Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Zesty Sunflower Seed Dip/Dressing

I'm a person that usually gravitates toward creamy dressings for salads.  While I don't think I'll ever become a full-time vegan, there are days that I just want to avoid meat or dairy products.  I have been playing with this particular recipe for the past couple of weeks, tweaking it here and there until finally nailing down a version I'm happy with.  I initially found the first version I'd made to be too tart (I thought I'd put a little too much lemon juice) so I put it in the fridge and started over with a new batch.  Upon tasting it again later, I found that it wasn't so bad after all.  In fact, the more I tasted it the more I liked it.  It was great for dipping veggies but still a little too thick to pour over a salad (easily fixed with a bit more liquid to produce a creamy, dairy-free dressing).  If you give this recipe a try feel free to tweak it to suit your taste buds.  Ancho chile powder adds some kick; occasionally I will also add a couple of splashes of Tabasco chipotle sauce for a bit more heat.  Recipe follows next...

Zesty Sunflower Seed Dip/Dressing

1/3 cup salted sunflower seeds (roasted)*
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic (if the cloves are small use 3)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. fresh oregano (I prefer fresh but if you only have dried oregano on hand that should be fine)
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. Ancho chile powder (add more or less to taste, I sometimes add 2 tsp)
1/4 tsp. paprika (optional)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil*
About 1/4 cup lemon juice (add more or less to taste)
About 1/4 cup water (I use slightly less than 1/4 cup to make the dip, add the full 1/4 cup for a creamy dressing)

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  For the dip I use slightly less than 1/4 cup of water.  For a creamy dressing I add the full 1/4 cup; if the mixture is still too thick for you add a bit more water until you reach desired consistency.  Makes about 8 ounces of dip/dressing

*I've only used roasted sunflower seeds for this recipe so far.  I have yet to try it with raw sunflower seeds but plan to do so soon.  For those on a gluten-free diet, avoid using dry roasted sunflower seeds as the seasonings used may contain wheat.

*I use extra virgin olive oil in this recipe (I love the stuff and always have a bottle on hand in the pantry) but you may want to substitute grapeseed or sunflower oil.

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