Spreads Make Life Easier!
Having some good low-fat, healthy spreads is a great way to keep out of the kitchen most weeknights. Just do the prep work once every three or four days and the cooking in the late evening or morning–away from the heat of the late afternoon. You’ll be glad you did! Use the following spreads, which we taste-tested at Gilda’s Club, to make wraps, dollop on greens or as a dip for veggies. Each of these has protein and plant-based fat so you will love how filling they are. Give ‘em a try!
As a confirmed lover of the ease and fishy-ness of tuna salad, I am happy to present this wonderful companion to the genre. Garbanzos give you a nice chewy texture and the capers and a little seaweed (not strictly necessary) gives you that beloved ‘tuna breath’ (well, not really, but a briny taste). My cooking partner at Gilda’s, Suzie MacKeigan, says the dulse reminds her of growing up in Nova Scotia and eating this seaweed off the rocks. Suzie said her wrap was indistinguishable from tuna salad! If you can’t get this close to the real deal without adding sweet relish, I won’t tell. It’s your salad.
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1T Dijon mustard
3T Vegenaise vegan mayo*
1T dulse flakes, or chopped toasted nori, or other seaweed, optional
1 salad cucumber, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
2 T red onion, minced (or, to taste)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
Combine 1st five ingredients in food processor and pulse until well combined, but still a bit chunky. Fold in rest of ingredients. Let sit a bit at room temperature to let the flavors meld.
Artichoke Spinach Dip (adapted from Alicia Simpson)
May I just say this is such a healthy and quite similar version to the parmesan-mayo double punch. You have to try it. Even if you’re a confirmed tofu hater.
1 lb. spinach
1 12 oz. box box soft tofu*
2 T olive oil
Two garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup nutritional yeast*
¾ tsp. fine sea salt
½ tsp. onion powder
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts
Steam spinach until wilted and tender. Set aside to cool. When cool, squeeze it dry and chop.
Place remaining ingredients except artichokes in blender and puree.
Drain artichoke hearts and squeeze dry. Chop.
Fold artichokes and spinach into liquid mixture and pour into an oiled baking dish. Bake at 375 for twenty minutes or until bubbly. Serve with crackers or raw vegetables.
Sue’s Artichoke Spinach Dip
here’s an un-cook version, and one that can be soy-free if you use soy-free vegan mayo.
1 can artichoke hearts
2 cloves garlic
6 cups spinach
2 T nutritional yeast*
1 tsp dried mustard
2 T vegan mayo
½ tsp salt
¾ cup great northern beans
1 ½ T lemon juice
Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts, then squeeze dry. Chop roughly
Put fresh spinach in food processor and pulse to mince
Add next seven ingredients, through lemon juice process until smooth
Fold in artichoke hearts. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and serve
Lentil-walnut Pate (adapted from Terry Walters)
My friend, Tamara, who has spent a great deal of time in France, says this is better than liver pate. Um, I wouldn’t know. But it’s a huge hit at parties, though it’s not pretty to look at so sprinkle with chopped parsley and tomatoes to make it less… brown. Or get creative, as with the picture above and put lots of spreads together to make it look more festive. Lentil walnut pate is pictured here with chickpea of the sea, carrot hummus and regular hummus.
2 cups water
1 cup French lentils*
1 thumb-sized piece kombu*
1 T olive oil
2 medium onions
1 cup walnuts
Ume plum vinegar to taste*
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Put lentils in saucepan with water. Tuck kombu beneath lentils and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer 25-30 minutes until lentils are done and water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, chop onions roughly and sauté until translucent
Roughly chop walnuts and put on piece of parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
Drain lentils if necessary and place in food processor along with rest of ingredients except ume plum vinegar. Puree, adding dashes of plum vinegar to taste.
Plum vinegar is salty, so you may not need any other salt, but you can stop the processor and taste and adjust with more vinegar or salt to your liking
*I have found all these ingredients at Harvest Health. Nourish Organic Market will also have many of them.