4-8tablespoonslemon juice (to taste, from 1-2 lemons)
3-4large garlic cloves (to taste)
large handful of basil leaves
1teaspoonsmoked paprika (optional)
2tablespoonsgood olive oil or oil from the tomatoes
4-8tablespoonsunsweetened plant milk (such as almond)or water, as needed to smooth the mixture
good olive oil, pepper, and flaky salt for topping the dip
Drain the soaked cashews and discard the soaking water. Place them in the body of a food processor with the drained tomatoes, 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 3 of the garlic cloves, basil leaves, smoked paprika, salt, and oil. Process until smooth, adding the plant milk little by little to help the mixture turn over, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, about 5 minutes. Taste, adding more lemon or garlic to punch up the flavors as you like. (I've noticed that the garlic flavor starts out soft, but will become stronger as the mixture sits.) Use right away, or chill airtight for up to 1 week.
Top a bowl of this dip with good olive oil, cracked black pepper, and flaky salt and serve with crackers and olives for a snack. Or use as a spread for roasted vegetable sandwiches. The dip can also be thinned with a little pasta water and tossed with pasta, chopped tomatoes, and more basil for a zippy sauce.For a nut-free version, you could probably use sunflower seeds in place of the cashews. And for a non-vegan version, I'd imagine you could trade the cashews for cream cheese, goat cheese, or a combination.This dip keeps well, refrigerated, for at least a week.Nutritional values are based on one of eight servings.