Vegan Spicy Peanut Dip/Sauce

April 7, 2011
vegan spicy peanut dip or sauce

Vegan Peanut Dip or Sauce

Spicy Peanut Dip/Sauce

This is kind of like Indonesian satay sauce, but without the coconut milk. It’s easier to make than the traditional version, because we are starting with peanut butter instead of raw peanuts. I used creamy, but chunky will work as well.

There is a mixture of sweet, salty, sour and spicy, along with a creamy richness from the peanut butter. You can adjust the spiciness to your taste. The recipe as written is on the mild side.

It works great as a dip for crudite, and I mixed the leftovers with sautéed vegetables and served them with rice. You can sprinkle some sesame seeds on the top for garnish.

Vegan Spicy Peanut Dip/Sauce

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
2 TBS shoyu
4 TBS brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
4 TBS apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 TBS toasted sesame oil (optional)

Mix together all ingredients. Using hot water helps to soften the peanut butter and makes it easier to mix.

Note:
This was served at Ray’s memorial service at the arboretum. The other recipes can be found also, including Black Bean Dip, Broccoli Salad, Pea Salad, and Vegan Tofu-Spinach Dip.


Black Bean Dip

March 6, 2011
vegan black bean dip

Vegan Black Bean Dip

I had forgotten about making this recipe in a normal-sized batch, and a friend reminded me today about it. So I apologize for the delay.

Yes, this is the dip that was served at Ray Baker’s memorial at the arboretum.

(If you want the dip with the hoisin sauce and lots of garlic, that’s the Asian Black Bean Dip recipe you want.

If you want the other memorial food recipes, so far I have:
Broccoli Salad
Vegan Tofu Spinach Dip
Frozen Pea Salad (with or without feta)
Russian-Korean Carrot Salad)

This black bean dip is quick to make and extremely healthy, full of fiber and antioxidants. You can adjust the cayenne to taste, or use fresh or canned chiles or chipotles or chipotle powder instead. It has a mild chile hit to it as it is.

I haven’t tried it with other beans yet, but my guess is it would be just as tasty with other types, such as kidney or pinto beans, and possibly garbanzos, too.

Here is the recipe. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think if you try this yourself.

Vegan Black Bean Dip

3 TBS canola oil
1-1/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1 can (11 oz) corn, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
3 TBS apple cider vinegar

Saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, and corn in oil until onions and bell peppers are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add to blender or food processor with the other ingredients. Blend.

Serve with tortilla chips or crudite. Makes 3 cups dip.


Vegan Tofu-Spinach Dip

January 11, 2011

vegan appetizer tofu spinach dip

Vegan Tofu Spinach Dip


This recipe was developed as a vegan appetizer version of that onion and spinach dip that probably everyone has had at some potluck or party some time in their life. You know the one–I think you mix sour cream, onion soup mix, mayonnaise, water chestnuts, and spinach.

This has no dairy, no cholesterol, no unpronounceable chemicals or flavorings, and is almost as easy to make.

Recently I made a version for a memorial service, and I didn’t have gobs of dehydrated onions or powders to throw in. So I used minced onions and minced garlic for one batch, and sauteed onions and garlic for the second batch, for less of a strong onion bite.

Someone has already asked for the recipe, so it obviously tasted okay. I cannot post the exact recipe I used for the large batches, because I was making hundreds of pounds of food and had no time to measure or write anything down. Instead of 2 cups of tofu per batch, I used 2 blocks! I’ll give you some approximate amounts, though, to help you out.

Here is the original, normal-sized recipe I developed:

Vegan Tofu-Spinach Dip

2 cups tofu
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
5 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts (half of an 8-ounce can)
1 cup cooked, chopped spinach* (this is probably about equal to one box of frozen spinach, thawed)

Blend all ingredients EXCEPT water chestnuts and spinach. Add water if necessary. Blend until it is smooth.

Stir in water chestnuts and spinach.

Serve with crudite or chips, or as a spread on bread, crostini, or crackers.

I’ve also served it inside a round loaf of sweet bread. Cut off a thin slice from the top. Pull the center out in chunks, leaving a bowl-like shell. Put the dip into the bread bowl and serve the bread chunks for dipping.

That makes a nice mix of sweet, sour, crunchy, salty, and creamy, and the dry bread soaks up the dip very nicely.

