Thursday, November 3, 2011

Creamy Garlicky Artichoke Leek Dip...

One of my favorite ways to eat Artichokes is in a dip. I used to love me a spinach artichoke dip before I went vegan, so creamy, garlicky, sweet and tart. Artichoke dip is great to spread on crackers, bread, veggie sticks or to use on a sandwich as a spread. Amazing! Yet as much as I love it, I haven’t eaten an artichoke dip since going vegan. Honestly most of the recipes I’ve come across just don’t sound very appetizing. Virtually all of them use tofu as a base, or some kind of non-dairy sour cream, non-dairy mayo, or non-dairy cream cheese substitute. Personally I prefer my dips and sauces sans tofu, and products like non-dairy sour cream, non-dairy mayo, and non-dairy cream cheese are not things I always have on hand.

So when I found myself, just before Thanksgiving last month, jonesing for artichoke dip I had to get creative. I thought of all the ways I could make a creamy base, and then remembered that cashews could be used just as effectively as tofu, and in my opinion with a much better taste. Excited I ran to my kitchen and set to work. Since I had no spinach on hand I couldn’t make a spinach artichoke dip. I did however have one nice leek begging to be used, and since I love leeks I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test how well they mingled with artichoke. The result was so much better then I was expecting it to be, so creamy and garlicky with a good artichoke flavor, a mild onion taste and a nice dash of dill. My omni-friends whom I had over to dinner that night loved it too, and by the end of the night there was hardly any left.

Creamy Garlicky Artichoke Leek Dip

Dip Base

1 C Raw Cashews
½ C water
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
A pinch of Sea salt and Black Pepper

½ tbsp olive oil
10-16 oz jarred artichoke hearts (Depending on how strong you want the artichoke flavor)
1 medium sized leek
6-10 cloves garlic (or to taste)
½-1 tsp Smoked Paprika (or to taste)
Sea Salt and Black pepper to taste
1 ½ tbsp Pear Vinegar
1/4-1/2 tsp White pepper (or to taste)
Handful of dill
Handful of parsley
Pinch of garlic powder (if needed. To taste)

- To make your dip base, blend cashews, water, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper in vitamix or high-speed blender for 30-60 seconds until very smooth, and creamy.

- Heat a few drops of olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat then add whole garlic cloves. Stirring frequently to make sure the garlic cloves don’t burn, saute until the cloves become lightly browned. About 5-7 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and scrape garlic cloves into a Food Processor or blender.

- Trim the tough green ends off of the leek. About a quarter to a third and discard. Slice leek in half lengthwise and place in a colander under running water. Use your fingers to separate each layer and rub away any dirt or grit. Pat dry with a towel then slice width-wise. Slices do not need to be uniform.

- Return your pan to medium heat, and add the half tbsp of olive oil. When heated add your sliced leek. Saute over medium heat until leek has softened and become fragrant, 7-10 minutes. Add the leek to your garlic in the food processor.

- Add all remaining ingredients. Artichokes, vinegar, dill, parsley, spices and your cashew base. Pulse until well combined and most of the artichokes and garlic cloves have been broken down into small bits. You can pulse this dip until it’s completely smooth but I prefer a coarser artichoke dip with nice bits of artichoke in it.

- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. If not garlicky enough for your liking you can add a pinch or two of garlic powder rather then go through the process of browning more garlic cloves.

Serve with pita bread, flax crackers, and veggie sticks. Enjoy!!!

1 comment:

  1. I don't remember if I had any of this b/c it was before I really liked some of those ingredients or before I trusted you enough to try stuff like that. haha But it looks delicious! - Matt