Tag Archives: dip

  1. Green Tahini Sauce {+ Video}

    Green Tahini Sauce

    Green Tahini Sauce

    Tahini is my life blood. If you aren’t yet aware of what tahini is, it is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds, with a consistency similar to other nut butters. It has come to be one of my most coveted pantry staples. I almost always have a homemade tahini dressing or sauce of some sort, on hand, if not two. My garlic tahini, or some variation on it, is mainstay in my kitchen weekly.

    Recently with all the fresh, local herbs in season I have been veering off and getting a bit more creative with my tahini sauce. This vibrant, herby, Green Tahini Sauce is so versatile. It’s wonderful simply as a dip for crudités, grain-free crackers or chips. It makes am amazing creamy, salad dressing for a traditional green salad, or better yet the perfect way to dress up a summer potato salad. It’s a lovely compliment to grain and veggie bowls or simply just steamed, roasted or sautéed vegetables of any and all kinds. It is also great in place of mayo on sandwiches. This Green Tahini is also a wonderful sauce for seafood, chicken and pork, especially when grilled or roasted.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  2. 5 Minute Green Goddess Dressing / Dip {Dairy-free}

    This gorgeous, vibrant Green Goddess Dressing is ready in under 5 minutes and it’s loaded with so much flavor. This creamy, dairy-free condiment can be served up as a salad dressing, dip, sauce or spread. Sorry not sorry in advance if you become as addicted to it as we are!

    5 Minute Green Goddess Dressing / Dip {Dairy-free}

    5 Minute Green Goddess Dressing / Dip {Dairy-free}

    I am not sure exactly where the term “Green Goddess” originated when speaking of a tasty green dressing, but I am not mad about it. Not at all. Clearly something this beautiful, brilliant and delicious is female! DUH.

    I have seen many many iterations of the Green Goddess dressing and many call for yogurt or other dairy and ALL the green things. This particular rendition gets it’s creaminess from avocado and delicious avocado oil mayonnaise. There is a prominent basil flavor and aroma which is peppery and fresh, with parsley is a backup singer. If you want to have some fun, swap out the basil with cilantro (I’d say go with more like 1/2 cup since it’s a bit stronger), swap lime for the lemon and add jalapeño. Voila, another version of this amazing sauce.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  3. Roasted Beet Cauliflower Hummus {Paleo-friendly}

    Roasted Beet and Cauliflower Hummus {Paleo}

    Roasted Beet and Cauliflower Hummus {Paleo}

    A bean-free hummus that’s pretty enough to be a work of art? Say what? No seriously, this cauliflower hummus features roasted beets and garlic and it’s about to take your snack game to a whole new level!

    After years of working on healing my gut, dealing with a parasite and unhappy gut bacteria, among other things, I am proud to say that my gut and my digestion has never ever been better, I don’t date say that I am cured and everything is perfect, but I feel incredible and that is absolutely something to celebrate.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  4. Savory Herbed Cashew Pumpkin Dip

    Savory Herbed Cashew Pumpkin Dip

    I am all about the simple lately. Quick fixes, simple snack, meals without fuss. I want to enjoy the flavors of nourishing whole foods, with the seasonal ingredients I have on hand and minimal prep. It’s been a hectic month or so.

    I haven’t had a moment to tell you guys, but I am back in school! As of this month, I am enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Program with the Nutritional Therapy Association to become a Certified Nutritional Therapist. I have long dreamt of finding the proper program where I could continue educating myself in a manner that would certify me to work even deeper with people, seeking to heal their bodies through a real food diet and a more foundational perspective.

    I myself have been on a long and continued path towards healing my body. 10 years of trials and tribulations, ups and downs, diagnoses and at times, challenged guidance. While my own healing journey is far from over, with new discoveries on what works best for me still being made weekly, I have so much I want to share and yet, so much still I want to learn, both for myself and for the countless others whom I meet and want to help.