To make it with fresh onion and garlic,

use the same recipe, with the following changes:

Omit garlic and onion powders
Omit dehyrated onion flakes
Add 2 cloves minced garlic
Add 1/2 cup minced onion (I used sweet onions)

Taste and see if you need to add more onion and/or garlic. Keep in mind that the flavors will meld nicely if you let it sit.

I recommend you refrigerate this several hours, or overnight, before serving, but it’s not necessary.

*Note about the spinach: I’ve used regular spinach and cholesterol spinach, and both worked well. You could probably substitute other cooked greens instead, such as kale or collard greens, to get a similar flavor.


Asian Black Bean Dip (A Vegan Recipe)

December 16, 2010

vegan asian black bean dip

Vegan Asian Black Bean Dip: spicy, sweet, pungent, and addictive


Here is an easy dip that you can whip together when you need something to serve guests in a hurry. You are likely to have almost everything needed in your fridge and pantry. The one exception might be hoisin sauce, although I keep a bottle of the stuff in my fridge all the time.

This got devoured tonight with some friends. We had tortilla chips (organic, of course!) and sugar snap peas with it.

The garlic, ginger and cayenne give it a little bit of a nip, and it has an addictive quality to it. Or, as my Brit friends would say, a “more-ish” quality.

Here is the recipe:

Asian Black Bean Dip (Vegan)

1 can (15 ounces, 425 grams) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon roasted sesame oil (see note below)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend, stirring down often, until you get a smooth paste. It will still have bits of the green onion in it.

*Note: The sesame oil is the dark type, with full-bodied flavor and aroma, not the light and mild oil. It is often found in the Asian foods section of the store.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds or chopped green onion for a prettier presentation.

Serve it with tortilla chips or crudite.


Healthy Halloween Treat: Bloody Popcorn

October 19, 2010
healthy halloween treat bloody popcorn

Healthy Halloween treat: Bloody Popcorn

Maybe you are sick of the candies everywhere at Halloween. Or you are just one of those people who prefers savory, salty treats. You are in luck!

Okay, I admit, this isn’t exactly red, so the name Bloody Popcorn doesn’t quite do it justice. Besides, it’s not runny, like blood. You could always say it’s flavored with dried blood.

The color will be more red if your paprika and chili powder are really fresh. At any rate, trust me, nobody will complain about the flavor, even if they do scrunch their noses at the name.

This has cayenne in it, which gives it a bit of heat. If you are serving this to kids who aren’t used to spicy foods, leave the cayenne out.

The mixture of spices makes for a sweet, salty, slighty fiery mixture. It’s quite addictive.

And popcorn is a whole grain. That’s right! You can eat it without guilt. In fact, know that you are getting fiber and nutrients from it.

Popcorn Nutritional Information

It is full of complex carbohydrates and 1.2 grams of fiber per cup of popped. That means it keeps you fuller longer and your blood sugar from spiking, unlike simple sugars and refined foods without fiber.

It contains a small amount of protein, as well as other minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It’s a good source of manganese as well, a micro-nutrient.

Vegans, no worries. This is a completely vegan recipe.

Recipe: Vegan Bloody Popcorn

“Dried blood” spice mixture:
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar (organic if possible)

2 Tablespoons popcorn (organic if possible)
2 Tablespoons canola oil

Method:

Combine spices in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside while you pop the corn.

In a saucepan with a tightly fitting lid, place oil and ONE kernel of popcorn. Cover and place on high heat.

When the one kernel pops, dump in the rest of the kernels.

Cover and begin shaking the pan back and forth over the stove, to keep everything moving and to prevent burning.

Keep one hand on the lid while you continue to move the pot. The popcorn will start popping and continue for about 30 seconds or so.

The moment you hear the popping stop, remove it from heat and dump it into a large bowl.

Immediately add the spice mixture and toss well, to get as much to stick to the kernels as possible. There will be some that collects at the bottom, but you’ll get enough to stick to make it delicious.

My guess is that this will become one of your favorite healthy Halloween treats. And I think you’ll end up snacking on it the rest of the year, too!

Find more ideas for healthy Halloween treats, party food and Halloween party stuff.


