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Tapas for Dinner
Sometimes we have tapas for dinner. Happy hour nibbles. Simple. Nice. Fun. We make an event out of it.
Fresh cut fruits & veggies, nuts, dips, spreads, crackers, cheeses.
We mix and match flavors. We see if a sweet flavor like raspberry or honey mixes well with a strong cheese and an almond, or maybe a red pepper.
We sit outside in the backyard and enjoy the sunset and the weather. We watch the birds and maybe the squirrels. We enjoy the simple things in life. Like the company of a wonderful person!
A few months ago I was planning one of these tapas nights (we often do these on a Friday night). So, on my way home I stopped at Whole Foods Market to pick up some fun veggies and things to have for tapas night. That’s where I first encountered this amazing sauce.
How I fell in love with this sauce
I immediately fell in love with the flavors. Spicy. Creamy. Complex. Smoky. I dipped a cracker into it. Love! I dipped veggies into it. More love! I spread it on things. I licked it off the spoon! yep, I admit it! It was that good. Only problem is, that it comes in a little container. It was gone way too fast.
So, I set about making my own. And, the nice thing about making your own, you can suit the flavors to everything you want them to be. Want it spicier? Add more chipotle. Is it too spicy? Add less chipotle. Mmm, I wonder what a Sriracha Awesome Sauce would taste like? I bet it would be yum!
What gives it the creamy texture?
When I made my first batch of Awesome Sauce and had my husband taste it he loved it, and asked what was in it.
I listed off all the ingredients. He asked, “but what gives it that creamy texture, is it sour cream?”
Almonds, I said, blended up like that, the almonds become creamy.
It’s vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, Paleo, grain-free, and sugar-free.
I’m not sure that he really believed me even then that this super creamy, super yummy dip had no dairy in it. But, he continued to eat it.
In fact, the other day he asked if we had any more of that Awesome Sauce, because he was looking for a yummy snack.
I told him we were all out, but that I would be happy to make more for him! Yippie!! Success, the husband liked it! That’s a big win!! Especially for a vegan dip!
What are these unusual ingredients?
Some notes about some of the more unusual ingredients for in the recipe…
- Chipotle Paste is one of my favorite ways to use chipotle (it’s super easy!). I always have a jar in my fridge. Take a look here for the instructions on how to make your own.
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes have a strong flavor that’s often described as savory, nutty, or cheesy. You’ll see it used in vegan cheeses, and it’s a good source of protein and vitamins.
- Bragg Liquid Aminos are like soy sauce, with a nice salty flavor. It’s also a good source of protein. If you follow a Paleo diet, you may want to use coconut aminos instead, due to the soy in Bragg.
It’s good for you too
This snack’s a little high in calories, but it’s from all those good for you fats in the almonds and grapeseed oil. “Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease,” ~World’s Healthiest Foods. So, don’t worry, it’s still good for you!
How can I use this sauce?
So, here, in all its yumminess, is Awesome Sauce. And, later I’ll have a guide for Awesome Wraps for you so you can enjoy this sauce at lunchtime too.
These are the almonds I use for making the sauce. Don’t worry that they still have skins on them; the skins get ground up, and I think they contribute to the pretty color of the sauce.
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Awesome Sauce Recipe
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or oil of your choice
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons bragg liquid aminos or coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon chipotle paste
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Place all ingredients in the order listed in a high-powdered blender (such as a VitaMix) or a food processor. Blend for one minute on Variable speed, turning the speed up as you blend. Turn the dial up to high, and continue to blend for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
- Store in the refrigerator in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. If sauce separates, just give it a stir.