Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Creamy Capsicum and Sunflower Dip

Just like any other cuisine, it's easy to get in a rut with gourmet raw foods. You know the scenario: preparing the same limited repertoire of dishes over and over again until you're bored sick. While I don't think I'll ever get sick of big salads, I do need some variety from time to time as well. So I got to thinking of other ways to make eating raw veggies a little more fun.

The answer? Dips! The beauty of dips as a raw food eater is that not only can you pack lots of veggies and greens into the dip itself, but you can also use different veggies and greens as the dip vehicles, so to speak.

Rocket in my veggie garden

I love celebrating seasonality, so I've developed a few new dips using the best of local summer produce. First is a simple rocket pesto, made from the bounty of my garden. The wild rocket in my garden is ultra peppery, with a much more spicy and juicy flavor than the kind you buy in a shop. I like to balance this with some sweet sundried tomatoes, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and intense local olive oil. It's lovely as a dip with crisp veggies sticks, makes a great condiment for marinated portobello mushrooms, and can be tossed with some zucchini pasta.

The second dip is all about capsicum. As any Italian cook knows, roasting capsicum really intensifies and sweetens the flavor, but it turns out that dehydrating does the same thing! To make a creamy dip similar to the ubiquitous dairy-rich version, I used germinated sunflower seeds. Lots of lemon juice and a generous application of spices creates a symphony of flavors.

Mushroom Dip

Finally, creamy mushroom dip was inspired by these amazing swiss brown beauties that have been grown just down the road at CERES. I've been lucky to play with these lovelies all summer, and this is my favorite dish so far. It tastes even better on the second day, as the mushroom flavor just seems to grow overnight. The texture is creamy - you'd swear there was cheese in there!

I like to serve the dips with a variety of vegetables and greens for dipping. Cucumber rounds are great with the mushroom dip, rocket or spinach leaves compliment the capsicum dip, and any sturdy vegetables match the rocket dip.

Rocket Pesto
2 cups fresh rocket, tightly packed
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked to rehydrate
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea/himalayan salt

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until fairly smooth (leave a bit of texture). Voila! Super easy.

Creamy Capsicum and Sunflower Dip
2 large red capsicums (bell peppers), chopped and dehydrated 8 hours
2 cups sprouted sunflower seeds*
1/4 red onion, chopped
juice of one lemon
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch of cayenne
up to 1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in food processor and whir until smooth, adding water as necessary to achieve a very smooth texture.

*For info on sprouting, see my post on Sprouted Wheat Salad with Tangy Tamari Dressing. In this case it is sufficient to soak the seeds overnight, but you'll get more nutrition out of them if you leave them a day or two until they have tiny tails.

Mushroom Dip

12 swiss brown button mushrooms
1/2 tsp sea/himalayan salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 leaves fresh sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp cashew butter, or 1/4 cup really raw cashews, soaked
1 Tbsp tamari

Reserve 2 swiss brown mushrooms; finely chop the remaining 10 and place in a bowl with salt, olive oil, sage and thyme. Let marinate for 1/2 hour or longer. At the same time, cut the remaining 2 mushrooms into thin slices and marinate in the same mixture but in a separate bowl.

In a food processor, combine marinated mushrooms along with the marinade and juice, nutritional yeast, cashews or cashew butter, and tamari. Whir until very smooth. Place in a bowl and top with the marinated mushroom slices.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the mushroom dip. Thank you for posting

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