    Savory Herbed Cashew Pumpkin Dip

    I could talk for hours about what I have learned already just a few weeks into the program and just what enrolling in this program means for me, moving forward, but I digress, I have a stack of homework and this post is supposed to be about dip. That said, please know that I will be sharing my experiences with this program and the curiculum here o the website. I will be sharing a monthly journal of sort, of the progress of my time in the program, for those that are curious in possibly joining yourself and for those that may just be curious in how what I am learning may be of help to you. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I have this super simple, seasonally-inspired snack for you. Read the rest of this entry »

  5. Baked Plantain Fries with Garlic Avocado Dipping Sauce

    Baked Plantain Fries with Garlic Avocado Dipping Sauce

    I previously eluded to the fact that I was starting an Autoimmune / Leaky Gut Protocol on Monday of last week and that I would a some point fill you all in on more details. So here we are. As a reminder, I was diagnosed last summer via kidney biopsy, with an autoimmune form of kidney disease, called IgA Nephropathy. It hasn’t progressed too far, my kidneys are still functioning at very high levels and I have been lucky enough to have had little to no symptoms. After the diagnosis I was placed on several pharmaceuticals to protect my kidneys long term, from this progressive disease which can, if left untreated, in some patients lead to kidney failure later in life. As soon as I started taking the drugs, I found myself feeling terrible. I was tired and lethargic, I had rashes and developed acne, I found myself with terrible stomach aches and pains, I was chronically bloated and gassy, etc. In speaking with my Naturopathic doctor at the start of this year, we have discovered I am dealing with leaky gut and we have decided it best to first heal my gut and get this under control so we can properly investigate my kidney disease further. I have since been taken off all prescription drugs and I am on a regime of supplements and herbs with my doctor to protect my kidneys, aid in the healing of my gut and more.

    I will work hard to keep this as short as I can, I don’t want for this to become a how-to or a resource on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet, many of those already exist online and in books and I honestly have no problem admitting that I am still a total newbie when it comes to all of this. Truthfully, I am slowly navigating my own way through this new journey, so I am far from an expert.

    My plan is to follow this Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) for a minimum of 30 days. I am very grateful to have somewhat minimal symptoms on the larger scale of leaky gut and autoimmune conditions, though they are there enough for me to want to get things under control and get back to feeling like myself. The plan is to give myself these 30 days to allow my body and my gut the time it needs to heal. I am really crossing my fingers that this will be enough time. After 30 days I will slowly begin to reintroduce foods and decipher my body’s response to each and go from there on deciding if I need to pursue this protocol further or not.

    It should be said, this protocol isn’t necessarily a full list of ingredients to be avoided forever just because you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder or leaky gut. This is simply a plan to follow for a minimum of 30 days to give your body the opportunity to heal and the time to remain on the plan, from there differs for each individual.

    For me, after just the first 7 days I have already noticed marked improvement. Less bloating and gas. I am still dealing with some discomfort with certain foods, usually my tummy seems to be most agitated when I eat too many fibrous veggies. That huge bowl of cauliflower with a sh*t ton of kale on top, maybe not the best idea. Woowee! I am also noticing some response to the changed diet. I am not sure if I can call them detox symptoms or “die off”, but I have certainly noticed some other new symptoms. But I am happy to report that I am already be getting some relief, so I am on the right track.

    Here is a super quick overview on the details of the autoimmune / leaky gut protocol I am following for at least 30 days:

    Read the rest of this entry »

  6. Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip aka “Htipiti” (Gluten-free)

    Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip (Htipiti)

    I can say that in more ways than one – I truly am my father’s daughter. My love for food, eating and talking about both (or in general) – most definitely all come from my dad! Though I may not always like to admit it, I can be his clone in many ways!

    As a Greek girl, (also from my dad) who has been gluten-free for nearly 10 years, one of the saddest things I have had to endure is saying good-bye to sooo many of my favorite classic Greek dishes – spanokopita, taramasalata, baklava, pita, gyro wraps, moussaka, pastitsio, melomakarono, loukamathes – oh my gosh I could go on and on and on (and now I am super hungry). Thankfully, a couple of these dishes can be made gluten-free, so I haven’t had to let go completely.

    Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip (Htipiti)

    This dip isn’t something I grew up, like many of those aforementioned dishes, but rather it was a dish my dad had somewhere along the line at a restaurant and became obsessed with recreating. Since he perfected his recipe a few years ago, he has pretty much brought this dip to nearly every get-together and everyone that has ever tasted it – soon becomes obsessed, too! I myself am one of those people and I’ve taken to altering his recipe slightly and making it for my own dinner parties and other get-togethers.  Since we moved out west last year, this dip has been a nice way to savor some of those flavors of home.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  7. Spinach Artichoke White Bean Dip with Feta {Gluten-free}

    Spinach Artichoke White Bean Dip with Feta - Gluten-free

    Besides all of the many obvious things that we love about living here in California, one of my favorite things is the fact that we get to entertain so often. Our house here in Long Beach was meant for having guests. We have a really open living room, with tons of windows and great light and great fireplace for the cool nights, plus when the weather warms up we can host cookouts and dinner parties like crazy on our large deck. I am certain we have entertained far more in the first year of living in this home, than all 9+ years living in our home in New York.

    Spinach Artichoke White Bean Dip with Feta - Gluten-free

    I love well planned dinner parties with a theme, where everything matches and has a purpose. But just as much – I love a good thrown-together spur of the moment get-together where we just toss some burgers on the grill, pop open some bubbly wine or beers and enjoy the company of our wonderful friends. A few weeks back we did just that with our friends Dan and Debbie. We decided to get together and just grill some burgers and catch up. Nothing fancy. Just easy and simple. I swore I wasn’t going to fuss, it was going to be simple as can be and just about spending time together. Read the rest of this entry »

  8. Vegan Caramel Apple Dipping Sauce (Gluten-free)

    Vegan Caramel Apple Dipping Sauce (gluten-free)

    I am so very excited to share this recipe with you guys. I had so much fun creating it and even more fun eating it! In theory, caramel apples always sound amazing, but in reality they are always a sticky mess, hard to eat, and so sugary they actually hurt my teeth. I have learned to just pass on by and only dream of their caramel goodness. Until now. I finally decided to re-imagine a caramel recipe without heavy cream or butter, but I also wanted the sweetness to come from somewhere other than refined overly processed white sugar.

    I am really excited with how this came out.

    Vegan Caramel Apple Dipping Sauce (gluten-free)

    It has a beautiful dark hue from the coconut sugar and it is thick and luscious and perfectly creamy, and the right amount of sweetness without feeling yourself getting a cavity as you are eating it.

    Vegan Caramel Apple Dipping Sauce (gluten-free)

    This caramel is great as both a dipping sauce for fresh apples (or whatever else you would like) that can be served while it is still a little warm or totally chilled, or you can let it fully chill, get nice and thick and actually coat whole or sliced apples in it, then coat them in nuts, chocolate, sprinkles or whatever you’d like.
    Vegan Caramel Apple Dipping Sauce (gluten-free)

    Vegan Caramel Apple Dipping Sauce (gluten-free)

    Obviously, just because this caramel sauce is healthier than the original, it doesn’t mean you should sit down and eat a bowl of it in one sitting, though you easily could. Sugar is still sugar, but at least with this refined sugar-free, vegan version you can have a bit less guilt while you indulge.

    Vegan Caramel Apple Dipping Sauce (gluten-free)

     

    [print_this]Vegan Caramel Apple Dipping Sauce (gluten-free)

    makes about 2 cups

    • 1 cup organic coconut sugar
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • salt
    • 1 cup full-fat organic coconut milk, the canned kind
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla
    • 1tablespoon arrowroot starch (corn starch or tapioca starch would also work)

    In a medium saucepan over a medium heat, mix together the coconut sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil and water, stirring often and well until the sugar has dissolved and it is smooth and creamy. Bring it up to a slight simmer, add a dash or two or salt and the coconut milk, whisking and bring back up to a simmer.

