I recently started working in a different team that includes a vegan co-worker. I’m well versed in the world of vegan cookery but it appears that at least some of my colleagues are not. Contributions at a recent morning tea included dishes were thought to be vegan friendly but included ingredients such as egg and cheese. Rosie the Vegan is well able to take care of herself and never expects others to cater for her but I thought it might be nice to bring along vegan contributions to our morning teas to provide an additional treat.
A quick review of the recipes on this site reveals that a lot of them are vegetarian and many of them are accidentally vegan. Roasted Sweetcorn Popsicles, Pumpkin & Dahl Soup, Chilled Almond Soup and Barbecued Spring Vegetable Salad w Honey Miso Dressing to name a few, but none are very practical for a work morning tea.
After delivering Black Bean Brownies (a very popular recipe on the blog) and Tahini Caramel Lunchbox Bites, I was looking to add a savoury contribution. With time short, I decided to make a Cashew & Red Pepper dip.
Miso instead of cheese
Cashews are a hugely popular ingredient in vegan cooking. They add a creamy texture that is used as a replacement for dairy products. Boiling the cashews helps to soften their texture. Typically you would also include Parmesan cheese in this dip, for a savoury punch of umami. I substituted the cheese with miso paste. I have an aged, fermented miso, which is more mellow than standard miso. If white or red miso is all you can lay your hands on, add it gradually, to make sure it doesn’t overpower the other flavours.
Shortcuts can make life easier
The first version I made of this dip was a last minute job, using some defrosted cubes of frozen spinach with the excess liquid squeezed out. This version uses capsicum (red pepper) out of a large jar that I’d bought for another purpose. You can of course blister, peel and de-seed your own capsicum but, I think using a jar is a worthwhile shortcut. Everything is blended into the Cashew & Red Pepper Dip anyway. Save the effort of made roasted capsicum for an antipasto platter instead.
Needless to say, Rosie was very happy to have some options on the morning tea table and I was happy to have another quick recipe in my repertoire.
Cashew & Red Pepper Dip
- 500g raw cashews (you will use 250g and freeze 250g)
- 4 x garlic cloves, peeled
- 200g roasted capsicum (red pepper), peeled and drained
- 1 x tbsp olive oil
- 2 x tspn miso paste (white/shiro or red)
- seasoning (if required – taste before you season!)
- Place cashews and garlic cloves in a large saucepan with 750ml of water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Once cashews and garlic have cooled to room temperature, drain the water off (this can be used in a soup or stock if you are making one). Roughly divide the cashews in half. Place one half into a bag and freeze for use at a later date for another savoury vegan dip or sauce.
- Place the other half of the cashews, capsicum, olive oil and 1 teaspoon of miso in a food processor or blender. Process for a few minutes, until the ingredients start to break down and combine.
- Taste before you add the second teaspoon of miso or any seasoning. You don’t want the dip to be too salty. Add extra miso and any seasoning if it’s needed.
- Continue to blend the Cashew & Red Pepper dip until you have the desired consistency. I left mine a little chunky but you can continue to blend for a creamier consistency.
- Serve as a dip with vegan Leftover Sourdouh Starter Crackers or crudités. Alternatively, you can stir this through pasta for a quick sauce.
Makes 2 x 250g dip containers
Use one dip straight away and freeze the other for another time