Vegan Spinach Dip

Marc Matsumoto

Hi! I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques while giving you the confidence and inspiration to cook without recipes too!

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Vegan Spinach Dip

I'd be a liar and you'd never believe a thing I said if I told you that this vegan spinach dip tastes exactly like the full fat, full cheese, full mayo version. But I'd be an equally big fibber if I neglected to convey just how ridiculously good this spinach dip is.

To help you get the picture, let me start by sharing my mental dialog as I devour a normal batch of spinach dip at a party:

Bite 1: "OMG!!! This is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!"

Bites 2-5: "Ohhh... I reaalllly shouldn't... but I can't help myself"

Bites 6-10: "Now I'm thirsty, let me wash it down with a giant red Solo cup of soda."

Bites 11-∞:"It's gone and I ate most of it... What have I done... How could I have been so weeeak..."

Perhaps you can relate? Well, here's the internal dialog I had with myself as I scarfed down this vegan spinach dip:

Bite 1: "hmm... not quite the same...."

Bite 2-5: " But... this is pretty damn good!"

Bites 6-10: "Wow! I can't {MUNCH}... stop...{DIP}...eating... {CHOMP}... it"

Bites 11-∞: " It's gone... but I just ate 189% of my daily Vitamin A, 94% of my Iron, 82% of my Calcium, 72% of my magnesium, 57% of my protein, 56% of my vitamin C, 50% of my fiber for the day..."

And while I can't promise you won't feel any guilt at all (especially if you hijack that part of the buffet and slap away hungry hands trying to get a taste), but I can tell you that you won't have to go to confession at your cardiologist's office.

Vegan Spinach Dip

So what makes it so good? Well, first I use a combination of soft tofu with raw cashew nuts. The soft tofu brings a satiny smooth texture and creaminess like mayonnaise. The cashews mellow out the "soy" taste of the tofu while adding richness and just a hint of sweetness.

To get the cheese flavor, I add nutritional yeast. It may sound like a weird addition if you've never had it, but one taste and I promise even hardened carnivores will want some to sprinkle on their next steak. It's made by culturing a strain of yeast, which is harvested and sterilized before it's dried and packaged. The resulting yellow flakes have a cheesy, nutty flavor, that's bursting with umami producing amino acids.

Because real cheese undergoes lacto-fermentation it's always a little acidic. This is what gives cheddar it's "sharp" taste. To mimic this, I add a little apple cider vinegar. It not only makes it taste more like cheese, the hint of acidity helps lighten up the creaminess of the spinach dip ever so slightly.

Together with fresh spinach, crispy water chestnuts and a little smoked paprika and you have yourself a luxuriously creamy, spinach dip with all the right textures and flavors, keeping you reaching back for more.... until it's gone.

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Vegan Spinach DipI'd be a liar and you'd never believe a thing I said if I told you that this vegan spinach dip tastes exactly like the full fat, full cheese, full mayo version. But I'd be an equally big fibber if I neglected to convey just how ridiculously good this spinach dip is. To help you get the picture, let ...

Summary

47550
  • Courseappetizer
  • Cuisineamerican
  • Yield1 skillet 1 skillet
  • Cooking Time15 minutesPT0H15M
  • Preparation Time5 minutesPT0H5M
  • Total Time20 minutesPT0H20M

Ingredients

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400 grams
Soft tofu
100 grams
Raw cashew nuts (3/4 cup soaked in water overnight and drained)
25 grams
Nutritional yeast (~1/4 cup)
2 teaspoons
Apple cider vinegar
3 grams
Salt (~1/2 teaspoon)
260 grams
Spinach (175 grams cooked and squeezed)
1 tablespoon
Vegetable oil
175 grams
Onion (1 medium onion)
2 cloves
Garlic (minced)
100 grams
Water chestnuts (diced)
Extra virgin olive oil
Smoked paprika

Steps

  1. Add the tofu, soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, vinegar, and salt to the bowl of a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and blend until it forms a smooth puree. If the blender won't spin, try adding a little water (or coconut milk) at a time and use the tamper to help it along. The mixture should have the consistency of pudding.
  2. Chop the roots off the spinach and put it into a large bowl. Wash the spinach under running water while agitating it with your fingers until the water is no longer muddy. Then, stop the water and give any remaining grit a chance to settle to the bottom of the water.
  3. Lift the floating spinach off the top of the water, leaving any remaining sand at the bottom of the bowl.
    Vegan Spinach Dip
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the spinach. Boil until the spinach is tender. 1-2 minutes.
  5. Drain the spinach, rinse with cold water and then squeeze the excess water out of the spinach.
    Vegan Spinach Dip
  6. Chop the spinach into small pieces.
    Vegan Spinach Dip
  7. Add the oil, onions and garlic to a frying pan and sauté over medium-high heat until the onions are a caramel brown color and have reduced to about 1/4 of their original volume.
  8. Add the water chestnuts and spinach and, sauté to heat through.
    Vegan Spinach Dip
  9. Turn down the heat and add the tofu and cashew puree. Stir constantly until the spinach dip is heated through. Adjust salt to taste.
    Vegan Spinach Dip
  10. Drizzle with a little olive oil and then dust with smoked paprika. Serve with vegetables and bread.

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