    Once it has been simmering for about 5 minutes, add in the vanilla and the arrowroot starch. I find that slowly adding the arrowroot starch while whisking (by sprinkling it in), versus just a big dump, keeps the lumps to a minimum. Lower the heat and whisk until the arrowroot starch has dissolved and the sauce is nice and thick. Remove from the heat.

    It is great served warm or cool as a dipping sauce for apples (or whatever else you might like to dip in it). Serve with chopped nuts or chocolate on the side as well.

    Or you can let the sauce cool fully and it will get a little thicker and then you can roll whole apples or apple slices in it, cover with chopped nuts or chocolate pieces and place in the fridge to chill and harden up a bit.

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  9. Roasted Garlic & Kale Hummus – Gluten-free + Vegan

    Roasted Garlic & Kale Hummus - Gluten-free + Vegan

    This time of year, I am taking in all the green that I can, while it is still here. Sure the fall is the most colorful time of year around here, but the winters in Buffalo are long, cold and definitely lacking in greenery and fresh local produce.

    What better way to celebrate the remaining green and fresh flavors of the summer than a simple dip featuring two of my favorite flavors – roasted garlic and fresh raw kale! I grabbed some beautiful local garlic and kale from the farmers market, and let those be the start and I created my recipe from there.

    This hummus is simple to put together and it is filled with layers of incredible flavors. And as with any hummus, this one would be great with rice crackers, tortilla chips, fresh raw veggies, on pizza, in wraps or sandwiches or heck, even just by the spoonful.

    Roasted Garlic & Kale Hummus - Gluten-free + Vegan

    Roasted Garlic & Kale Hummus - Gluten-free + Vegan

    This post was originally shared on the Free People Blog BLDG, as part of my ongoing series.

    [print_this]Roasted Garlic & Kale Hummus – Gluten-free + Vegan

    Makes approximately 2-3 cups

    • 1 bulb of fresh garlic
    • 1 large can (25 ounces) organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
    • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup tahini, well stirred
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
    • 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped, about 2 to 3 tightly packed cups
    • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Red pepper flakes or black pepper

    Roasted Garlic & Kale Hummus - Gluten-free + Vegan

    Start by roasting your garlic. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel away the outer layers of the skin from the garlic bulb, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the head of garlic in the center of a small piece of foil. (You can also place it in a baking pan or muffin tin covered with foil). Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over the top, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Close the foil around the garlic tightly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft and tender. Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool so you can touch it. Using a knife or a fork, press down on each clove to squeeze the garlic out of the skin.

    Make your hummus. Reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid, rinse and drain chickpeas. Place chickpeas and reserved liquid in a food processor. Add in the kale, freshly squeezed lemon juice, tahini, roasted garlic, salt and a little freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes. Process until smooth. I drizzle in just a bit of olive oil while its processing, it makes it even smoother and gives it a nice, subtle taste.  Sprinkle a bit of red pepper flakes or smoked paprika and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top when serving. Serve with your favorite gluten-free goodies like rice crackers, tortilla chips, raw veggies, or serve it on a sandwich, in a wrap and more. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week. [/print_this]

  10. Creamy Indian-Spiced White Bean Dip – Gluten-free + Vegan

    Creamy Indian-Spiced White Bean Dip - Gluten-free + Vegan

    I am back home from our trip to California, we landed late last night and I am feeling insanely invigorated. We spent nearly a week out there, exploring neighborhoods and all the different towns, we went to the beach, we celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary at Disneyland and fell even more in love with everything Southern California has to offer! This was the trip we needed to light that fire under our behinds to get the last few things done before we get our house on the market here in Buffalo and move out west! It is looking like our new home is going be in Long Beach, in a quaint little neighborhood by the beach. We cannot wait to start seriously looking for a house and to get this party started!

