Arugula Artichoke Cashew Dip

We’re so fortunate here in Orillia to have access to so much great organic produce. With this week’s delivery from The Kitchen Garden Farm, we received some luscious arugula. Now arugula is one of those greens (like cilantro): you either love it or you leave it. It’s incredibly nutrient-rich, though, especially with the mineral sulfur, which is extremely important for connective tissue. Sulfur helps prevent tissue breakdown, which makes it helpful for maintaining healthy joints and glowing skin. Because of its rather astringent, peppery taste, not everyone is a fan. For those who want to include local arugula in their diet yet have difficulty with the taste, you may find this recipe helpful (think old school broccoli smeared in cheese sauce). If you really can’t absolutely stand the thought of arugula, you can always substitute spinach.

This recipe is easy to make and is creamy and “cheesy” without the cheese thanks to cashews and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is another nutrient powerhouse. It’s loaded with B vitamins, in particular B12. One tablespoon boasts an impressive 3 grams of protein, and, on top of that, it’s gluten-free, salt-free and sugar-free. Wow!

In a perfect world with unlimited time, you would soak the raw cashews for 4 – 24 hours prior to assembling. This helps remove phytic acid which makes them easier to digest. It also makes blending easier. Since cashews are a softer nut, you can get away without soaking first if pressed for time. Even if you don’t get a chance to soak the cashews first, you’re still way ahead of any mass-produced commercial product.

I was inspired by The Wheatless Kitchen and Dr. Sarah for this recipe. There are a lot of great options for healthy dips in healthy cookbooks like “Oh She Glows”, “Yum Universe” and “Refresh” to name a few of my favourites.

We tested this out on Thursday at the studio, and students were positive with feedback. (Then again, it was right before class and they probably didn’t want to upset me… may want to speak to them privately 😉 )

Arugula Artichoke Cashew Dip

1 cup cashews – soaked 4 – 24 hours – rinsed and drained
4 tablespoons non-dairy milk (add more to thin dip as desired)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups arugula
1 jar of artichoke hearts – approx 8 oz
salt and pepper to taste

Combine above ingredients in high-speed blender. Pulse/blend until desired consistency. You may wish to add a little more non-dairy milk to thin out. Season to taste. Serve with veggies, crackers, chips…or even use as a spread on wraps/sandwiches. Enjoy!