Nutritious, flavourful, and the perfect shade of leafy green, our smoked tofu and spinach dip ticks all the boxes. Plus, it’s the ideal match for our crisp and spicy kimchi crackers!
Let’s talk about tofu
Tofu, also called bean curd, sometimes gets a bit of a bad rap in the west. To the uninitiated, it can seem bland and unappetising – yet nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, tofu is a wonderfully healthy and versatile ingredient that absorbs flavours beautifully. That enables you to use it in anything from this velvety spinach dip to a rich chocolate cheesecake! Tofu originated in China, and has been a key part of Asian cuisine for around 2,000 years.(1) It’s made from dried soybeans that have been soaked in water for approximately 12 hours, then blended and boiled. The resulting mixture is strained to separate the pulp from the soy milk. In a process similar to making cheese, you then curdle the soy milk and solidify it by adding a coagulant such as nigari. Finally, you press the curds into white blocks of varying levels of firmness, ready to be eaten. Don’t worry – while it’s possible to make tofu at home, shop-bought will do just fine for this spinach dip recipe! Tofu has a subtle and delicate taste, which is why you’re able to use it in so many different dishes. You can also buy flavoured varieties – such as smoked tofu – to complement what you’re cooking. Either way, tofu has the added benefit of being exceptionally dense in nutrients. Can you see why we love it so much?
The health benefits of tofu
One of the most well-known advantages of eating tofu is that it’s an excellent source of plant-based protein. In fact, tofu contains all of the essential amino acids that we need to have in our diet.(2) These are key for many vital processes, including building muscle, repairing tissue, and supporting the immune system. In addition, soy products such as tofu are rich in isoflavones. Experts credit these natural plant compounds with a wide range of health benefits. For instance, they can help to protect the health of your heart. Studies have found that eating tofu may lower your blood pressure and be good for your cholesterol levels. Both of these outcomes can reduce your risk of developing heart disease.(3) Moreover, research has linked tofu consumption to a lower risk of certain cancers, including prostate cancer and breast cancer.(4)(5) Soy products also appear to support optimal bone health and help to prevent osteoporosis.(6) Scientists have additionally found that tofu offers specific benefits to people who are going through the menopause. Studies suggest that the phytoestrogens it contains could work to relieve symptoms such as hot flushes, fatigue, and poor mood.(7) Finally, recent research indicates that soy isoflavones may be beneficial for both cognitive function and mental health.(8)(9) However, further studies need to be conducted in order to clarify this. Ultimately, tofu is a wonderfully wellness-boosting ingredient that you should definitely add to your culinary repertoire. Whether blended into a spinach dip or cut into cubes for a curry, it’s a fantastic way to bring extra nutritional value to a meal.
While smoked tofu makes up the base of this recipe, it’s the spinach that gives it a gorgeous green colour. It’s thought that spinach originated in ancient Persia about 2,000 years ago, and since then it has spread across the globe. The plant’s popularity is likely due to both its distinctive taste and its wealth of health benefits. Plus, of course, its fame as the source of Popeye’s strength! This magical power may be fictional, but its roots lie in truth. For starters, spinach is rich in numerous key vitamins. These include vitamin C, which helps support the immune system, and vitamin K. The latter is important for blood clotting and bone health.(10) Like many dark leafy greens, spinach also has high levels of vital minerals such as iron and calcium. Iron is crucial for transporting oxygen around the body and helping us feel energised.(11) Meanwhile calcium supports healthy teeth and bones, as well as assisting in the regulation of nerve functions.(12) Spinach is additionally beneficial for healthy eyes and good vision. It contains key plant compounds called lutein and zeaxanthin, which could help to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.(13) Similar to tofu, research indicates that spinach is great for your heart too. Studies show it can help to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease.(14) Lastly, spinach may also have anti-cancer properties thanks to the high levels of antioxidants and chlorophyll it contains.(15) Chlorophyll is what gives spinach and other leaves their rich green colour – and turns this spinach dip such a vibrant grassy hue!
