Creamy Vegan Herb Dip

Vegan Herb Dip
Vegan Herb Dip
Photo, Christy K. Pollock

Nothing can truly replace the taste or mouth-feel of sour cream or cream cheese. We vegans should just honor our memories of dairy dip by improving on it. If you’re too full after the game on TV for a real meal, at least you haven’t messed up as badly, having gorged on the protein and fiber in this dip.

Lots of vegan analogs use soaked cashews for the dairy component. The dry bean shortcut of a “quick-soak” using boiling water works great for people like me who are patience impaired.

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews (“pieces” cheaper than whole)
  • 1 can white beans (14.5-16 oz.), such as cannellini, even chickpeas, rinsed and drained, about 2 cups
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon cider or rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, bottled OK
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil OR vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed (NOT seed) OR chives, to start
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to start
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, to start
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional

Cashews: In a small bowl, cover the nuts and garlic in water and soak, refrigerated, 4-12 hours. Quick soak: Cover the nuts and garlic in boiling water and soak at room temperature 30-60 minutes. With either method, drain, reserving the water.

Place the nuts and garlic in a food processor or blender, add vinegar, lemon juice and oil and puree at least 2 minutes to a thick, smooth consistency. Add beans, salt and pepper and puree to combine. One Tablespoon at a time, add reserved soaking water to the dip until it’s dip consistency; 2-6 Tablespoons is typical.

Spoon into serving bowl. Stir in dried herbs. Taste, adding more herbs, salt and/or pepper, and optional smoked paprika as needed. Cover and let the herbs hydrate and flavors marry at least an hour. Makes about 3 cups of dip.

Notes

Why not wine vinegar? Red or balsamic would give this a weird color.

At my house, we’ve more than doubled the dried herbs. Rationale: The intense flavors of store-bought dips comes from additives. You’ve got the spices (cheap when bought in bulk at natural food stores) so use ’em.

Of course, substitute fresh herbs for the dry: About 2 Tablespoons chopped dill fronds is wonderful. Two Tablespoons of chopped fresh chives OR sliced green scallions go great in the oniony-style dip.

Raw walnuts or other mild nut could substitute for the cashews. Top flight vegan chefs choose cashews for their blandness and fat content.

Adapted from Ellen Kanner blog post, “Keep Cool: Creamy Dill Dip