Homemade Croutons

October 19, 2010

homemade croutons

Homemade croutons are easy and delicious


If the only croutons you’ve ever had have been from a box, or on an iceberg salad from a fast food place, you have no idea what you are missing. The taste, texture, and value of homemade croutons are fabulous.

They are easy and delicious to make. So why aren’t you making your own?

Maybe you just don’t know how. Here’s how to make croutons at home, with delicious results.

Basically, croutons are just toasted bread. The difference is that they are toasted longer, so that the interior of the bread dries out, giving a satisfying crunch throughout, not just on the surface.

However, if you like that crunch just on the outside, the good news is, you have full control when you make your own. You can leave them in the oven for less time, to get a softer, chewier finished product. Or keep them there longer, to get almost a tooth-shattering morsel. The choice is yours.

Simply use some leftover bread. I don’t like bread heels, the slices you cut off at either end of a loaf. So I tend to use those, or just the odd slice or two that collects after a while.

I also use the pieces that are broken up and can’t be used for a sandwich. If you make your bread with a bread machine, you know about those pieces. They are ones in the middle, where the paddle has been, and cut a big hole.

Any bread is fine. You can use fresh bread or stale, whole grain or white, sweet or savory.

Recipe: Homemade Croutons
2 slices bread, cubed (or a similar amount of rolls or buns,) about 3 cups
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt to taste (optional)

I use a serrated knife to cut the bread into cubes. Place the bread cubes into a 9 by 13-inch baking pan. I prefer this to a cookie sheet, because the cubes stay inside when you mix them, but you can use a cookie sheet as well.

Add the olive oil. Mix well. Sprinkle on the garlic and onion powders. Mix well. Spread out evenly in the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned and hard. Stir halfway through.

Homemade Crouton Tips

–Stick around while they are baking, because they can overcook very quickly.

–Be sure to cool them completely before storing in an airtight container.

–Try to make them on a day that’s not raining, because the moisture in the air from rain (and snow too?–I live in Hawaii–we don’t have snow–someone with experience will have to answer this for me!) will make them get soggy soon after you remove them from the oven.

–You don’t even have to use bread slices. Any shape or size will work. Have some leftover rolls or buns? Use those.

–In fact, for variation, try using sweet bread sometimes. It makes for a nice complement to a carrot soup, for example.

–You can add salt if you like, but I leave it out because salad dressing has a lot of flavor, and I like my croutons to add to the flavor, not compete with it.

–These are excellent on leafy green salads or soup. Try some with this vegan chocolate vegetable soup, for example.

–They can be quite addictive, so don’t be surprised to find yourself munching on them right out of the oven!

Now you know how to make croutons at home. It’s very straightforward and simple, and if you try it for yourself, you’ll see how delicious they are. You will likely never buy pre-made again.

I know, I know. You’re becoming a food snob, like me! ha ha.


A crowd-pleasing way to use kimchi

May 19, 2010
vegan kimchi dip and sugar snap peas

Vegan Kimchi Dip and Sugar Snap Peas

I took this to a meeting recently and was surprised with how many compliments it received.  I needed a dip to go with some fresh vegetables, and hummus was just too boring.

So I did a variation of vegan mayonnaise and added kimchi juice.  The full kimchi flavor didn’t come through enough, though, so I also added cayenne, vinegar and lemon juice, garlic and ginger, the same ingredients in kimchi itself.

It ended up being fairly runny, even with the addition of some tofu to thicken it up.  Even so, the flavors were addictive, and the touch of heat at the end won it high praises.

The vegetables we used were just carrots and sugar snap peas, which are in season now (Spring).   I found a big bag at the warehouse store and decided to try them raw.  They were devoured faster than the carrots.

Sweet, crisp, and good for you…how often does THAT happen?!

I’ll have to play with the recipe to get a thicker texture, because it doesn’t stay on the vegetables well.  This is more like a dressing or sauce. But it tastes fabulous, so I recommend you give it a try anyway.

Vegan Kimchi Dip

1 cup tofu
1/2 cup kimchi juice (squeeze the liquid from some kimchi)
4 teaspoons sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon ginger, chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped kimchi (optional)

Put all ingredients except kimchi into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Stir in kimchi if using.  Chill.

The mixture will thicken slightly as it chills, but it’s still quite runny.

Serve with vegetables such as carrot, celery, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, sweet peppers.


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