In partnership withCalifornia Walnuts

Warm Creamy Corn and Walnut Dip Is the Best Way to Use Summer Produce Tonight

published Jun 2, 2022
summer
Warm Creamy Corn and Walnut Dip Recipe

Sweet corn and salty Cotija cheese bake together in a creamy walnut sauce to make a craveable dip for veggies and chips.

Serves6 to 8

Makesabout 5 cups

Prep20 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Food Stylist: Martha Tinkler

When summer is in full swing and corn is in season, use those sweet kernels of goodness in as many ways as you can. While corn is usually eaten as a side dish, this warm, creamy dip with a walnut cream base proves that it’s also right at home as an appetizer or happy hour snack. Just stir a few ingredients together, bake until bubbly, and serve with a colorful array of dippers.

The Secret to Creaminess

A lot of creamy dips rely on cream cheese or sour cream for richness, but that often makes them too rich. Ditch the dairy options and use California walnuts instead for a dip that’s still impossibly creamy. With just two ingredients — walnuts and water — you can purée a light, airy “cream” that makes an excellent dairy substitute. Walnut cream is also a great thickener for spreads, sauces, and desserts.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Food Stylist: Martha Tinkler

Walnuts also give an added boost of protein and fiber, making them a healthful indulgence. Make walnut cream simply by blending walnuts and water together in a food processor or blender. The luscious sauce can be used in sweet or savory dishes. Here, the added spoonful of chili powder pushes it to the savory side of things.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Food Stylist: Martha Tinkler

How to Make Creamy Corn and Walnut Dip

Once you make the walnut cream, mix in fresh or frozen corn kernels, scallions, Cotija cheese, a little bit of mayonnaise, canned diced green chiles (go with hot if you want a spicy kick!), and lime zest and lime juice to cut through the sweetness and nuttiness. Bake until bubbly, which will take about 30 minutes.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Broe; Food Stylist: Martha Tinkler

Serve the warm dip with crackers or tortilla chips for scooping. Cut-up vegetables like carrots, radishes, jicama, bell peppers, or cucumbers are also great options for a lighter snack and an easy way to get another serving of vegetables in for the day.

Stash some California walnuts in the refrigerator or freezer (not at room temperature) so they stay fresh and are ready for snacking. Or, reach for them to make this dip in celebration of long summer days and corn season.

Warm Creamy Corn and Walnut Dip Recipe

Sweet corn and salty Cotija cheese bake together in a creamy walnut sauce to make a craveable dip for veggies and chips.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes about 5 cups

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 cups

    fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 20 ounces)

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 cup

    raw California walnuts

  • 1/2 cup

    water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    chili powder

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 2

    medium limes

  • 4 ounces

    Cotija cheese

  • 1 (4-ounce) can

    mild or hot diced green chiles

  • 4

    medium scallions

  • 1/2 cup

    mayonnaise

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Serving options: crackers, tortilla chips, sliced carrots, sliced radishes, sliced cucumber, sliced bell peppers

Instructions

  1. Thaw 4 cups frozen corn kernels if needed. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Coat a 10-inch cast iron skillet, 8x8-inch, or other 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

  2. Place 1 cup raw California walnuts, 1/2 cup water, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, and 1 garlic clove in a blender or regular or mini food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until very smooth, light, and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through, about 1 minute total. Transfer to a large bowl.

  3. Prepare the following, adding each ingredient to the bowl as you complete it: Finely grate the zest of 2 medium limes (about 1 tablespoon). Juice one of the limes until you have 1 tablespoon. Crumble 4 ounces Cotija cheese (scant 1 cup). Drain 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles. Thinly slice 4 medium scallions (about 1/3 cup); reserve 1 tablespoon of the dark green parts for garnish, then add the remaining to the bowl.

  4. Add the corn, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and stir to combine. Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer.

  5. Bake until bubbling and starting to brown around the edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the reserved scallions and serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or sliced vegetables for dipping.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dip can be assembled, covered, and refrigerated in the baking dish for a few hours. Uncover and bake according to instructions, adding a few more minutes to the bake time.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.