Can you even believe what is going on here? This skillet. This dip. This cheeeeese. This skinny chili cheese dip.
Whoa wait, skinny chili cheese dip? Does that even make any sense?
It does when you mix the cheese with pureed cauliflower, the magical transforming vegetable. I know I know, I was skeptical at first too. But trust me when I tell you that the cauliflower creates a creamy béchamel like base for the cheese to melt into.
♥♥♥ food that's healthy but tastes like it's deliciously bad for you.
Most recipes that use cauliflower as a base for cream sauces suggest boiling or sautéing it, but I wanted the cauliflower to act not just as a base but to add flavour to the dip too. By roasting the cauliflower until it is very brown, it develops a deep, nutty flavour that works great with the chili spices.
I want you to make me a promise.
Promise me you won't leave the lime out of the recipe. I know it probably sounds a little odd, but it makes the whole dish. It adds a brightness to the dip that makes all the other flavours pop.
I have to give credit to my handsome man for the lime. That man is pure genius.
Let's talk a little about turning veggies into things they're not meant to be. I've been on a bit of a transforming vegetables kick lately. There was the cauliflower fried “rice”, the zucchini noodle spaghetti and then last week the pad thai made from carrot noodles.
I seriously love how versatile veggies can be. I'm mean really, how awesome is it that you can replace an unhealthy part of a dish with a vegetable and hardly know the difference?!!
Typically when you make a cheese sauce, you start with a mixture of butter, flour and milk that is called a béchamel sauce. By cooking then blending cauliflower with a little water, you can create a base that has the same consistency as béchamel.
It's pure awesomeness.
If you make this Skinny Chili Cheese Dip make sure to snap a pic and hashtag #theendlessmeal on Instagram so I can like and comment on it!
- 3 cups chopped cauliflower - about ½ head
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon oil
- ¾ cup water
- 2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons Mexican chili powder
- ¼ - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- Juice from ½ lime (use fresh lime juice!)
- 1 garlic clove, very finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes (see notes)
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- Extra chili powder (if you want the pretty darker patches in the dip)
- 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper
- Preheat your oven to broil at 420 degrees. Place the oven rack on the top shelf. (If you don't have control over the broil temp on your oven lower the oven rack a shelf or two.)
- Place the cauliflower and onion to a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the oil. Broil for 20 minutes, stirring halfway, until the cauliflower is soft and quite brown.
- Blend the cauliflower on high with the water then pour it into a small skillet over medium-high heat. Heat the cauliflower until it starts to bubble then stir in the cheese. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the Mexican chili powder, cayenne, fresh lime juice, garlic and sea salt. Taste for seasoning then top with the tomatoes, onions, tomato and optional extra chili powder.