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

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