Read on for the recipe and serving tips.This dip/spread originated from a recipe similar to the one in the amazing Millennium Cookbook. Over the years I've played with it quite a bit and my current rendition is as follows.
Savory Vegan Dip
makes about two cups
1 large (softball-sized) onion
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 whole cloves of garlic
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of sherry (or dry white wine)
1 teaspoon each dried oregano, sage, thyme, basil
1/2 teaspoon each dried rosemary, fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and ground pepper
12 ounces firm tofu
1-3 tablespoons miso
good olive oil for drizzling
smoked paprika for dusting
Slice the onion into thin half moons and saute gently in a large frying pan with the olive oil. You're going to want to caramelize the onions, so keep the heat low and stir on occasion.
While the onions are cooking, thinly slice the garlic and assemble the rest of the ingredients. The herbs and spices can all be measured into a small bowl, as they all will be added at the same time.
When the onions have taken on some color but aren't quite done yet, add the garlic and stir. You want to soften the garlic at this stage but not color it too much. When the garlic is soft and fragrant and the onions are done (about 5 minutes), add the spices and stir for about a minute.
Add the sherry and deglaze the pan. Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Turn off the heat. Put the onion mixture into a food processor or blender along with the 1 tablespoon of the miso, the tofu and a splash of water. Blitz until the mixture is smooth and creamy. You may need to add a splash more water, depending on how firm your tofu is.
Taste for seasonings. Add more miso if needed (see notes) and blitz again.
Spoon into a bowl and using the back of the spoon, make a swirly indent in the dip. Drizzle on the olive oil and dust with the smoked paprika.
Serve as a dip for fresh vegetables or as a spread for bread or crackers. I believe Millennium used to serve this with bread instead of butter. This can also be a flavorful mayo substitute or, if you omit the water and make a thicker spread, a sandwich filling.
• The smoked paprika may be a the last ingredient and only a dusting at that. Still, I think it adds a unique flavor profile and a nice bit of color, so try to use it if possible.
• You can use light (white or yellow) or dark (red) miso for this recipe, although I've noticed that with red miso you may need to use less. So start with one tablespoon and walk it in, one tablespoon at a time, tasting as you go.