Category Archives: Dips, dressings + sauces

Spinach in bowls

Spinach gomae

Spinach gomae

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Allergy Soy, Tree Nuts
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Dips, Lunch, Salad, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
My mouth is watering just writing about making this spinachy goodness!

Ingredients

  • 600g clean spinach
  • 60ml peanut butter (I prefer natural PB, but just use what you have (smooth, chunky))
  • 15ml tahini
  • 30-45ml rice vinegar (or mirin) (depending on how vinegary you like things)
  • 30ml soy sauce or tamari (tamari for gluten-free)
  • 15-20ml sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, honey, etc., but no artificial sugar)
  • 15-45ml warm water
  • 45g toasted sesame seeds for topping

Directions

Step 1 Wilt the spinach in a steamer or add a couple of centimetres of water to a pot. Stuff that spinach in. It will wilt in only a couple of minutes, so watch it carefully so it doesn't get mushy. (No one likes mushy vegetables.)

Tip into a colander and let it cool.
Step 2 In a blender, hand-held blender or food processor, blend together the peanut butter, tahini, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and a bit of the water (add more if needed for a pourable, but thick consistency). Taste. Adjust.

Keep at room temperature until your spinach is ready to wear the glorious sauce.
Step 3
Drain. Drain. Squish and drain. Use a colander, time and your hands. Get squishy with it. Trust me…you'll want this to be as un-watery as possible.

Then form it into balls about the size of an orange and set them in little bowls. I love little bowls!

Pop them into the fridge to set for about 30-60 minutes.
Spinach in bowls
Step 4 Pour over the sauce and top with the toasted sesame seeds.

Devour. You can most certainly try to eat this with chopsticks, but I bet you can't get it in your mouth fast enough…just fork it!

*I forgot to take a photo the last time...I was too busy inhaling the gomae. I'll add one some other time.
Step 5
Nutrition information - click on image to enlarge.
Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 19.41.11
miso gravy, yam fries, homemade veggie burger

Miso Hungry Gravy

Miso Hungry Gravy

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Soy
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Dips, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Miso Hungry Gravy - A taste-worthy, creamy gravy that even non-vegetarians love! This is my go-to substitute for gravy in any recipe or meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter (margarine, ghee or other substitute)
  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup flour (gram/besan, whole wheat, white or other substitute)
  • 3-5 tablespoons miso (Any variety of miso will do, although I prefer barley. Use more or less miso to your taste.)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2-4 tablespoons soy sauce (light, dark, regular or substitute (to taste))
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch ((if necessary, to thicken the gravy))
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon hot water ((with the cornstarch, if necessary, to thicken the gravy))

Note

This recipe was inspired by my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Calgary (I think it's probably the ONLY vegetarian restaurant), The Coup. I've been telling friends for quite some time that I'd post my version of the miso gravy that we have all so hastily devoured when I lived in Calgary. So, enjoy…

Directions

Step 1 Melt butter on low to medium heat.
Step 2 Chop onion. Later, we'll blend everything, so it doesn't matter the size here unless you don't have an immersion blender. If you do not have one, then mince the onions.

Add to butter, let cook for about three minutes or less, then add the garlic (also minced, if you're not using an immersion blender).

Cook until the onion is translucent. Do not let the onion and garlic brown.
Step 3 Add flour, whisk or stir. Cook for another minute.
Step 4 Add veg stock, miso and soy sauce. Bring to low boil. Turn heat to simmer.
Step 5 Add nutritional yeast flakes, (salt) + pepper and taste. Stir and adjust as necessary.
Step 6 If the gravy is not thick enough for you, whisk together the cornstarch and hot water in separate bowl: add a bit at a time to the gravy and stir until desired consistency.
Step 7 If you have an immersion blender, whir up the gravy. Taste again and adjust flavour.
Step 8
Nutrition information. Click on the image and it will be easier to read. Magic.
Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 17.08.57

Miso Hungry Gravy pictured here with Sweet Potato Fries and a homemade veggie burger (recipe to come soon).

Many cayenne peppers

Homemade Frank’s hot sauce

Homemade Frank’s hot sauce

Serves 8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Breakfast, Dips, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Website food

Ingredients

  • 25-30 fresh cayenne chili peppers (depending on size)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (depending on size)
  • 450ml white vinegar
  • 3.5ml salt

Note

This is a slightly different version of this recipe. I've added more peppers and garlic and offer alternative puree methods. It is easier to buy it, I know. But I can't get it here in the Netherlands. I have received numerous care packages from home containing –among other Canadian delights– bottles of Frank's. Then, my super, awesome friend started supplying me from the UK. Thanks everyone!

Demand over supply had me always trying to find replacements and then I stumbled upon a recipe (above) and have now perfected it.

Directions

Step 1
Wash and cut stems from the cayenne peppers. Cut off the tips too, if they're gnarly; otherwise, toss them in too!
Many cayenne peppers
Step 2 Roughly cut the peppers in 2.5 cm | 1 in chunks (yes, seeds too...they are the magic part!)
Step 3 Roughly chop the garlic in a blender or by hand.
Step 4
Add everything to a pot and let it come to a light boil, then reduce heat enough to keep a slight boil. Continue cooking (and salivating) for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. The pepper flesh should be softer. Then, it blends easier.
Everything in the pot
Step 5 Remove from heat.
Step 6 Here you have two options:
1) Whir it all up with an immersion blender until you have a fairly smooth mixture.

