Question: I like to offer lots of dips for chips, veggies, and breadsticks when I cater. I usually use sour cream or yogurt as a base. My vegan clients are getting tired of salsa and hummus (garbanzo bean dip). Any suggestions?
Answer: Thanks for thinking of your vegan clients during party time. You’re off to a great start. Traditional salsa (tomatoes, chilies, cilantro, onions) is a great dip, marinade, and even a base for hot sauces and soups (add salsa to tomato or vegetable soup for flavor variety). But salsa does not have to be tomato-based only. You can make a citrus salsa with grapefruit and orange segments, chopped onion, cilantro, and chilies. Serve this on its own or add chopped pineapple, mango, fresh peaches, or apricots. You can roast vegetables, such as summer squash and red bell peppers and add this to a tomato salsa. The variations are endless. Ditto for hummus. You can purchase different flavored hummus or make your own. Add puréed red or yellow pepper, chilies, roasted corn, or tomatoes. Or use black beans or red beans to prepare the hummus instead of garbanzos. (We’ve included some information on commercially available hummus below in the Vegan Food Products section.)
Bean dips are easy to make. Purée cooked beans and add garlic, onions, chilies, lemon juice, parsley, and other seasonings your clients like. You can purchase soy yogurt and soy sour cream and use them rather than dairy products with the recipes you currently use. Puréed silken tofu mixed with a small amount of lemon juice can also be used as a base for savory dips.
Avocado is a great base for dips. Mash fresh ripe avocados or purchase frozen avocado pulp. Prepare a basic guacamole with mashed avocado, onion, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, and chili. You can serve this as is or add seasonings such as curry powder and cumin for an Indian flavor, rice vinegar and soy sauce for an Asian style, or fresh shredded basil, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts for an Italian flair.
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