Broccoli Rising, Through Thick and Thin or Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
What fun to see so many of you at the first-ever Broccoli Confidential with Catalyst Creamery’s Katie Jones, and wow, thank you, Katie. You’ve got a new bunch of Catalyst Creamery converts now.
Did you hear why her vegan cheeses are hemp-based? Did you see me ace making homemade vegan yogurt?
You can, too. It’s easy-peasy. You just need plant-based milk, a starter to culture, and time to let the fermentation happen. Trust the process. Give it time. Time is the secret ingredient in so many recipes. I know, I know, on Tik Tok, it’s fast, easy, and boom, you’re done. That’s because it’s not real life. Real life is slower and messier. Full disclosure — I didn’t achieve yogurt perfection straight out of the gate.
For my debut batch, I used homemade cashew milk, creamy and fabulous, but fearing the yogurt wouldn’t have enough body, I added a little tapioca starch to thicken it. Okay, more than a little. It came out like queso fundido vegano. Awesome and entirely edible, but not yogurty. My bad — I didn’t trust the process. The second go, without tapioca starch, came out thinner, like buttermilk, but fermenty, delightfully tangy and soooo delicious. Sooo good for us, too. That’s the fermentation.
Fermentation, or culturing, is an age-old method for preserving food. Yogurt, cheeses and other fermented foods like miso, kombucha, sauerkraut and tempeh can help preserve us, too. Our gut, or microbiome, is home to up to 100 trillion microbes. It’s like our own inner ecosystem.
The microbiome manages immunity, mood, all kinds of body functions. When it gets out of balance, bad things can happen, not just belly issues, either. It can affect immunity, stamina, mood and cognitive function. By feeding our microbiome well, we can feed our own wellness. Probiotics promote a healthy gut. A healthy gut helps boost immunity, improves digestion and gives us that overall probiotic glow.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, after a few days in the fridge, my vegan buttermilk got thicker, oomphier, and morphed into something — ta-da! — properly yogurty. And I’ve morphed into a confident vegan yogurt-maker. Giddy with the notion of creating an endless and affordable supply, I’ve been discovering new uses for vegan yogurt, including homemade vegan ranch dressing.
America loves ranch dressing and puts it in and on everything, including Cool Ranch Doritos and pizza. Hey, we don’t judge, but I wanted a ranch closer to the original recipe, a humble mix of sour cream, mayonnaise and dried spices. It’s easy to substitute vegan mayo and vegan yogurt or plant-based buttermilk for the dairy and mayo, and voila, suddenly the dressing America loves becomes vegan-friendly and allergen-free.
You can add a few snips of scallion or dill to your dressing, but resist the urge to fancy it up too much. My recipe honors the classic, and man, talk about easy-peasy.
Vegan Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup quality prepared vegan mayonnaise — I’m into Follow Your Heart these days
1/2 cup homemade vegan yogurt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
a grind or two of fresh pepper
pinch of sea salt
a few snips of fresh dill and/or scallion, if desired
In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients until combined. That’s it, doll.
Vegan ranch dressing keeps covered and refrigerated for a week.
Homemade Vegan Yogurt Substitutions
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened oat milk or almond milk plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Mix the two together in a small bowl or measuring cup. The vinegar will cause the milk to clabber, creating instant vegan buttermilk.
I drizzled it on a salad of radishes, green beans and mushrooms, and can see my husband lovingly it poured over a baked potato.
What do you do with vegan ranch dressing? It’s cool, creamy and cultured, however you enjoy it.
Looking for a printable version of this recipe? Grab it here.
More Fermentation and Fun with Vegan Yogurt
I’ll be teaching a free, virtual fermentation workshop through Miami Dade Public Library in November. Stay tuned for dates and details.
Thanks again to Catalyst Creamery’s vegan cheese-making goddess, Katie Jones. You made the debut of Broccoli Confidential delicious.
I hope everyone enjoyed this taste of Broccoli Confidential. Starting this fall, Broccoli Confidential programming will be part of Broccoli Rising content exclusively for paid subscribers. It’s the first of many delicious things paid subscribers can enjoy.
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