2) Allow mixture to cool...and I don't mean cool-to-warm, I mean no heat. Pour into the blender and whir it up until you have a fairly smooth mixture. Do NOT try to puree in the blender while the mixture is still hot/warm. The steam created within the blender will pop the top off once the blender starts. And then...mayhem and possibly pain.
Step 7 Return mixture to the pot and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Step 8
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and mash the mixture to get the most sauce out. Don't waste a precious drop!
Straining the hot sauce
Step 9
Let it cool and then pour into a bottle. Store in the fridge. I believe it will keep for several weeks, but we use it so fast I have no idea how long it will last.
So much hot sauce!

Now, what do YOU put hot sauce on?

Arugula pesto in a wrap

Pesto, in many different ways

Pesto, in many different ways

Serves 3
Prep time 10 minutes
Allergy Milk, Tree Nuts
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Dips, Lunch, Salad
Once again, I haven't really measured anything, but here is my hapless recipe for delicious arugula pesto that you can use with pasts, on sandwiches or as a dip.

Ingredients

  • 1 handful pine nuts
  • 1-2 clove garlic
  • a few handful arugula
  • 1/2 cup parmesan (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup mild/light olive oil (adjust to consistency)
  • salt + pepper

Note

If you want to use less oil, add warm water to replace some of the oil (but not all of it).

Directions

Step 1 Toast the pine nuts in the oven or in a pan. Be careful not to let them burn! Let them cool down.
Step 2 Roughly chop the garlic in the food processor.
Step 3 Add the other ingredients to the food processor, except for the oliveoil, just add a bit for now to give the pesto some moisture.
Step 4
Drizzle the olive oil into the food processor as it mixes the pesto and check the consistency. Add more olive oil as needed.
Arugula / rocket /rucola pesto
Step 5 Salt and pepper to taste.
Step 6 On the first day, I used the pesto with some mushroom-filled ravioli. On the second day, I used in in veggie wraps. The wrap pictured contains arugula pesto, leftover rice, leafy greens, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, brown mushrooms and cheese.
Step 7
Nutrition
Nutrition

This post used to be called Arugula Pesto, but since I’ve added so many variations…I changed the title.

Let’s assume a constant of fresh basil, parmesan cheese*, garlic, salt + pepper. So, here are more combinations:

Fresh spinach, roasted pumpkin seeds and pine nuts

Fresh spinach, roasted pistachios

Avocado, pine nuts

*Replace the parm with nutritional yeast or other suitable substitute to make these vegan.

Tahini [put-it-on-everything] dressing

This incredible dressing and dip can go on or with pretty much anything.

Tahini dressing + dip

Serves 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Allergy Soy, Tree Nuts
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Dips, Lunch, Salad
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Half or quarter the recipe for less, but I bet you'll wish you didn't!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 6-7 cloves garlic ((to taste) I like tons of garlic + sometimes add more)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil (TOASTED sesame oil is preferred)
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (can also use red wine vinegar)
  • 5-6 stalks green onions ((to taste))
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce ((to taste))
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • salt + pepper ((to taste))

Note

We use this dressing on all kinds of salads and it is also delicious as a dip. You can drizzle it on a falafel sandwich, dip some spanikopita in it, dress a fresh spinach salad with it or add it to a rice /veggie bowl!

Directions

Step 1 Add all ingredients to a blender, hand blender or food processor.
Step 2 Mix until smooth...remember you have green onion and garlic in there!
Step 3 Taste. Add water/vinegar/lemon juice or soy sauce if it's too thick or to perk up the flavour. Add more tahini if it's too thin...but only a bit at a time.
Step 4 Pour into mason jars or recycled salad dressing bottles and store in the fridge.
Sweet potato fries and chipotle pepper dip

Sweet potato fries and chipotle pepper dip

Sweet potato fries and chipotle pepper dip

Serves 2-4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Dips, Lunch, Side Dish, Snack, Starter

Ingredients

Fries

  • 2 1/2lb sweet potatoes (slice to desired size, but not too thick or too thin)
  • deep fry oil (if you deep fry rather than bake)
  • 2-3 handfuls cornstarch ((and a holeless bag))
  • 1 heaped teaspoon oregano (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or smoked paprika powder (or to taste)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon onion powder (or to taste)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
  • salt + pepper (to taste)

Dip

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (light, regular or vegan)
  • 1/2 cup kwark or greek yoghurt
  • chipotle peppers (here you can use a sauce, dried or fresh peppers or a powder...the amount will depend on which type of chipotle pepper you use)
  • salt + pepper (to taste)
  • 1-2 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika powder (to taste)

Note

We like to eat these about once a month. You can eat them with a veggie burger or other main dish or eat them by themselves. We tend to choose the latter. 🙂

Directions

Fries
Step 1 Cut the sweet potatoes, but not too thickly or thinly —leave the skin on if you wish.
Step 2 Immerse cut sweet potatoes into a microwaveable bowl of hot water. Microwave on high for about five minutes. You don't want the sweet potatoes to cook and get soft...it's just to get the cooking process started.
Step 3 Drain the water from the sweet potatoes, but don't dry them off. You will need the excess water still clinging to the potatoes to adhere to the dry ingredients.
Step 4
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Then add a handful to the bag along with a couple of handfuls of the uncooked, damp fries. And shake, shake, shake until the fries are coated. They should be lightly coated, not glommy.
Cut and coated
Step 5
Now, you can either deep fry the sweet potatoes or bake them in a 425°F/ 220°C oven.

My experience shows that with the oven method, you will have to turn the fries and monitor them for done-ness. It takes a long time. Anywhere from 20-45 minutes.

I hate to admit it, but the deep fry route works a lot better and (of course) tastes a lot better than the oven method.
Fries and mayo
Dip
Step 6
Mix together all of the dip ingredients and adjust to taste.
Dip dip