One of the big perks of working at BenBella is getting to check out all of the scrumptious new cookbooks. With so many talented authors on our roster, it’s easy to end up experimenting a lot in the kitchen and developing fresh culinary favorites. In the Staff Recipe Favorites column, we’ll be sharing some of the best-loved employee eats. We hope you enjoy as much as we do! See previous posts here.
Thoughts from Jennifer
The hardest part of cooking healthier and more plant-based (well, for me) has been the intimidation of new ingredients, unfamiliar cooking techniques, and the admittedly incorrect assumption that to make something “new” means to make something complicated.
Enter Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families. Her book has been such a wonderful bridge from leaving old, comfortable favorites behind and cooking new, healthier, yet easy plant-based dishes. And as a mom myself, any cookbook that’s approved by kids gets me eager to bookmark some pages!
I was recently looking for a dip to add to a menu for a night hosting friends, a combination of plant-based eaters and meat eaters, and I was also hoping to keep my actual time in the kitchen to a minimum. I flipped to this dip and couldn’t believe how easy it seemed. Toss a bunch of ingredients in a blender, heat on the stove for less than ten minutes, and that’s it? Count me in.
And I had everything in my kitchen except miso and lemons (and the latter was because I had just ran out the night before; we usually have a kitchen full of them).
I used pita, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes for dipping, but you can use whatever veggies/breads you have on hand.
Add it to your next party menu or have it for a snack-y dinner sometime but, most importantly, take it from me: making a plant-based dish can be as easy as anything you’ve made before.
Make it Yourself
Makes 1½ –1¾ cups
This warm dip seems like it has mozzarella melted in, because it has a melty, gooey, mild cheesiness that is really yummy! Try it with breads, tortilla chips, veggies, or anything you like.
1/3 cup raw almonds or cashews
1/3 cup rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for a gluten-free version)
1/3 cup peeled, cooked, and cooled red or Yukon gold potato (see note)
½ teaspoon chickpea or other mild miso (optional; see note)
½ scant teaspoon sea salt 1 very small clove garlic
1 cup plus 2–5 tablespoons plain unsweetened almond milk (see note)
1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine the nuts, oats, potato, miso, sea salt, garlic, 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of the milk, and lemon juice in a blender and puree until very smooth.
Transfer mixture to a small/medium saucepan, and heat over low/low-medium heat for 5–8 minutes, stirring frequently until mixture starts to slowly bubble and thicken. To thin sauce slightly, stir in another 1–2 tablespoons of milk, or more as needed for desired consistency (it will thicken more as it sits as well). Avoid thickening sauce over high heat (or increasing heat too quickly), because this sauce can scorch easily.
Once sauce has thickened, transfer to a serving dish and serve. Alternatively, you can transfer to a baking dish and set under the broiler for a few minutes to lightly brown the top before serving.
Potato Note: Use a waxy potato like a Yukon or red here; the texture/flavor is preferable.
Miso Note: A few extra pinches of salt can be substituted if you don’t have miso on hand (though a touch of miso adds a certain umami quality).
Milk Note: I opt for plain unsweetened almond milk or soy milk in this dip. They have more neutral flavors and aren’t as sweet tasting as rice and hemp milks can be. Use the extra couple of tablespoons of milk to “rinse” the blender and get out all the dippy goodness!
Serving Suggestions: We love this dip slathered on warm, crusty whole-grain breads to pair with soups. Or, try alongside chili with tortilla chips for dipping!