Give the green light to our smoked tofu and spinach dip recipe
So, now you know why it’s so beneficial for you, let’s take a look at how to make spinach dip. The good news is, it’s nice and simple! Naturally, you begin with your smoked tofu and spinach. We recommend blanching the spinach first, as this helps to better preserve its colour and nutrients. Then add a couple of tablespoons of your favourite vegan yoghurt to the mix for a gorgeously creamy texture. We find oat, soy and coconut yoghurt all work well for spinach dip. Whichever you pick, you can adjust the amount you use to create the ideal consistency for your dish. Another way to switch up the texture of spinach dip is by changing how long you mix it for in the food processor. Blending it for longer will ensure it’s completely smooth and creamy. Meanwhile, shortening the time will make your spinach dip chunkier and give it more of a rustic vibe. When it comes to seasoning your spinach dip, we encourage you to experiment a little! Our recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, garlic and paprika powder, fresh sage leaf and ground black pepper. However, there’s no need to feel restricted to these particular herbs and spices. For example, if you like a bit of heat, you could add a hint of cayenne pepper. Another option is to bring a cheesiness to the dip with the use of nutritional yeast flakes.
Why use a smoked tofu recipe?
If you’re new to cooking with tofu, it might surprise you how many varieties there are out there! This is in terms of both texture and flavour. First, you want to choose a style of tofu that has the right level of firmness for a spinach dip. At one end of the scale, you have ‘very firm’ and ‘firm’ blocks. Conversely, the softest variety is silken tofu. You don’t normally find silken tofu that’s smoked, and very firm styles might not blend up as smoothly as you’d like. Therefore, you’ll likely be choosing between medium and firm tofu for your spinach dip. Both work beautifully, so why not give each one a try and see which you prefer? In terms of taste, we find smoked tofu recipes offer a depth of flavour you don’t get with plain tofu. Smoked tofu tends to be slightly darker in colour, with distinctive woody undertones that go perfectly in a spinach dip. It’s easy to buy readymade, but if you’re interested, you can find guides on how to make smoked tofu online. Alternatively, you could always use a block of plain tofu and marinate it before making your spinach dip. This gives you even more freedom to play around with flavours!
Crackers and dip: the perfect pairing
Once you’ve made your spinach dip, the next logical question is what to enjoy it with. From nachos to freshly baked bread, you’re pretty much spoiled for choice here. One option we at Erbology think goes particularly well is our spicy kimchi crackers. These crisp and crumbly snacks are ideal for snapping in half and dunking into your spinach dip. With each bite you get a beautiful contrast of crunchy cracker and velvety dip – and there’s no risk of these snacks going soggy on you! Their rich golden colour also pairs perfectly with the vibrant green of the blended spinach leaves. A traditional Korean kimchi recipe inspired the flavour of these crackers. It features cabbage fermented with garlic, ginger, chilli pepper and lemon juice for a hot, tangy and sour kick. This makes a mouth-watering partnership with the creamy, smoky and herby profile of the dip. Rather than just being a vessel for your spinach dip, these snacks bring plenty of extra taste to the dish. We didn’t create these kimchi crackers for their flavour alone though! They’re also packed with wellness-boosting ingredients to leave you feeling nourished as well as satisfied.
All about our spicy kimchi snacks
We make our Organic Spicy Kimchi Snacks with linseeds and hand-picked sunflower seeds that are grown sustainably in Eastern Europe. To ensure the highest level of quality in every pack, we create all our kimchi crackers by hand in small batches. Our team does this using a raw process, which means that we never expose the ingredients to temperatures over 42ºC. That way, they retain their maximum nutritional value. Once ready, we ship out our crackers to you in environmentally friendly packaging. Just another reason why you can enjoy these snacks entirely guilt-free! In addition to this spinach dip recipe, our spicy kimchi crackers make a great accompaniment to salads and soups. We also love tucking into them with a vegetable stir-fry or stew. Their tangy umami flavour complements Asian dishes especially well, so why not try them with other smoked tofu recipes? And if you’re feeling a little peckish, they’re delicious to munch on their own as a snack.