Whenever my out-of-town friends land in Austin, it seems like they’re united in a single-minded mission: to eat as much Tex-Mex as humanly possible while they’re here. Recently, while briefing one of them on the merits of various breakfast taco spots, I was shocked to learn that she’d never heard of queso. Wha?! In Texas, queso is as ubiquitous as hot dogs in New York, and everyone I know loves it… and also feels a little guilty after eating it. More on that later, but first: the inspiration behind today’s recipe. When Garden of Eatin’ invited us to be part of their #ChippedChallenge, the immediate reaction from everyone on our team was, “I am obsessed with those chips!!” So of course I had to try five different flavors of them, and then quickly became obsessed, too.

Our#ChippedChallenge was to take a classic dish and reimagine it as something lighter with more natural ingredients. I decided to help queso get over its naughty reputation as a “faux” food (traditional home versions are often made with Velveeta and canned Rotel tomatoes) by creating a version that’s made with all real, wholesome ingredients… and that’s even more delicious. I’m a big believer that there’s a place in every healthy diet for all kinds of food, and that (barring allergies) nothing needs to be strictly off-limits. That includes cheese, when it’s real high-quality cheese, and chips, when they’re made using organic, non-GMO ingredients like Garden of Eatin’ does.

My picks for favorite chip flavors to dip into this queso? (from top) Pumpkin, Blue Corn, Sweet Potato, & Kale. They’re also amazing dipped into salsa and are strong enough to hold up to hummus, as I discovered during yesterday’s pre-dinner snacking session…The first step in making this queso is to prep all your ingredients. Once you start sautéing, the process moves really quickly, and (as you can see above), the cheese melts super fast. You want to serve this baby right away while it’s still hot! The key to giving this queso an unusually bright, zippy flavor is all in the toppings: I chopped up tomatoes, red onion, avocado, and cilantro for a crunchy fresh finish that balances out the cheese’s creaminess. You’ll want to get a little bit of avocado with each dip of your chip — it’s an amazing flavor combo with the cheese. Serve it in a pretty heatproof bowl surrounded with a few different flavors of Garden of Eatin’ chips, and a few veggie sticks if desired. It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, and definitely a sophisticated take on a food that’s usually thought of as relatively junky (but that everyone secretly loves.) A margarita would also be a good accompaniment here, especially if you’re planning any March Madness parties.Hop on over to the Garden of Eatin’ Facebook page to play the #ChippedChallenge yourself and win some amazing prizes. And, just for kicks: I want to hear in the comments if you’ve never tried queso! (I’m still in awe that this is possible.)

*photos by Kate Zimmerman. This post was sponsored by Garden of Eatin’ – all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting our partners!

No Guilt Chips + Queso

Serves 6

ingredients


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ cup white cheddar - shredded
  • 1 1/2 cup Chihuahua cheese – shredded (you could also sub Monterey jack here)
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • ½ small red onion, chopped, divided
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 small avocado, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Garden of Eatin’ chips
instructions


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add jalapenos, chopped red onion (reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish), and ½ teaspoon salt and stir over medium for about 4 minutes until onion is softened.
  2. Sprinkle the flour and cumin into pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer, then cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken.
  3. While the mixture is simmering combine chopped tomatoes, remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped red onion, chopped avocado, and half the cilantro. Set aside.
  4. To queso, add remaining half of cilantro and both cheeses, and stir until melted and well-blended. Transfer to serving dish and top with tomato and onion mixture. Serve with Garden of Eatin’ chips.
13 comments
  1. 1
    Jess | March 23, 2015 at 11:46 am

    This sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. 2
    Sue/theviewfromgreatisland | March 23, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Where have pumpkin chips been all my life? I’m heading out to track them down 🙂

    Reply
  3. 3
    Chanel Dror | March 23, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Drooling on my keyboard.

    Reply
  4. 4
    Kelly Colchin | March 23, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I love queso and cannot wait to chow down on this recipe!

    Reply
  5. 5
    Leah L | March 23, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    This looks delish! I’m a recent San Antonio transplant (from Canada) so I’ll have to woo my new neighbors with this asap

    Reply
  6. 6
    Debra | March 23, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Always a fan of blue chips, and natch Queso Wha!!!!!! just need some Sangria!

    Reply
  7. 8
    Molly McConn | March 24, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Know what you mean about the out-of-town guests. My sister and her husband (who live in Boston) made sure we’d dine at a few Tex Mex spots when they come in town in May. I also promised them a 0 percent chance of snow 🙂

    Reply
  8. 9
    Kathleen McGlade | March 24, 2015 at 9:32 am

    making this!

    Reply
  9. 10
    Bre | March 24, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    This post made me severely hungry. Mmmmm queso…

    Reply
  10. 11
    Sandy Coughlin | March 25, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Love this Camille. Great party food, and I agree, their chips are the best EVER!

    Reply
  11. 12
    Thalia @ butter and brioche | March 27, 2015 at 2:57 am

    I definitely have to make this… I can’t get enough of any type of dip and crackers.

    Reply
  12. 13
    katecope27 | August 29, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    So excited to make this – I loveeeee queso! I’m shocked too when people have never heard of it! The best queso I’ve ever had is in San Antonio, Texas of course!

    Reply
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