    We are headed back to California in less than 2 short months for our good friends’ Patrick and Summer’s wedding, so who knows, maybe even by then we will have sold the house and be ready to start the whole process. I really hope so.

    Ever since we decided to move out there, I told myself that given we would be living somewhere that has beautiful weather all year long, that I was going to be way more active outdoors. I want to get into running and biking as part of my weekly fitness routine, since both feel like a wonderful compliment to my daily yoga practice. Rather than waiting to get out there to start anew with so many things, I decided on the plane ride home that I was going to get started right away, particularly with the running since I have never really given it a serious shot. I have always found running to be painful and not my favorite way to sneak in exercise. But, the more I have read about running and getting started on a serious plan, it is best to ease your body into it and not try to do too much, too soon, which is probably what I have always done. So, I am going to take advantage of the beautiful spring and summer weather here in Western New York and start my training now, so I can hopefully just hit the ground running (pun intended) whenever we finally get out to the west coast.

    Tonight is my first run, I have a good pair of Nike+ running shoes that I bought years ago and only ever wore to the gym, I have a couple of iPhone apps downloaded to help me properly ease into running, so they can tell me when and how I should be running and walking and for how long. I even have a running partner, my hubby, who is ready to get back into running himself. Now, the only thing I have to fear is my annoying low back issues. I tend to keep that all at bay with yoga and an incredible chiropractor, but I am a bit concerned on how the running will affect my back. I have a herniated disc in my low back that is known to cause me issues now and again and from what I have read about running, the pressure and the shock from it can sometimes be a bit hard on that type of injury. Here’s hoping I have strengthened my core and stretched my muscles enough from yoga, that my body can handle it. I really want it to work for me since running seems like the perfect compliment to my lifestyle, especially when we will be living so close to the beach.

    My plan, if running and my body can agree on it, is to continue with my daily yoga practice, and getting to at least five 90-minute yoga classes a week, and now adding in 3 days of running. So, every day I will have some type of physical activity going on and on only a couple of days will I have to manage getting to the yoga studio and squeezing in a run, too. Even though yoga doesn’t always have to be a 90-minute thing, I really do prefer to have a practice that is that long and I really enjoy going to the studio. I practice at home on occasion, but I find since I work at home, it can be hard to focus on yoga and not get distracted by everything else around me. That is one thing about running I think I am most drawn to, the change of scenery, being outside and engulfed by nature and the elements and being in control of when, where and how it happens. As long as the weather cooperates and there is a safe and somewhat smooth surface, it seems like you can run virtually anywhere.

    Do you like running? Have any tips for someone that is just getting started?

    OK, so onto the dip… I made this dip this afternoon as a light snack. With us being gone for a week, I couldn’t wait to get home and get back to eating foods that I prepared. The food is the only downside to traveling for me, eating unprocessed foods that are gluten-free and as often as I can find, also vegetarian, can get a bit tricky when you are away. I did the very best I could and found so many great options, but I still ate so much different than I would ever eat at home. I debated doing a juice cleanse for a couple days after returning home, but with me wanting to start training for running, I didn’t think both were such a good idea, so I decided to start the running and just eat extra light this week. Now that our local farmers market is open for the season, I will definitely be stocking up there on Saturday and doing a lot of juices, smoothies and salads this week. This morning, I made a version of my banana almond butter smoothie for breakfast, adding in a scoop of ground flaxseeds and a scoop of cocoa powder and it kept me full all day. About 3:30pm I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since the smoothie and I had cleaned the whole house and totally unpacked my suitcase. I decided I would make a simple mid-afternoon snack and a creamy white bean dip was calling my name. The bold flavors from the Indian spices were so perfect and subtle and the garlic gave it all a great punch. The white beans made for an incredibly smooth and creamy dip that was delicious on some gluten-free crackers. I wish we had some fresh raw veggies, those would also be great in this dip. That is the other bad thing about traveling, coming home to an empty fridge. If you don’t love garam masala, substitute some yellow curry or another one of your favorite spices. If the heat from the garam masala and the raw garlic is enough, skip the chili powder.

