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Vegan for the Holidays

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All the world is nuts about

    What's in The Nut Gourmet

The Nutty Gourmet

Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

The plump 3-pound bag of almonds sitting on my counter provided the inspiration for this very tasty, tangy nutty spread that's amazingly versatile--and it's super-easy to assemble. It keeps for a whole week in the fridge, making it a convenient topping to have on hand.

The combination of almonds and chives with a touch of dried onions creates a captivating blend of flavors with hints of lime and smoke seasoning. While the chive flavor is delicately distinctive, it's not potent enough to overpower the other flavors of your meal.

If you're one who enjoys toast or a bagel in the morning or craves a slice of bread with that steaming bowl of soup for lunch or dinner, you'll have a ready-made, very delicious homemade nutty spread ready to serve.

A pleasant change from hummus, baba ganoush, and tofu spreads, this easy, homemade, nut-based spread is the perfect schmear. Because it's pleasantly tangy, the spread makes a great appetizer topping on crackers or cucumber slices. Enjoy it as a filling for celery sticks or endive leaves. Use it to stuff mini peppers for a fun starter, or as the base for a sandwich filling.

I've even taken advantage of the gorgeous ripe tomatoes in season, and used small droplets of this almond spread to create a vegan Caprese Salad.

Tangy Almond and Chive Cheese Spread


Yield: about 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)

    1 cup (240 ml) whole almonds, blanched (see note)
    1/4 cup (60 ml) water
    1/4 cup (60 ml snipped chives
    3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons unsweetened soymilk
    2 tablespoons dried chopped onions
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke flavoring
    1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

    Paprika, for garnish
    1 tablespoon snipped chives plus 3 whole chives, for garnish

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the 3 chives for garnish and paprika, in a food processor. Pulse and process until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Stop the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides and process again.
  2. Transfer the spread to a serving bowl and garnish the top with a light dusting of paprika. Add the 3 whole chives poked into the center and serve with spreading knives.

To blanch the almonds, fill a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan 2/3 full with water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Put the almonds into the boiling water and boil for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the nuts to a dish. Cool briefly. Then, to remove the skins, pinch the large end of each almond. The skins will pop off quickly and easily.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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