Let me admit up front that the whole purpose for this post was to make vegan ranch dressing. Yes, really. Who knew that cashews soaked in water for hours and blended into submission could produce such a gorgeous ranch dressing! I am so utterly fascinated with how much vegan cooking as evolved in the past 10 years - when I wasn't paying attention - that it is nearing obsessive. Luckily it's a healthy one!
Sure, you could make a ranch dressing with silken tofu which isn't that far from this dressing. But so many people are eschewing anything soy that cashews seemed to have come to vegans' rescue when creamy goodness is the only thing that will finish off a dish.
Sweet potato fries is a dish that I am still striving to do well. Of course, deep fried, they probably are super crisp and completely addictive. But heating up a huge vat of oil is not the healthiest (nor the most economical use of your time and money) so baked is usually the way to go. After several disappointing batches, I read that soaking the potatoes prior to baking helps to crisp them in the oven. Presumably the soaking pulls some of the starch out of them - just a guess, don't quote me on that.
In addition to the ranch dressing as a dipping sauce, most people like to have ketchup with their fries. This version included a teaspoon of chipotle sauce swirled and it was just the right amount of spicy kick to pair with the sweet potato!
Sweet Potato Fries with Vegan Ranch Dressing
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Vegan Ranch Dressing (inspired by Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen)
1 1/2 cups soaked cashews (soaked in water for at least 8 hours)
1/3 cup almond milk
1 large clove garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a blender, puree all dressing ingredients until super smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. This will take up to 5 minutes or so. Taste for salt and refrigerate to chill and allow flavors to marry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash potatoes and dry. Slice off ends and slice off a thin slice of the flattest side. Place cut side down and cut slices 2/3 inch thick (about the size of your pinkie) and then cut into french fry slices (about 1/2 inch thick). Soak potatoes in large bowl of water for 30-60 minutes. Drain completely and pat dry. Place potatoes in large bowl and drizzle oil over all and toss to coat well. Sprinkle with salt (about 1 teaspoon) and toss again to coat. Place potatoes on baking sheets coated with parchment paper or foil and bake for 15 minutes; then turn potatoes over and bake another 10-12 minutes until crisp. Serve with dipping sauces of choice.
Recipes currently inspiring me:
Lemon Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice
Kale with Onions, Capers and Raisins at Stacey Snacks
Spiced Raisin Pearl Couscous at Very Culinary