Austin is blessed by the presence of Wheatsville Food Co-op, an institution that has operated in this fair city since 1976. A food co-op is a business structure that people join by paying a one-time fee. They then become actual owners of the co-op, voting on the board of directors and if there is sufficient profit, receiving rebates. Wheatsville offers its owners special deals, owner appreciation days (10% off any one shopping trip four times a year), is very responsive to requests, and more.
I could go on about Wheatsville and how awesome it is. Local, organic produce and meat, an amazing bulk section — I am so grateful Wheatsville exists, and I’m happy to be a member. Click the link above to learn more, and put a stop there on your to-do list when visiting Austin.
But what I want this blog post to be about is their amazing cashew-tamari-garlic dressing. It is savory amplified ten times. So good. And it’s thick enough to use as a dip that will make kids — and you — love to dip veggies in it.
Wheatsville cannot possibly cater to every single diet or food restriction out there, although I give them great credit for trying. They stock items for vegans and for Paleo fans, have a nice stock of fermented veggies and raw items, a vast array of supplements, and popcorn tofu, among many other items you cannot find in any other grocery store in town (and that’s saying a lot, since Austin is the home of Whole Foods and Central Market.)
Among this wonderfully tasty dressing’s ingredients are tamari (Japanese soy sauce, often contains wheat) and canola oil (a heat-processed oil). I am sensitive to gluten (although not celiac), and I avoid cooked oils as much as possible in favor of healthier oils.
I was searching online for a recipe for cashew-tamari-garlic dressing, and I found a post by another Austin blogger who attempted to replicate it. Christine’s version includes tamari and sunflower oil, but once I had the proportions for the ingredients, it was easy to substitute gluten-free tamari and avocado oil. (Thank you, Christine. Your Austin food blog is really good, and we’ve dined in many of the same places.)
This dressing/dip is so tasty and versatile, you can use it on salads, sandwiches, meat, eggs, bread, roasted vegetables, raw veggies, crackers, and more. It’s the most umami dressing I know.
Here is my version. This recipe thickens with refrigeration. If you want an even thicker dip, add more cashews.
1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight and drained)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon gluten-free tamari
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons avocado oil*
1/4 cup water (if dressing is too thick, add more water a teaspoon at a time to thin to desired consistency)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Put the ingredients into your blender and blend on high until smooth. If you use a Vitamix, you can add up to 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns and they’ll be pulverized. In Wheatsville’s version, the cashews are not finely pulverized. There is still a bit of grainy texture to them.
*Note on oils: Recommended oils for salad dressings include extra virgin olive, sesame, macadamia nut, walnut, avocado, and nut and seed oils that state on the label they are extra-virgin, cold- or expeller-pressed, organic, and unrefined. And even then…
If you are buying olive oil, be aware that there is much fraud in both domestic and imported olive oils. Good authentic extra-virgin organic olive oil is great for your health, especially your brain’s health. Before you buy, check for the latest info on pure organic brands.
Enjoy your healthy cashew-tamari-garlic dressing!