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 love to eat their veggies.
And yet 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 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.)
Among this wonderfully tasty dressing’s ingredients are tamari (Japanese soy sauce, can contain 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 her 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 spread it on sandwiches, meat, bread, roasted vegetables, 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 a teaspoon of water at a time to thin)
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 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. So to each their own in terms of texture.
*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 and cold-pressed or expeller-pressed. Organic and unrefined are also good things to look for on the label.
Finally, if you are buying olive oil, do not buy imported as there is much fraud, unless you know the grower. Buy local if available, and if you can’t, check out Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Costco’s domestic oils or search online for recommended domestic brands/growers.
Enjoy your cashew-tamari-garlic dressing!