    I will check back in tomorrow with a new recipe and to let you know how the running went this evening.

    Creamy Indian-Spiced White Bean Dip - Gluten-free + Vegan

    [print_this]Creamy Indian-Spiced White Bean Dip – Gluten-free + Vegan
    makes about 1 cup of dip

    • 1 can white beans
    • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • dash of chili
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled and very roughly chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup olive oil

    Add of the ingredients, except the olive oil, to the food processor. Start pureeing and slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running, until it is all added. Puree the dip until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator and serve chilled. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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  11. Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Dip (gluten-free and vegan)

    Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Dip (vegan, gluten-free)

    As I mentioned in my last post, for my Creamy Dairy-Free Spinach Dip, I have really been enjoying cooking and baking without dairy. In addition to cooking without processed foods and gluten, it has been a fun and rewarding challenge. However, it is definitely one thing to just be cooking at home for myself and my hubby, but coming up with some fun and unique snacks to share with other people that can eat both gluten and dairy, can be a bit harder. I never ever want someone that is eating my food to feel like they are eating a weirdo diet food or some sort of concoction that only someone that hasn’t had gluten in over 7 years, would love.

    When coming up with snack ideas for our little Super Bowl get together, I wanted something everyone could love that was light but still satisfying and with my dips I really wanted to challenge myself to create creamy but without the dairy. In the past, I definitely would have enjoyed some of the healthy snacks that others or likely myself made, but then, of course, indulging a bit in the inevitable cheese that would be there in some capacity. Using the excuse of a holiday or special occasion to eat more cheese than normal sounds all well and good, until you have a terrible cheese-induced tummy-ache later because you have all but cut out dairy in your every day life.

    So I came across a version of this recipe on my Pinterest travels and it looked super creamy and delicious, I decided to add in the roasted red peppers because they pack some incredible flavors that I thought would pair very well with the eggplant! The original recipe was just the eggplant and it had a bit more olive oil, the photo I saw with the recipe made it look so insanely creamy, I couldn’t believe there wasn’t any dairy in it. So after making this my way, I am actually looking forward to trying this dip again, the original way, to see which I prefer.

    This dip is smooth and creamy and has a bright, almost tart flavor from the roasted red pepper. I really love how the peppery spice from the oregano works with all of the different elements. Feel free to play around with different spices and/or herbs to get this to the flavors you love. The original recipe called for thyme, you could also add in some red pepper flakes or other spices that you love.

    I served this dip with a bunch of fresh raw veggies like baby carrots, celery, radishes, bell peppers, etc as well as some crackers. This dip would also make a great spread to put on sandwiches, eggs, even on top of a salad, pasta, etc.

    Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Dip (vegan, gluten-free)

    [print_this]Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Dip (gluten-free and vegan)
    Adapted from Body+Soul Magazine, July/August 2010
    Serves 10

    3 medium eggplant (about 4 pounds), halved the long way
    4 cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced lengthwise
    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    Kosher salt
    1 cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped (roast the peppers yourself or jarred will work too)
    1 tablespoon fresh oregano (roughly chopped)
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    Freshly ground pepper

    Preheat the oven to 400º F. Arrange the eggplant cut side up on a baking sheet. Make slits in eggplant and insert garlic . Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven; let stand until cool, about 20 minutes.

    Scoop the flesh of the eggplant into a food processor. Add roasted red peppers, oregano, 1 tablespoon oil, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Pulse to combine with salt and pepper, to taste. Will keep refrigerated up to 3 days. Serve with crackers, fresh vegetables or crostini.

