Betsy and I spent a few days in Nashville before Thanksgiving last week and one of the restaurants that we decided to hit up was a vegetarian/vegan spot called The Wild Cow.
As you probably know, I’m neither vegetarian or vegan, but I do generally like vegetarian food. I love stuff like tofu and tempeh. I find it delicious if cooked correctly so I was excited to check this place out.
The meal was excellent. Betsy has some delicious sweet potato tacos and her mom had some lentils that were some of the best lentils I’ve had.
Honestly, the thing I thought was the best though was the appetizer that we got which was a cashew dip. I asked the server what was in it and after a long, lackadaisical stare he said:
After I a gave him a Three Stooges like smack (sound), he also told me that there were chickpeas in it also.
That’s a start I guess. I took it from there. It’s possible that my Cashew Dip turned out even better than theirs…
1) Drain chickpeas and add them to a bowl filled with cool water. Rub chickpeas together gently between your hands to remove their thin outer, tough skin. The skins should float to the top of the water and then you can scoop them off. You don't need to worry about getting them all.
2) Add chickpeas to a food processor with cashews and pulse until they are in a rough paste.
3) Drizzle in olive oil, lemon juice, and coconut milk and continue to process. If the dip is a bit thick, add in more coconut milk until it reached desired texture.
4) Season with salt.
5) Serve dip sprinkled with paprika. Serve with pita chips.
This Cashew Dip is really similar to a hummus, but I think the flavors are way more interesting than most hummus. It’s slightly sweet and creamy and great on pita chips or veggies.
The base of the dip is these two things.
Basically, we just process these guys together, but before doing so, I recommend a step that some people are going to find annoying and skip.
That’s okay. But don’t blame me when your dip isn’t silky smooth.
The step is peeling the chickpeas. As you can see, chickpeas have this tough outer skin on them. It’s translucent so you can’t really see it until you get it off of the chickpeas.
The problem I’ve found is that no matter how much you process, these things just never break down 100%. This is probably why your homemade hummus isn’t as smooth as store bought hummus.
The best way to peel the things is to drain them and dump them in a large bowl with cold water. Using your hands, rub the chickpeas together underwater and the skins will float to the surface.
Then you can just skim them off.
See this? You can’t process this into a smooth anything.
I usually spend just a few minutes doing this and I shoot for 95% of the chickpeas. As you can see, I miss some.
Having some un-peeled ones won’t kill you. The slightly lighter chickpeas still have the skin on them and I just left it at this point.
Making the Cashew Dip
Once you get that annoying step out of the way, just toss the chickpeas and cashews in a food processor and pulse them until they are in a rough paste.
Then add in your lemon and olive oil and continue to pulse it.
The Secret Ingredient
The real key to this Cashew Dip is to find a way to make it really creamy without adding actual cream to it (I tried to stick to the vegan thing).
Coconut milk was my answer and I think it worked better than actual cream would have worked honestly. It added the texture I was looking for and also gave the dip a very soft sweetness.
Pulse this all together and taste it for salt. It might need a pinch of salt depending on whether or not your cashews were salted or not.
If your dip is still really thick, feel free to add in a bit more coconut milk until it reaches the consistency you want.
You can serve this as-is or sprinkle the dip with some paprika like I did for the first photo.
This is really addictive stuff.
This Cashew Dip is one of those recipes that is awesome to serve at a party. People will be beating down your door for the recipe.