Being a vegetarian is hard work. First of all, let me clarify that I am not a vegetarian. After my organic farming adventure, first on an environmentalist-run avocado farm, and then on a sustainable meat farm, I’ve landed somewhere in between strictly herbivorous and flesh eating fanatic. The word I rather pretentiously use to describe myself is flexitarian. (Italics so you know I mean it) Meat is for special occasions, or when it’s the really really good stuff.
My biggest fear in being forced into vegetarianism for the first leg of my WWOOFing journey was that I would starve. How can a plate of vegetables really fill you up after a day of tilling the land, or whatever farmers do? When my fellow WWOOFer suggested we make sandwiches for lunch one day, I laughed. There was no turkey, which had historically meant no sandwich. She henceforth blew me away with the most outrageous avocado, tomato, cucumber, cheese, and Creamy Artichoke Almond Spread sandwich. I was forever changed.
I soon learned that being a vegetarian is seriously delicious, as long as you do it the right way. Somehow, spending the day in the garden before picking, plucking, and snipping dinner seems like the ultimate “right way.” I still drool at the thought of our garden fresh ratatouille, Purslane and butter lettuce salads, and avocado-topped wheat rolls. Sad as I am that this spoiled lifestyle can’t be my every day routine here in San Francisco, I have carried away a number of veggie friendly recipes that can be made sans homestead.
One of my all time favorite staples was this here Creamy Artichoke Almond Spread. This brings me back to my aforementioned concern, that a strictly vegetarian diet couldn’t possible fill me up. This is often addressed in two ways. Eat lots of pasta. OR eat lots of protein in plenty of different ways. This dip is the perfect example of the preferred method of vegetarianism (unless you can somehow subside solely on pasta, in which case please teach my your ways). By using just a few ingredients in a creative way, you can create an entirely unique flavor that’s perfectly healthy and super nutritious.
Use this spread like you would hummus. Smear it on sandwiches and chips or as a dip for sliced bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers. It’s got an acidic flavor thanks to the artichoke hearts and lemon, balanced by a kick of garlic, and rounded out with a crazy creamy texture thanks to the raw almonds.
It’s also vegan, which means little to us flexitarians, but goes to show you that eating meat free (or practically meat free) is totally doable, delicious, and satisfying.
Recipe originates from Bobcat Ridge’s well-loved copy of Nourishing Meals.
1 14oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
1 cup raw almonds, soaked in water overnight, then rinsed
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
¼ cup coarsely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Mixture should be creamy and only slightly chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.