This page is devoted entirely to the much neglected but one of the most versatile and flavor enhancing item in the food category - the 'spread' and its counterpart the 'dip'. With some handy spreads in your fridge, you can field the most unexpected of guests and savor the satisfaction of their persistent pestering for its recipe.
Every spread in these pages is vegetarian and some are even vegan. In a pinch you can create gourmet dishes from mixing a few fantastic spreads into simple foods. Melt a nugget of pesto onto hot pasta. Or drop a dollop of it on steamed veges to make a gourmet side dish. Slather some sensational olive spread on a slice of savory bread, or float some chive spread on a soup to make it more enticing. Raw carrots and celery have never looked more appetizing than when flanked by a couple of dips and spreads. Even plain old crackers cease to be plain anymore for a late night snack when you have something flavorful to scoop on top.
Why should you make your own spreads and not just buy them? Personally, I like to make my own because it gives me more control into what goes into them. I can adjust each spread to my unique taste. Besides, for many vegetarians and vegans, there simply isn't a great choice out there. Rather than spread my precious time reading the fine print on the nutrition panel to find out if a spread on the store shelf has anchovies or chicken stock, I'd sooner get my hand-blender out and make my spread exactly the way I like it. You do not have to be a wizard in the kitchen to churn up the spreads in these pages. You can make a couple in less than 30 minutes and stick it in your fridge for many uses later.
The recipes are compiled in four different categories based on the main ingredient. They are
No recipe has more than 8 ingredients in it and most of the recipes require no cooking. Blending the ingredients together is about the most you should expect to do. I have given a generic or a basic recipe for some of them and have added variations below, so if you do not like or not have the ingredients in one, then you may try the variations. And as with anything creative if you find something else you like entirely then try to see if it can be included or substituted in a recipe. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Regarding the kind of equipment to use for pureeing or blending there are some options. One can use the food processors or blenders of some kind. I prefer the immersion or the hand blender since it is portable and easy to clean. Most of the models have removable parts that can go in the dishwasher. Click here to check out the different brands and models available to see which one suits your needs best.