Creamy sauces and dips are the definition of comfort food. They’re guaranteed crowd-pleasers at parties, family dinners, or when you’re just lounging around in your pajamas eating snacks.
But when you’re vegan, the word “creamy” is a bit trickier since you’re no longer eating… well, cream. Or the milk-laden cheese that makes for all that gooey chip-dippin’ goodness.
Never fear. It turns out creamy dips are all over the plant-based world (including vegan ranch dressing and vegan spinach artichoke dip!), and they’re made with everything from avocado to cashews to cauliflower. So go ahead, get those party platters ready—we guarantee you’ll never even miss queso.
A game day favorite, Buffalo dip tastes great with everything from veggies to tortilla chips. This recipe uses cashews, potato, white beans, and cauliflower to create that creamy consistency you would typically associate with butter or cream cheese. It’s so rich that you’ll barely be able to tell it’s not the traditional version. It’s also packed with protein and healthy fat, making this dip just filling enough to keep you from eating the whole bowl. Maybe.
Check out this video for another delish spin on Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Dip:
Here’s another party favorite that’s easy to make a little healthier. Soaked cashews take center stage, with tapioca starch adding thickness and bulk to the sauce. Once you get the consistency just right, add frozen spinach and chopped artichokes and bake until it’s bubbling and ready to serve. Honestly, we’re getting hungry just thinking about it.
Yes, vegan queso. It sounds like an oxymoron, but thanks to this brilliant version from 40Aprons that replicates the creaminess and tang of cheese, you’ll never even notice this is dairy-free. All you need is a high-powered blender to whip up that thick, smooth texture and you can drizzle it over nachos to your heart’s content. We also love the following version from Cheryl Malik.
The best thing this dip has going for it is that gorgeous purple color—just look at it! Who knew veggies could be that pretty? Beets get naturally sweeter when you roast them, making them a surprisingly natural addition to desserts and smoothies. In this dip, they’re paired with garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a spread that’s the perfect balance between sweet and savory.
Try out this twist on classic guacamole with a tahini and olive oil base. It’s made with only seven ingredients, is low in carbs, and tastes amazing when you chill it in the fridge before serving. Sub out tahini for nut butter if that suits your fancy. Best of all, it takes only 10 minutes to prep in your food processor, so you can whip this one up when you’re hosting guests and don’t have time to do any major cooking.
Sweet potato is such an unexpectedly versatile food. You can bake it, roast it, mash it, blend it in smoothies, and eat it as part of practically any meal of the day. This dip uses tahini and olive oil (dream-team combo? Yep.) and a blend of spicy seasonings like cinnamon and chili powder—but you could also live on the edge here and tweak the spices however you like. The end result looks almost just like hummus, but it tastes like a sweet potato. Yep, we’re obsessed.
Store-bought French onion dip is the furthest thing from healthy—it’s loaded with dairy, oils, and artificial ingredients. But this homemade version skips the processed stuff and uses cashews and apple cider vinegar instead. It’s made with two whole onions (because it’s onion dip, and we’re keeping things real). If you’re avoiding soy products, use almond or cashew milk instead of soy.
Muhammara is a roasted red pepper and walnut dip commonly found in traditional Syrian cooking. It’s an easy way to use up a big batch of peppers if you bought a few too many. Don’t let the ingredient list intimidate you—most things are relatively easy to find, and you can always make your own pomegranate molasses if you don’t want to search for the store-bought kind. Just heat up pomegranate juice on the stove, add a little lemon and sugar, and let it simmer until it thickens.
For those nights when you’re craving a seven-layer burrito (we’ve all been there), reach for this vegan seven-layer dip instead. It’s got homemade guac, “refried” beans cooked in coconut oil and vegetable broth, hummus, salsa, vegan cheese, chopped tomatoes, and green onions. We practically want to bathe in this stuff. You could put it on nachos, wrap it in a tortilla, or throw your own Taco Tuesday-themed gathering and serve up margs.
Ranch dressing that’s Paleo, vegan, Whole30-friendly and ready in a matter of minutes? Sign. Us. Up. Raw soaked cashews form the base of this dressing from Fork and Beans, while apple cider vinegar and lemon give it the perfect tangy kick. Serve it at a party and your ranch-loving friends will never even notice the difference. Win? We sure think so. Here are three more vegan versions from Sarah Tribett.
WTF is a jackfruit? If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out. It’s a tropical fruit with a hard shell and soft exterior that tastes remarkably like pulled pork or crab, so it’s somewhat of a vegan meat substitute staple. This dip is just as rich as its traditional meaty cousin, but thanks to the clean ingredients, you can easily justify a second (or third) helping.
A lot of vegan dips use nuts or olive oil to up the thickness factor, but this recipe doesn’t need to rely on either one. The secret ingredient here is hemp seeds—they add bulk along with a substantial serving of protein. You can use dried herbs if you have them in your pantry, or *bonus points* if you chop up some fresh ones instead. This tastes amazing spread on a pita and served with rice and veggies—way better than ordering Greek takeout.
This recipe immediately brings to mind visions of black bean burgers and sweet potato fries. Instead of drenching them in junky processed dips, make your own with just five ingredients: cashews, lemon juice, salt, water, and chipotle peppers. If you’ve got half an avocado lying around, throw it in for extra creaminess. It’s got that spicy kick that we just love with loaded fries or tater tots. (BRB, making this immediately.)
It’s dessert dip time—the moment you’ve really been waiting for, right? If you’re one of those people who ate Nutella by the jar as a kid, you’ll go nuts for this one (literally). It’s refined sugar-free and gets its sweetness from dates instead. You can soak them overnight if you want to make the mixture easier to blend; otherwise just throw ’em in the food processor and blend everything up! Add more or less water depending on how thick you like your spread.
When the sweet tooth hits and you want something to drizzle over ice cream, brownies, or fruit, try this salted caramel sauce. It’s made with—surprise—tahini, which sounds like an unexpected combo, but the flavor really works. Add some salt and you’ve got a gourmet dessert on lock. Stored in a mason jar in the fridge, this sauce will keep for up to two weeks… if you can make it that long without eating it.
This protein-packed cake batter dip is designed to be a single serving, and it can be whipped up in just a few minutes—perfect for when a dessert craving strikes. Plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan with a Paleo option, depending on which protein powder you use. Add sprinkles and chocolate chips and call it a day. It’s the perfect sweet treat with none of the sketchy ingredients.
Even though it’s the middle of summer, we’re dreaming about the crisp fall days to come. As soon as the weather cools off, celebrate with this Paleo and vegan pumpkin pie dip, guaranteed to be a staple at holiday gatherings. Even better—it’s only four ingredients. That’s it! Put out some sliced apples and graham crackers and watch it disappear in no time.