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When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

November 14, 2010

When I did my vegan challenge back in January, one of the first things I noticed was that EVERY vegan cookbook and blog has a recipe for vegan cheeze, usually made with some combination of nuts, nutritional yeast, and spices.  I’ve tried my hand at several variations myself, and finally have a recipe that I’m really satisfied with.  It’s tangy, savory, and delicious, with a spicy kick.

Here’s the thing: it ain’t cheese.

I hate it when people insist on giving vegetarian or vegan dishes some sort of non-veg counterpart name:  vegan bacon…vegetarian sausage…vegan milk.  Calling these things “vegan” or “vegetarian” forces the person eating them to immediately draw all sorts of comparisons, instead of simply enjoying the food for what it is. 

So no, this isn’t vegan cheese dip.  It’s cashew red pepper spread.  And it’s delicious.

Cashew Red Pepper Spread


1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 cups cashews

2 tbsp. nutritional yeast

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 roasted red pepper (mine was from a jar; feel free to roast your own)

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. salt (you can add more or less, depending on your preference)

1/3-1/2 cup water


In a small pan, heat the olive oil.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 5-10 minutes, until soft. 

In a food processor, process the cashews until they’re finely ground.  Add the onions, garlic, and all of the other ingredients except for the water. Continue to process, scraping down the sides periodically.

Once the spread is fully processed and smooth, add the water, starting with 1/3 cup and adding more if a thinner spread is desired.

Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, and vegetable crudite.  Enjoy!

*       *        *

I only used a third of a cup of water, and my dip was SUPER thick.  I brought it as a contribution to the sea shanty party spread, and received many compliments!

Here are some pictures of the final product:

cashew red pepper spread

cashew red pepper spread 

Yum! The perfect accompaniment to an afternoon of shanty-singing.  Yarrrrrrgh! 😉

15 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2010 4:32 pm

    I made a similar dip this summer, at the height of my cashew madness!! It is SO flavorful and EVERYONE who ate it loved it… even the diehard meat eaters. 😀

  2. greensandjeans permalink
    November 14, 2010 4:49 pm

    Where are the sea shanty outfit pictures? I can only assume that you and Ryan wore eye patches and peg legs

    • November 14, 2010 5:55 pm

      Sadly, there was only ONE pirate there, and it was not me or Ryan.

  3. November 14, 2010 5:07 pm

    This “cheese” sounds fantastic! My favorite vegan cheese recipe has been a Whole Foods recipe for tofu ricotta. I swear it was better than the real thing.

  4. November 14, 2010 6:14 pm

    I know, right…what in the h*ll is a vegan wing or ribs? I don’t get it. This sounds amazing! I NEED to make this!

  5. November 14, 2010 6:19 pm

    I LOVE that you call this what it IS- it sounds so much more appetizing (and it sounds really realllly good!)

  6. November 14, 2010 7:07 pm

    I TOTALLY agree! It always implies that it’s a less tasty, happy-hippy-dippy-trippy version of a “real” food, rather than an equally delicious and vegan-friendly dish in and of itself!

  7. November 14, 2010 8:31 pm

    Oh yum! That looks and sounds great.

  8. November 14, 2010 9:43 pm

    I LOVE using cashew cream in recipes. This is my favorite ( Your spread looks very yummy. Cheese or not- I want to try it 😉

  9. November 14, 2010 11:47 pm

    ahh, now I get this song stuck in my head, haha

    we make cashew pepper spread all the time, one of our favs!!

    Yours sounds amazing!! Love the sun-dried tomato addition!!


  10. November 15, 2010 1:42 am

    I loved this post before I even read it, any post named after a Freak Nasty song is alright by me! Then I read the post, and loved it more! I love this spread idea, seems so decadent and rich in comparison to the sauces that are comprised of much of the same ingredients. Though, if you had a lot of leftovers of this spread on your hands I bet that adding a cup or so of veggie broth or water and heating it would work well transforming this into a deeelicious sauce. Yum!

  11. November 15, 2010 12:38 pm

    I love the sound of this…it looks like a nice change of pace from all of the hummus I’ve been eating these days.

  12. November 15, 2010 2:09 pm

    Yum, this looks wonderful and it may be perfect for a Thanksgiving appetizer. Thanks!

  13. November 16, 2010 3:20 pm

    I recently had nutritional yeast for the first time on kale chips- I am impressed! This recipe looks fantastic 🙂

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