Nourish Charlotte: Indulge While Maintaining Your Health

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —   ‘Tis the season to indulge, but you don’t want to do it at the expense of your health. Nourish Charlotte is helping you out on Christmas Eve.

Chef Julia Simon shows us how to make vegan ranch dressing and a warm dip.

Ravishing Ranch:
makes about 4 cups dressing
2 cups cashews, soaked overnight, drained
1 1/2 cups water
1 lemon juiced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cups ev olive oil
1 tbl maple syrup
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbl white onion, minced
1 tsp dill, dried
1 tbl sea salt
1/2 tsp basil, dried
1/2 cups parsely, minced
1 tbl dill, fresh
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 stalks  green onion, green parts only, minced

Blend first 11 ingredients until very smooth, add last 4 ingredients, pulse blender 4-6 times to chop herbs and mix dressing thoroughly. Chill before serving.
Nourishing Spinach, Kale and Artichoke Dip
Makes about 3 cups dip
2 tbl olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups spinach, baby, whole leaf
2 cups kale, stemmed, minced
10 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
16 oz beans, white, drained, rinsed
6 cloves garlic, roasted
2 tbl  parsley, minced
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
½  tsp dried basil
1/8  cups cashew pieces, soaked and drained (opt’l)
1      pinch crushed red pepper
¼     cup nutritional yeast
1      tbl lemon juice
¼  cups tahini
 Heat oil in a frying pan until shimmering; add onion and garlic, toss and sauté 2-3 mins until fragrant. Add artichoke hearts and cook, shaking pan, until some char appears on outer leaves. Add kale and spinach, toss to coat with oil, and cook until wilted. Press mixture against the side of the pan with a spatula to remove some liquid from greens. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
Add all remaining ingredients except for tahini to the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Add tahini and puree again, until dip thickens up. Add sautéed greens and artichokes, and pulse to chop and mix well. Taste for salt, transfer to an oven-safe dish, and bake in a 375f oven 14-16 minutes, until shiny and bubbling around the edges. Enjoy with toasted pita or seeded crackers.