 375°
Place cashews in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add tofu and garlic, process for 30 seconds, and scrape down sides with a rubber spatula. With the food processor running add the olive oil and lemon juice, let the processor run for about 30 more seconds, scrape down the sides again, add salt and half of the jalapeño. Process for another minute, or until smooth and creamy. If you want your cheese to be more spicy/jalapeño-y then add the remaining half of the jalapeño. If not, you can slice it up to sautee with the rest of the peppers.
Preheat 1 tsp of olive oil in a large non-stick pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Sautee the onion in oil until it just begins to brown a little bit. Add the jalapeños (and open a window,because it’s about to get smoky) and continue to sautee until the jalapeños begin to soften a bit.
Spread the cashew cheese into and 8″x8″ casserole dish and add the jalapeño and onion mixture. Stir it all up until well incorporated and spread it evenly.
Heat the margarine in a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Once the margarine has melted add the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, and cumin. Stir until the margarine has been absorbed and the breadcrumbs begin to toast a bit. Spread the bread crumb mixture evenly on top of the dip. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips!