Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vegan Green Goddess Dressing

Last weekend, in the first wave of 70+ weather we've had this Spring, I went to the Greenmarket to fulfill one of my most anticipated goals of the season: a fire escape herb garden. Brimming with excitement, I delicately carried my tiny pots of mint, basil, parsley, and rosemary home, along with fresh soil and a wooden flower box I had picked up at Home Depot.  My career as a gardener had begun! I would have fragrant, wonderful fresh herbs right outside my window all spring and summer long! My herbs would literally be garden fresh, rooted in soil and as sprightly as can be. I would make salads, soups, garnishes, even cocktails with my new herbs. Oh the possibilities!






Two days later, my hopes and dreams were shattered when a building notice, slipped under my door, informed me that plants on the fire escape violated the NYC fire code and must be removed immediately, or else a fine. (NYC, you really kill me sometimes.) But in those 48 hours of green-thumbed glory, I created a wonderfully herbed quinoa salad, and this lovely Vegan Green Goddess Dressing.

Garden or no garden, I encourage you to experiment with a variety of herbs when making this revitalizing, almost cleansing salad dressing. Each herb brings its own unique verdancy to the lovely, virescent dressing. Parsley is a must, but the addition of dill musters a feathery, fern-like freshness; while basil conjures a pesto-y nuance. Tarragon and chives are welcomed guests, too.


The classic green goddess dressing gets it creamy consistency from a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream, and anchovies, but the vegan version says no thank you to excessive saturated fat by simply using tahini in its place. (You can read all about my obsession with tahini and its health benefits here.) With such a strong emphasis on garden-fresh herbs, why shouldn't the base be earthy light as well? Here, lots of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar offset the slight bitterness of the tahini, creating a tart acidity that's almost vinaigrette-like. However, the consistency is truly as creamy as can be, and the juxtaposition of vinaigrette and creaminess is totally amazing. I don't pour this dressing on the salad, I slather. It's divine.

With a thicker consistency, this dressing can even be used as a dip for crudités or pita chips. To achieve this, add only 2 tbsp of water instead 1/4 cup, and ta-da! Let your inner Green Goddess glow.

Vegan Green Goddess Dressing
Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:
1/2 cup raw tahini
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons fresh parsley
3 tablespoons fresh basil (or dill)
2 green onions, chopped (or 2 tbsp fresh chives)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp natural sweetener, such as agave nectar or honey

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or in a bowl and use an emersion blender.) Blend until smooth. Adjust salt and herbs to taste, and add more water if consistency is too thick.

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