Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Vegan Oil-Free Ranch Dressing (jalapeño ranch option)

I've been experimenting with ranch dressing for over 2 years.  I've tried many different recipes and have never made a bad one.  I consider this one a culmination of over 2 years of research and lots and lots of salads... and many batches of cauliflower buffalo wings!

If you like it spicy add the picked jalapeños. You won't be sorry!

Vegan Ranch Dressing
1 12.3-ounce box firm silken tofu
¼ cup soaked cashews
¾ tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried dill
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 large cloves garlic
2 Tbsp Braggs liquid aminos
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ packet stevia, or about 3 drops liquid stevia
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp pickled jalapeño (optional, for jalapeño ranch dressing flavor)
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Pour into glass jar and refrigerate.  Tastes best when allowed to chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but still good immediately.

Creamed Spinach

I think I was a weird kid in comparison to your average kid in terms of food.  If my memory serves me correctly, I liked everything, including vegetables.  Much to my dismay, my 10-year did not inherit that from me.  Boohoo...

I distinctively remember creamed spinach being served for lunch at camp one summer and everyone refusing to eat it, except the adults and yours truly.  I remember yearning for seconds, but did not dare not for fear of being made fun of.

It occurred to me tonight that I've made wonderful vegan versions of hot spinach-artichoke dip, spinach souffle and spinach quiche, but never creamed spinach.  This is a simple recipe that can be ready to eat in about 20 minutes.  Just remember to soak your cashews ahead of time for best results.  It is creamy, brightly flavored with fresh spinach and good old-fashioned comfort food!

Creamed Spinach
1/3 cup raw cashews
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups non-dairy milk (I used soy milk)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
2 Tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional but very good
1/4 ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound fresh spinach
Soak cashews in water for at least 2 hours, or 15 minutes in very hot water.
Place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until soft and lightly golden. Add a tablespoon of water at a time to prevent sticking.  
Place all remaining ingredients, except spinach, in blender and blend until completely smooth.  Pour into skillet and continue heating over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and lightly bubbling, about 5 minutes.  Lower heat to medium-low, add spinach a little at a time and stir into sauce after each addition while it wilts.  The pan will seem too full, but the spinach will wilt down significantly.   Heat through and serve immediately.