Crave Eat Heal: Plant-Based, Whole-Foods Recipes to Satisy Every Appetite by Annie Oliverio. Review, Giveaway and Recipe for Butternut Squash Queso

Crave Eat Heal Cover

Sometimes I can’t even believe how the Universe works. I met Annie from An Unrefined Vegan over the internet several years ago through the vegan blogosphere. We became fast online friends during a strange series of serendipitous events. Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to meet in real life many times. We’ve helped each other through hardships and celebrated each other’s joys.

5 way

When Annie got her publishing contract through the Cedar Fort Publishing, a publishing company with Mormon roots and based in a town I used to live in, I thought things couldn’t get any more unexpectedly surrealistic. I’m convinced more than ever in fact that fate has gifted us both with this friendship.


During the last few years I’ve had the sweet opportunity of watching Annie climb her way up the ladder to a seriously professional photographer and recipe creator. She’s passionate about her work and it speaks for itself. Crave, Eat, Heal is definitely one of the most beautiful, well photographed and planned out vegan cookbooks to date.

matcha shortbreadGreen Matcha and Herb Shortbread

I was lucky enough to be involved in the recipe testing for this cookbook. The recipes are wholesome, with unrefined ingredients and lots of yummy flavors. Most of the recipes in the book are gluten-free to boot.

French Onion Dip

In a completely new and unique format, the recipes in this book are divided into chapters by cravings: carbs, chocolate, comfort, cool, creamy, crunchy, green, junk, salty, spicy, sweet, tart and warm.

hibiscus cherry cooler

Of all the recipes I tested however, the butternut squash queso was my absolute favorite, plus this base recipe serves as the cheddar cheez, which is absolutely divine.

Queso5 LR

This recipe was inspired by an appetizer at Matthew Kenney’s now-defunct “plant-based Mexican kitchen,” Tamazul, in Oklahoma City.  While everything I’ve eaten there has been delicious, fresh, and creative – their queso impressed me more than any other dish.  I was too shy to ask how they made it, so I set about creating my own version.

This also makes a delicious sauce for mac ’n’ cheez.

Gluten-free, Oil-free, Easy


Makes ~2 cups


  • 2 cups roasted* butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 8-12 hours, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp. white miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • Water, as needed


Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed or regular blender and process until very smooth.  You will need to tamp down the ingredients and add water – just a little at a time – during processing to get a very smooth texture.

Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and gently heat.  Serve warm with baked tortilla chips or fresh steamed vegetables. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Suggestions: Try using pumpkin puree or roasted sweet potato in place of the butternut squash. Reserve 1 cup of the queso to make Cheddar Cheez (see recipe on page XX). If you like it spicy, stir in a 1/4 cup of fresh, diced jalapeño peppers (or pickled jalapeños) – or for milder flavor – stir in a 1/4 cup of roasted red bell pepper. *Here’s how I roast a butternut squash:  Preheat the oven to 425-degrees and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Cut off the squash’s stem and pierce the skin a few times with a knife.  Place the whole squash on the baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the flesh of the squash is very soft (I test it by inserting a knife).  The skin will be shiny and dark brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before handling.  Peel off the skin, then break open the squash and scoop out the seeds.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Ann Oliverio and Front Table Books.


Visit Annie Oliverio at her blog: An Unrefined Vegan

Purchase your own copy of Crave, Eat, Heal: Plant-based, Whole-food Recipes to Satisfy Every Appetite. The book is available for pre-order now and will be released early in May.

Or, for a chance to win a copy of Crave Eat Heal, simply leave a comment on this post below. Two winners will be chosen, one  winner for the US and Canada will receive a hardcopy of the book, and one International winner will receive an electronic copy of the book. The winners will be chosen at random on April 30th! Good luck!






  1. I’m looking for the LOVE button, but it’s not on here! I don’t know what or who brought us together, but…it’s difficult to put into words how much your friendship has meant to me. Super big love and hugs. Okay, can’t type anymore cuz my eyes are filled with tears.

  2. April 30th is my son’s birthday, so I hope it will bring me luck to be the Canadian winner. 😉

  3. The universe works in mysterious ways! What a beautiful friendship you two have. I really enjoy and admire both of you talented human beings!! Looking forward to this book ❤

  4. What beautiful photographs and delicious looking recipes! Thank you for posting the queso. I have a 11 year old mac & cheez crazy girl living in my house, so we’ll definitely try it with the mac. 🙂

  5. I love Annie’s instagram! I can’t wait to check out these beautiful recipes! That queso sounds amazing! My stomach literally just growled 😉

  6. I am switching my family to this way of eating and I’d love this book to give me more inspiration and recipes!

  7. I love you two and how close you are! I’m honoured to know you both ❤
    Love your review Somer and your pictures – especially the hibiscus cherry cooler shot, so vibrant!

  8. I’m so excited for this book, especially the salty chapter. I think I first found Annie’s blog here on your website 🙂

  9. This book sounds great. I still have a very small vegan library, and only want to add the best out there. I don’t have room for more. I think I’ll have to make room for this one. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Wow, I just spent a loooong time going through Annie’s blog and saving recipes… (So much time that my husband just called down from upstairs to see if I was okay down here in the den, ha!) The book sounds great, and I definitely plan on buying it! That is, if I don’t win it first…… 😉

  11. I’m going to try the butternut squash queso and am going to pin it and send it to my friend and fellow vegan.

  12. Oh wow this quest looks incredible. I’ve had a butternut squash sitting on the shelf for two weeks now because I wasn’t sure what to do with it! Now I know 🙂 The cookbook looks divine as well, really unique recipes!! I’d be honored if I won. Fantastic work xx

  13. This looks iks incredible! What on earth is cayonaise? I am so intrigued. Thank you for opening the comp to internationals, too! 🙂

  14. Oh geez, that queso looks great. I’ve been entering every contest I can find for this book. Fingers crossed!!

  15. This looks so yummy. I eat a lot of Mexican food so I’m thinking of adding this to some of my recipes. So many great recipes in this book! Thanks for sharing.

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