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Whether you're looking for a snack for kick-off, a new starter for your next tailgate, or a binge-worthy chip n' dip fit for a Friday Night Lights marathon (real talk: that's about the only football I actually watch), there's one recipe that everyone (including Coach Taylor) will love: Butternut Squash Queso. It's a crowd-pleasing game-changer that's guaranteed not to make it past the first quarter...or episode one. It's what I'd call a fantasy football food.
Wait. Flag on the play. Time out. Let's huddle. Here's the deal: I know that classic queso is already extraordinary. It may seem silly (or even blasphemous) to incorporate a vegetable into an indulgent Tex-Mex cheese sauce, but I find that when you blend the traditional smokey-spicy queso with some roasted butternut squash, it becomes an extra silky-smooth, sweet-salty sauce that's incredibly addictive and, luckily, super simple to make. Ready? Break!
Our next play? The chips. As any armchair quarterback can tell you, tortilla chips are one the best ways to take down queso, but since we're already breaking tradition, you could also opt for sweet potato chips; they're the snacking equivalent of Tom Brady's diet (plant-based). And while this dip is great as just that, with nothing but a crispy sweet potato as a delivery vehicle, you could really (and should, really) use this queso for everything from nachos to baked potatoes to a decadent dipping sauce for quesadillas or, more accurately, quesodillas. (Because sometimes you want to dip your tortilla filled with melted cheese into more melted cheese, and I am nothing but supportive of that craving.)
When it comes down to that final Hail Mary pass, I think we can all agree that anything covered in queso counts as a touchdown. Clears eyes, full hearts—and stomachs—can't lose.
- 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup pepper jack or Monterey cheese, shredded
- 1-2 chipotle in adobo peppers (depending on how spicy you like it)
- Cilantro, chopped for garnish
- Scallions, chopped for garnish
- Serrano pepper, sliced thin, for garnish
- Sweet potato chips or tortilla chips, for serving
How do you like to dress up your queso? Let us know in the comments!