Spring onions, elsewhere referred to as scallions, are a fresh and sweet alternative to the stronger flavours of onions. They have a lovely long stem, originating from a slender white 'bulb' above the roots, extending to shades of light to dark green. Spring onions are great raw, so lend themselves well to dishes that don't require the element of heat to mellow out the sharp edges of larger yellow, white or red onion bulbs. The white base portion of a spring onion has the familiar, though sweeter, oniony taste, and the green segment is often reminiscent of chives, with a light grassy note.
I like to have some kind of dip or spread on hand, especially as we move into the warmer months. Fresh hummus, green pestos, punchy salsas- all help to liven up a snack, offer big flavours, and tie a seemingly random mix of items into a meal at speed. This week I had leftover soaked cashews from a separate raw cheesecake project, languishing in the fridge and crying out to be used. Tossed into a food processor or high speed blender with a little water, salt, and touch of lemon juice, they become a luscious and creamy alternative to cream cheese. To that blend I added a few beautiful spring onions and a handful of fresh parsley and boom- thick, rich spring onion dip. We slathered it on burgers for dinner, dipped juicy cucumbers and carrots into it for a snack, and used it to top sourdough crackers with kraut. If I'd used raw onion the taste would have been too strong, particularly for the likes of the 3 year old, but spring onions meld perfectly. If the whole cashew process is too arduous or you prefer dairy, you can always just skip straight to mixing with cream cheese.
300g Raw Cashews
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
(OR container of dairy or plant based cream cheese, swapped for the above list)
4 Spring Onions, roots removed, roughly chopped
Handful fresh Parsley
Optional: 3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes, for a slightly 'cheesier' taste
The How To:
If making the cashew cream cheese-
Soak the raw cashews in water for at least four hours. Rinse and drain. Pour cashews, water, lemon juice, salt and nutritional yeast into a high speed blender or food processor. Blend, pausing to scrape down the sides with a spatula, until the mix is very smooth with no grainy bits left. If necessary, add in extra water a teaspoon at a time to reach the right consistency.
Add chopped spring onions and parsely, and blend again. If you like a bit of texture to your dips, use a spoon to mix through a handful of finely chopped spring onions at the end.
If you're foregoing the cashew portion, simply mix well chopped spring onions and parsley into your purchased cream cheese of choice; equally delicious, but slightly different flavour and texture.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Have an extra 12 or so hours and enjoy the tastes and benefits of fermenting? Skip back to the first blending step, and add in either the contents of a probiotic capsule, a splash or raw apple cider vinegar or kraut juice, or a large tablespoon of plain yoghurt. Put this mix into a clean glass jar and place cloth over the top, secured with a rubber band or string. Allow to sit and ferment for at least 12 (up to 36) hours, in a warm still place. The longer you allow the mix to ferment the more sour it will become, and the warmer the temperature the faster it will ferment. When finished, it will be light and aerated, with a more complex flavour and lots of beneficial bacteria for a happy gut! Stir in finely chopped spring onion and parsley.
Recipe created by Elena Keir of Naked Cakes and Wholefoods