You’re going to love this vegan crab dip recipe from the new cookbook, Great Vegan BBQ Without a Grill by Linda and Alex Meyer. This dairy-free and gluten-free dip is wonderfully creamy and brimming with flavor.
You know you live in the Midwest when the official start of spring is immediately followed by a deluge of snow. At a time of year when I’m more than ready to be in flip-flops and tank tops, instead I spent Sunday shoveling my driveway.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy some delicious vegan barbecue – even if my grill is currently hiding under a pile of white stuff.
My blogging buddies, Linda and Alex Meyer of Veganosity, also live in the Midwest. They are a mother/daughter duo that knows inclement weather can dictate how easily that outdoor grill gets used.
So they did us a solid by writing the cookbook, Great Vegan BBQ Without a Grill.
Great Vegan BBQ Without a Grill
In addition to hearty mains dishes, sandwiches, stuff-on-a-stick, and foil dinners, there are sides, salads, dips, and sauces to round things out.
This beautiful cookbook includes over 70 recipes with a mouthwatering photo for each one to really whet your appetite!
Today I’m sharing an appetizer from the book that would be great for your next vegan cookout or gathering.
Old Bay Seasoning is a blend of 18 spices, including red & black pepper, paprika, and celery seed. It’s that celery seed flavor that really dominates and keeps me coming back for more.
(Celery seed is my secret ingredient in vegan tuna salad!)
Crab dip often uses a base of mayonnaise or cream cheese. However, instead of turning to vegan mayo, this vegan crab dip recipe gets its creaminess by way of raw cashews.
Raw cashew tips
You’ll want to soak your raw cashews ahead of time, so that the cashews blend easily into a perfectly smooth backdrop.
Short on time? Here are some workarounds:
- You can cover the cashews in boiling water to soften them.
- I’ve even microwaved them in water for a minute or so, and then let them sit until it’s time to blend.
- Finally, if you’re really short on time and don’t have a high-speed blender, grind the dry raw cashews in a clean coffee grinder until they’re like a flour. Then add them to your standard blender with the remaining ingredients. That’s what I always used to do before I got a high speed blender. It’s an inexpensive workaround!
As for the crab-like part of this dip, Alex and Linda turn to jackfruit for its flaky, piece-y quality.
As I mentioned in my recent post on vegan BBQ sandwiches, jackfruit isn’t always my favorite stand-in for things like vegan pulled pork-style sandwiches, because of its softer texture.
In this dip, the jackfruit is all about adding body & flakiness rather than something to sink your teeth into.
How to find the right jackfruit
When you’re looking for jackfruit for this savory dip, you’ll want to use canned young jackfruit – that means it’s not ripe yet. Young jackfruit has a mild, neutral flavor and flaky texture, whereas ripe jackfruit has a flavor reminiscent of canned peaches.
When you’re looking for canned jackfruit, be sure to buy the kind packed in water or brine, not syrup. In this savory dip, a syrupy sweet canned jackfruit really wouldn’t work.
You can find canned jackfruit in Asian grocery stores. It’s also popping up in lots of mainstream grocery stores as well.
Trader Joe’s has young jackfruit in their canned food area. (It’s one of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products.) Occasionally it’s also on display with one of their barbecue sauces.
My local Hy-Vee and Co-op sells it in the international section near their Thai offerings.
How to use jackfruit
After you open the can, drain the jackfruit and give it a good rinse. Mild jackfruit can sometimes take on the metallic taste of the can itself. So you’ll want to rinse as much of that away as possible.
You can either break up the jackfruit with a fork or use a food processor. Your call. I used a food processor for this recipe, and it only took seconds until it was perfectly piece-y.
Just dump the drained jackfruit into the food processor, blitz it for a few seconds, and you’re good to go.
This delightfully creamy dip is a good one to make ahead of time, because the flavors get even better as they have a chance to meld.
Serve this savory vegan crab dip with toasted bread slices, crackers, or vegetables.
Jacked up vegan crab dip
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked in 2 cups (480 ml) water overnight
- 1 large clove garlic
- ¼ cup unsweetened cashew milk or other vegan milk
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ½ teaspoon ground sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 14-ounce can young jackfruit packed in water
- Drain and rinse the cashews and put into a high-powered blender or food processor.
- Add the garlic, cashew milk, lemon juice, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, salt, paprika and onion powder and blend for approximately 2 minutes (scrape the sides frequently), or until it’s smooth and velvety. You shouldn’t see or taste pieces of solid nuts. Scrape the cashew mixture into a medium bowl.
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit well. Shred the jackfruit with a fork or in a food processor and put in the bowl with the cashew mixture. Gently fold until fully combined.
- Serve with crackers, toast or sliced vegetables.