This Hot Caprese Dip is the love child of two incredible hors d’oeuvres: white queso dip + caprese salad.  I stumbled across this appetizer on What’s Gaby Cooking‘s blog, and instantly knew I wanted to veganize it.  This was a last minute decision to make the day before Christmas Eve, when I was frantically scrambling for something savory to make for our holiday appetizer and dessert party, and while I was simply thinking about my tastebuds, I didn’t realize how festive the colors would be until I threw it together! Win Win.caprese, caprese dip, cheese dip, vegan cheese, basil, tomato, pesto, pesto dipThe base of thid Caprese Dip is made from cashew mozzarella- a gooey, bubbly rendition of the real cheese that is just begging to be scooped up with crusty bread or a grainy cracker. Then pesto is swirled in to the cheese sauce (literally my favorite- pesto goes good with EVERYTHING) and the tomatoes get all blistery in the oven, revealing their natural sweetness. I’m telling you, this appetizer is a game changer- especially when it comes to “fooling” people into eating vegan food.caprese, caprese dip, cheese dip, vegan cheese, basil, tomato, pesto, pesto dipAlthough cashews are the main ingredient in this recipe, basil plays a critical role in its flavoring. Basil is  my absolute FAVORITE herb.  Every summer I grow it in pots on my deck, but I think I need to just start planting it in every free space of my yard, because I go through it like water. However, basil is more than just a tasty addition, it also benefits the body by:

  • increasing antioxidant activity
  • provides antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to fight infections
  • has the ability to act as a natural adaptogen, an herbal remedy that helps the body adapt to stress and regulate the harmful effects of stressors
  • helps to reduce bloating and water retention,  stomach cramps, and acid reflux (so great to infuse some water with to drink after dinner)

The holidays may be over but I have a feeling I will be making Hot Caprese Dip for parties throughout the entire year now! I can especially guarantee this will also be on the menu for my Superbowl party this year, along with my Ultimate Guacamole. Mmm Mmm…I’m getting hungry just thinking about that combo.  OK- here’s the recipe, I can’t wait to hear what you think!caprese, caprese dip, caprese salad, vegan cheese, cheese dip, basil, tomato, mozzarella


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