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Vegan Ranch Dip

Editors note: We’re glad to bring you content from others in our community that are committed to a vegan lifestyle. This post is from Cheryl Still, who is working this summer with a local farm bringing wonderful produce to our local farmer’s markets. If you missed her previous post, check it out. This post takes a vegetable that’s plentiful in Michigan right now and gives you a great recipe! 

20160716_191514Fresh and crisp raw vegetables—the amazing flavors of seasonal Michigan summer produce. Sugar snap peas, carrots, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers are just a few of the vegetables that aesthetically please the eye with their bright colors while the fresh flavors and crisp textures satisfy the tongue just as much.

Looking for a flavorful dip for your summer veggies? I’ve got just the one—a tangy and cool ranch dressing made from raw cashews and coconut cream, exploding with the flavor of fresh herbs. Keep reading to the end for the recipe.

I made the dip for the first time while preparing for a camping trip this summer. It blew my mind! As soon as I got back from the camping trip, I made it again to enjoy with more fresh veggies from the farmers market. I would recommend it for using as a veggie dip, salad dressing, or anywhere you crave the fresh flavor of ranch…even for dipping vegan pizza into.

The original recipe comes from a book that has become one of my vegan cooking resources: The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutes: The Latest and Greatest Methods for Veganizing Anything Using More Natural, Plant-Based Ingredients by Joni Marie Newman and Celine Steen. Not only does this book suggest substitute ingredients and alternative products for veganizing recipes and dishes, but the authors also provide directions for making these substitutions in your own kitchen. Helpful lists of meat, egg, and milk substitutes are charted out in this book along with recipes and side-by-side recipes veganized from their original animal product ingredients. I’ve found the information in this book to be educational as I veganize recipes and try out their published recipes, including this vegan ranch dip.

Give this dip a try! I wasn’t disappointed. It’s another great way to compliment the great flavor of fresh veggies and herbs this summer.

 

Ranch-Y Dipping Sauce
Original recipe from The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutes.
Adapted by Cheryl Still.
Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Ingredients
1 1/4 c. Cashew Coconut Spread:

  • 1 c. raw cashews, soaked at least 3 hours or overnight in water
  • 2 Tbsp. water or coconut water
  • 1/4 c. coconut cream (scooped from the top of an unshaken chilled can of unsweetened full-fat coconut milk stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours before use)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (or substitute 1 Tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh dill or 3/4 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke (I omitted this ingredient and did not miss any flavor)
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 clove garlic, grated or pressed

Directions
Place the cashews in a medium bowl. Cover with at least 2 cups of water. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and let stand at room temperature at least 3 hours or overnight, to soften the nuts.
If you are going to soak them longer than 8 hours, store the bowl of soaking cashews in the fridge. You can soak them for up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Drain the soaking cashews (discard soaking water), and give them a quick rinse. Place cashews in a food processor or high-speed blender, along with 2 Tbsp. water or coconut water, coconut cream, lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar), and salt. Process until extremely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides occasionally with a rubber spatula. This might take up to 10 minutes, depending on the power of the machine.

This mixture now is a versatile spread can be used just like this to flavor and add soy-free creaminess to vegan tomato cream sauces, creamy fruit ice pops, and butternut squash cashew cheese sauce. So many uses! This spread can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

To finish the ranch-y dip:

To the prepared Cashew Coconut Spread, add in the onion powder, parsley, dill, liquid smoke (if desired), salt, and garlic in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined. For the smoothest results, combine all these ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender.

Cover and store in the fridge at least 24 hours so the spread can enhance its tangy flavor and firm up a bit. Refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep for up to 4 days. Stir before use.

If you find the dipping sauce has thickened too much after refrigeration, slowly add extra coconut milk or coconut water, 1 tsp. at a time, until the desired thickness is reached. Enjoy!