For a long time I thought I couldn’t indulge in things like buffalo chicken dip because of the Paleo rules. I was in the mentality that dieting meant giving up snack foods like this and depriving myself of good times involving food. But you’ve probably noticed that there are tons of recipes out there that allow you to have foods you love but in a healthier way.
It’s no fun going to a party and not being able to eat the food there, so you can either avoid it, bring your own if it’s potluck style, or eat it and then feel bad about it later. You could also host the party to have some quality control over what’s available in terms of food.
The first time I tried making this I pulled up some traditional recipes in order to find out what absolutely has to be in it. Of course there’s hot sauce, and for that I’ve gone with cayenne pepper rather than trusting what comes in store bought hot sauce bottles. They like to sneak in preservatives and other chemicals that just don’t belong.
Make sure to use some high quality organic chicken, cook it, and shred it up. To save time you can grab a rotisserie chicken and that cuts out a lot of your prep time. You can typically find an organic rotisserie chicken for a few dollars more next to the conventional ones.
A lot of these dips called for massive amounts of cheese, which was disappointing because cheese is a no-go, especially in large quantities like the ones prescribed in those traditional recipes. But you can take a page from the vegan cookbooks and use cashews to replicate the creamy, buttery taste that you just have to have in a buffalo chicken dip.
Plus you get the healthy benefits from cashews instead of the drawbacks of cheese. Cashews are a rich source of healthy fat, protein, and also contain a fair amount of fiber. There’s something about their consistency once they’re soaked and blended up. You don’t get the same texture from other nuts like almonds or walnuts.
Once you crack the “need cheese but can’t use it” problem the rest is just a matter of getting the right additional ingredients to sync up. I found that a mix of garlic, vinegar, red chili, and lemon juice is just what it needed, and then put the button on the whole thing with some nutritional yeast, which gives it a rich cheesy flavor.
Now you’ll be able to bring a Paleo-friendly dip to all of the big games, potlucks, and other parties and take part in the festivities without any remorse that you’re messing up your progress.
- 1 cup cashew nuts, soaked three hours
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic clove, minced
- 1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 red chili
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup macadamia oil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- salt, pepper to taste
- Place the cashew nuts in a glass bowl, cover with water and soak for three hours. Place the chili, vinegar, water and pinch of salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Let rest for an hour, then strain .
- Set the chili sauce aside. To make the mayonnaise, in a small bowl whisk the egg yolk. Add slowly half of oil, drop by drop whisking constantly. Then add ½ tbsp of lemon juice and mix well. Add the rest of oil in a slow stream and continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated. Transfer in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Drain the cashew nuts well and place them in a blender with the remaining lemon juice, nutritional yeast and minced garlic and process until smooth and thick. Add the chili sauce and cayenne pepper and mix well to combine.
- In a small baking dish, combine the shredded chicken, mayo and cashew mixture. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and serve warm with your favorite veggies.
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