Your fave thing about football season (besides your team, natch) is the tailgating food. In the off season you dream of the heaping mounds of nachos and trays of spicy chicken wings you’re missing. But it’s the decadent queso dips you find most irresistible, because what’s not to love about tons of melted cheese? Except, maybe, the calories. Well this football season, you can eat with abandon. Here are 18 queso recipes with healthy veggie fillers that are whipped up to *cheesy* perfection. SCORE!


1. Skinny Chili Cheese Dip: This dip has all the real-cheese goodness you love, but it’s thickened with pureéd cauliflower. You’ve gotta HEART a dip that’s healthy, but still tastes like it’s deliciously bad for you. (via The Endless Meal)


2. Vegan Butternut Queso: Oh, em, gee — this queso is bonafide wholesome, yet it has the nacho cheese-y look, taste and texture of the real deal. Whip up a batch for your next football get-together and none of your peeps will be the wiser. (via Laura Wright / The First Mess)


3. Slow Cooker Steak Nachos With Spicy Butternut Squash Queso: This real-cheese dip is full of the real-cheese flavor you crave at half the fat and calories, thanks to butternut squash in the mix. Serve it as a dip or pour it over veggies or your very special slow cooker fajitas — it’s ALL good. (via Love & Zest)


4. Paleo Chili Cheese Dip: This one’s for the Paleo peeps in the house! This queso is robust with all the grassfed ground beef your taco-loving heart desires. Packed with soaked nuts and veggies and flavored with salty nutritional yeast, it has that real chili-cheese taste you crave, without the forbidden dairy. (via Little Bits of…)


5. Nacho Sweet Potato Cheese: This vegan cheese sauce is thickened with whipped sweet potatoes that give it the look and texture of the real thing. But it’s the subtle pop of heat from Sriracha that will set your tastebuds a tingling. (via Connoisseurus Veg)


6. Vegan Chipotle Carrot Queso: Skeptical that a vegan queso can fulfill your cheesalicious expectations? Prepare to meet your new addiction — this creamy chipotle-carrot dip tastes just like the real deal. (via Cookie and Kate)


7. Dairy-Free Chili Cheese Dip: Taco seasoning and black beans give this dip real fiesta flavor. The recipe is so easy-peasy you can whip it up for your next football viewing party, even if it’s a party of one. (via Delish Knowledge)


8. Vegan Torchy’s Queso Copycat Made With Potato and Homemade Rojo Sauce: This potato queso is flavored with genuine rojo sauce that’s so piquante, you’ll forget it’s dairy-free. Better make a double batch, because everyone in the house is going to want some. (via Healthy Slow Cooking)


9. Easy Vegan Queso: This easy-peasy *queso* dip comes together in 10 minutes with just five ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Lazy vegan girl FTW! (via Hummusapien)

CL JanFeb 16: Wow! Butternut Squash Queso Fundido

10. Butternut Queso Fundido: This real-cheese queso clocks in at half the calories, thanks to pureéd butternut squash in place of half the usual amount of cheese. Spiced up with chilis, onions and cilantro, it will fool even the most die-hard Super Bowl foodies. (via MyRecipes)


11. Nacho Snacks With Carrot “Queso”: While many cashew-based “cheeses” certainly satisfy, this DF queso is thickened with starchy potato to achieve the more realistic ooey-gooey texture of the real thing. Top it with all the fixins, and your tummy will be soooooo happy. (via Love and Lemons)


12. Skillet Butternut + Chipotle Queso Fundido: Don’t you love dips that come together in a single skillet? Better place one at either end of the buffet table to avoid the impending traffic jam when your peeps hear there’s queso in the house. (via Malibu Kitchen)


13. Dairy-Free Cheese Sauce: This one’s for the AIP peeps — and maybe that’s even you. Tailgating parties can be tough on anyone with an auto-immune condition, but this queso made with zero weird flours, starches or emulsifiers may be just what the doctor ordered. (via Meatified)


14. Cashew-less Vegan Queso: No doubt about it, cashews make a delicious vegan cheese sauce, but they’re still pretty high in fat. This skinny version is thickened with roasted eggplant for a velvety, savory, super cheesy, slightly spicy, perfectly dippable, totally pourable sauce for all your favorite football foods. (via Minimalist Baker)


15. Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip: This dip is easy to make and yet it looks SO impressive. The hidden veggie here is spinach but no one will ever guess. (via Oh She Glows / Plant-Powered Kitchen)


16. Vegan Queso Blanco: Calling all clean eaters! This clean queso is made with 100 percent whole foods and no weird chemicals or emulsifiers. Take it to your next party and watch as it gets devoured before anyone even guesses it’s vegan. (via Veggies Don’t Bite)


17. Healthy Queso Dip With Butternut Squash: You can keep on looking for the flavor of the squash in this dip, but you may not even taste it thanks to all the Tex-Mex spices, tomatoes, green chilies and creamy Monterey Jack cheese. If you plan to sample this dip before your guests arrive, you’d better double or even triple the recipe — it’s so good you just can’t stop. (via Rachel Cooks)


18. Three-Cheese Sweet Potato Queso: The three cheeses in this dip give it real-cheesy goodness. The sweet potato and low-fat milk cut the fat and calories in half. So go ahead and dip, dip, dip to your heart’s content. (via The Gourmet RD)

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