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  12. Creamy Dairy-Free Spinach Dip (vegan, gluten-free)

    Creamy Dairy-Free Spinach Dip (vegan, gluten-free)

    I am having a lot of fun making different dishes and snacks dairy-free. For the most part, as with my gluten-free or even vegan cooking, I have just been cooking around it, enjoying things that are naturally such, I don’t usually make tons of substitutions with weird processed things like fake cheeses or fake meats, etc. Even though I think that some dairy-free cheeses (like Daiya) might be nice for the occasional special treat if I really feel like I am missing out or want some cheese, I usually just get really creeped out by how much weird stuff are those types of foods. Many times you read the package and you don’t even know what the ingredients are, you can’t pronounce them, etc.

    I was craving a delicious Italian-style pasta dish the other night, so I made gluten-free penne with a creamy roasted tomato and basil sauce. No cheese or dairy! The creaminess came from soaked cashews and I added in a little nutritional yeast for the nutty/cheesy flavor it brings. It was so perfectly delicious and it really hit the spot. I didn’t miss the dairy one bit. There is always the option of using nut milks instead of dairy milk in recipes, which I have been doing for a long time when making, but it doesn’t always give you that super creamy cheese-like texture when cooking, so that is where raw nuts have been coming in handy for me.

    I did some serious cooking, baking and making over this weekend. I made my first ever batch of Kombucha, which I cannot wait to try, I love that stuff. I also made gluten-free, dairy-free refined sugar-free chocolate donuts for breakfast yesterday in my new donut pan (recipe coming soon) and all of my Super Bowl treats. We watched the Super Bowl last night at my parents’ with my family and some friends, so I decided to experiment a little with my Super Bowl snacks, making things that not only I would eat, but that would still appeal to everyone else. So, I made three different things: this creamy spinach dip, a creamy eggplant and roasted red pepper dip and Thai Meatballs (made from some grass-fed beef from our local farmer) with a red curry peanut sauce. I will be posting the eggplant dip likely tomorrow so look for that. As for the meatballs, I basically just altered this recipe to be gluten-free and I used some of our lean grass-fed ground beef from the half cow that we shared with my parents. I was really excited to find a meatball recipe that wouldn’t need any cheese of some sort, since I was initially playing with the idea of making regular Italian style meatballs. They were so delicious! I really recommend that recipe.

    I served the two dips with tons of fresh cut raw veggies, regular whole grain crackers and some Mary’s Gone Crackers Black Pepper Crackers for me. Both the dips were enjoyed by everyone and the meatballs FLEW off the plate. This particular dip is so creamy, you would swear it had ricotta cheese in it. It has a nice flavor from the garlic and the nutritional yeast brings an almost “cheesy” taste. Nutritional yeast is low in sodium and it is one of the few non-animal sources of B-12, it is rich in folic acid and many other nutrients and amino acids. This is not your typical yeast and is free of the Candida Albicans strain, making it safe for those concerned with candida. Per ounce nutritional yeast packs in 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.

    I’ll be honest, I did a lot more gabbing and snack-eating then football watching last night. We did manage to keep quiet through the half-time show, which I thought was just so-so. I love old-school Madonna and was excited to hear some of the old hits but that is about it. I was a bit let down, it didn’t do it for me. Though I did make it a point to listen to all of her old albums today on Spotify to make up for it!

    Did you watch the Super Bowl? What did you think of the half-time show? What foods did you make or eat?

    Creamy Dairy-Free Spinach Dip (vegan, gluten-free)

     

    [print_this]Creamy Dairy-Free Spinach Dip (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

    1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for 1 to 3 hours and drained
    2 cloves garlic
    1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
    1-2 tablespoons of water
    4 cups baby spinach (split to 3 cups and 1 cup, roughly chop the 1 cup)
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    Add the cashews, garlic and nutritional yeast to the food processor, puree until thick, creamy and smooth. You can add a tablespoon or two of water to the mixture as needed to make it more creamy. Add 3 cups of the spinach and continue pureeing until smooth. Fold in the remaining chopped spinach and stir by hand to combine. Pour the creamy spinach mixture into a serving dish and serve with fresh cut raw veggies, tortilla chips, crackers, toasted bread, etc.

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