Do you hate tofu? Then you can probably ignore this recipe – I don’t think it tastes tofu-y at all, but I’m also not prepared for the responsibility to guarantee that or for this to be the thing that will change your mind (though it might). If you at least tolerate it, though, read on.
My shameful confession: sometimes I find crudités boring on their own. This is tough, because I eat a lot of veggies, but sometimes I don’t feel like plain celery or carrots (or, as in the picture above, broccoli) and just want something to dunk ‘em in. If I’m going to have something indulgent to eat, I can’t bring myself to make it a fatty/junky dip or dressing whose counter-intuitive purpose is to make me more enthusiastic about eating something that would be health if not for the condiment. Supermarket “healthy” or “low-fat” dips are even worse – they taste bad and are filled with all kinds of artificial crap. Hummus is a good option, but I already eat a lot of hummus.
SO, I’ve been working on this one (a sort of vegan mayo/dip) and think I’ve got it figured out pretty well. The dip explained here is quick, easy, surprisingly tasty and quite healthy (about 1/8 the fat of mayo, even 1/2 the fat of hummus with comparable protein). It’s also something of a blank canvas to which other colors (I mean flavors) can be added – sometimes I’ll add some chopped roasted peppers or sun-dried tomatoes or a tablespoon of pesto, and the herbs can be adjusted to whatever’s available (it’s fresh cilantro in the photo). And, I’ve been surprised to discover, it keeps just fine in a plastic container in the fridge for 3 weeks or so, more than long enough to eat my fair share of raw veggies! I’m less crazy about it as a sandwich spread, but then I’m generally not inclined to use normal mayo for that purpose so I’m not the best judge.
– If you keep roasted garlic around (which I recommend), this is perfect. I discuss that in my “cream” of spinach soup recipe (click here). If not, it’s probably not worth roasting it just for this otherwise-quick recipe. Use a small, crushed clove of raw garlic or 1/2 to 1 tsp of dried garlic flakes instead (or omit entirely if you’re not into garlic).
– Ignore this if you’re already tofu-savvy. Silken tofu is the very soft (even if it says “firm” on the package – that’s just the firm end of this kind of soft) tofu that you find in your miso soup at the sushi place. It’s really blendable and soft, perfect for this kind of thing. More conventional, firm tofu is not what you want here. Make sure it says “silken” somewhere on the package, and in most cases (like the health-food store, where you can also ask them to make sure), that package will be found in “vacuum-packed” form and not in the refrigerated section, though in the supermarket you can sometimes find it refrigerated and packed like any other tofu.
– After it’s been sitting in the fridge it may separate a bit, with a layer of water on top. This is a little gross-looking but totally normal and goes away as soon as you stir it.
Here’s the recipe:
– 1 package (12 oz) firm silken tofu
– 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
– 2 Tbsp wine vinegar or lemon juice
– 1 Tbsp mustard (ideally Dijon, but others will do in a pinch)
– 3/4 tsp salt
– Generous amount of ground black pepper
– 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs or 2 tsp dried herbs (pick your favorites)
– Optional: 4 cloves roasted garlic (see the first note above)
1) Throw everything in a food processor or blender
2) Process for a minute or two until smooth and devoid of lumps – you might need to scrape it down with a rubber spatula once or twice along the way.
3) Dunk your veggies! Or crackers or chips or whatever.