It’s that time of year when our gardens are overflowing with zucchini. Right about now, as much as I adore zucchini noodles and zucchini bread, I’ve had my fill. I needed to find some other alternatives.
Now, in my repertoire, I also include zucchini fritters or pancakes, zucchini lasagna* (using the zucchini in place of the pasta sheets), and zucchini potato latkes. They are also quite the yumminess, but I was still yearning for something different.
I host a monthly potluck at my home (Verde Valley Vegans). Since I love feeding people and you can never be sure what everyone will be bringing, I typically make a spread/dip to serve with crackers of some sort or veggies for an appetizer as well as an entrée item and a dessert. So, looking at all the zucchini, I decided to come up with a recipe for a dip.
Let’s Go for a Dip
It’s really quite simple. Start by soaking about 2 cups of raw cashews (or pine nuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, pretty much any type of nut will do, even a mixture) for at least 2 hours, then drain and rinse.
While the nuts are soaking, shred about 3-4 cups zucchini, then put them in a clean dish towel. Squeeze the towel to release the excess water from the zucchini. Set aside.
Into the high-powered blender or food processor go the nuts with approximately 1/3-1/2 cup nutritional yeast, possibly a jalapeno if you like some heat, some fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, or parsley would be my choices), and 2-3 tablespoons chickenless broth. Pulse until the nuts are broken down and beginning to become smooth. If the mixture is too tight, you can add a smidge more broth; but don’t go overboard with it. You want the mixture to be the consistency of a tight nut butter.
Fold the zucchini into the nut mixture. Salt/pepper to taste.
This is excellent as a dip for crackers but is also stellar spread on a piece of crusty sourdough bread. You can even put it under the broiler to gently brown the top. Use it as a baked potato topping. Stuff it into your quesadilla or tamale filling. Make raviolis using vegan wonton skins. Yum! You’ll want to keep a jar of this in your frig for a quick snack.
So, in addition to the bounty of zucchini, there’s also the question of what to do with the yellow squash and tomatoes. Well, how about a baked scalloped dish? Add potatoes to the veggies and you’ll have yourself quite an impressive casserole worthy of being an entree.
Preheat your oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Slice the veggies equally at about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. If you want to get fancy, you can layer them in the casserole pan. If you’re not feeling quite so adventurous, you can toss them together and then put them in the casserole dish. It will taste exactly the same, it just won’t be as pretty.
Here’s where you have a plethora of choices, each making your casserole unique but also quite simple.
Whip up a quick and easy nut sauce or a tofu sauce, or a combination. If you haven’t soaked your nuts, put them in a pot covered with water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then drain. Viola! Into the blender will go your nuts and/or tofu, some nutritional yeast, fresh herbs are never bad, salt/pepper to taste. You might need to thin it out with a scant amount of chickenless broth or similar.
Or, you can simply pour a jar of Victoria Vegan Alfredo Sauce over the vegetables.
Top the casserole generously with some Follow Your Heart Grated Parmesan, which would be my preference.
You can also top it with some other vegan cheese, such as cheddar or a mixture of the parmesan and some other vegan cheese.
Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the top has begun to brown.
Change it up by using one of the many vegan sauces that are on the market or make it homemade, such as a pesto sauce, or tikka masala, or Thai curry. I think you get the idea.
*Is it lasagna or lasagne? Well, in Italian, lasagna is the singular and lasagne is the plural.