Happy World Vegan Day!

What a time to be alive and veg-centric. Whereas otherwise progressive baristas would have laughed you right out of their cafes for requesting something so obscure as soymilk a scant few years ago, those very same establishments now offer not only soy, but almond and even coconut creamers as well. The tide is turning and finally, for the better. It’s safe to say that veganism has officially hit the mainstream, finding greater acceptance and understanding than ever before. World Vegan Day is a powerful reminder of just how far the movement as come, and in relatively short time; the term “vegan” is only 70 years old!

In spite of all the incredible progress we’ve seen recently, I don’t take the luxury of widespread vegan options for granted. It’s still a genuine surprise and delight to find esteemed chocolatiers advertising dairy-free truffles, steakhouses offering meatless options on their menus, or, in a more concrete example, finding a vegan chef doing a demo at the largest farmers market in San Francisco.

Recently, Kevin Schuder, chef of Citizen Fox, graced the stage that typically showcases all variety of animal products and broke the mold for this locavore audience. Deftly combining a mountain of vibrant green spinach with spices and an impossibly creamy cashew base, his take on paneer saag in dip format may very well have converted a few dairy addicts.

Having attended many similar performances alongside the bustling Embarcadero marketplace with nary a taste to be had, it was a delight to fearlessly wolf down that spinach-smeared piece of toasted baguette. Better than cream cheese and traditional spinach dip combined, the tangy base truly did evoke the gently acidic notes of paneer cheese, providing a rich foil to the mild greens.

Recipe in hand, I was only able to restrain myself from snatching a second helping knowing that I could make a full batch all for myself.

Yield: Makes About 12 Appetizer-Size Servings with Additional Spice Blend Leftover

Saag Paneer Dip

Saag Paneer Dip

Better than cream cheese and traditional spinach dip combined, the tangy base truly does evoke the gently acidic notes of paneer cheese, providing a rich foil to mild, tender greens.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


Saag Paneer Spice Blend

  • ½ Cup Whole Coriander Seeds
  • ¼ Cup Whole Cumin Seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons Whole Cardamom Seeds (Removed from the Pods)
  • 3 Tablespoons Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 4 Teaspoons Whole Fennel Seeds
  • 2 Teaspoons Whole cloves
  • 2 Teaspoons Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric

Spinach Dip

  • 2 Pounds Spinach, Washed
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • ½ Cup Canola Oil
  • ¼ Cup Minced Garlic
  • Salt
  • ¼ Cup Saag Paneer Spice Blend (Above)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1½ Pounds Thick, Slightly Fermented Cashew Cream

To Serve

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, if Desired
  • Grilled Bread


  1. To make the spice blend: Toast the whole spices in a skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, but not burned. Grind in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Add the cayenne pepper and turmeric and mix together.
  2. To make the dip: Blanch the spinach in salted boiling water, then chill in an ice bath. When cool, squeeze out excess moisture from the spinach and chop it finely. Julienne the onion and sauté in canola oil over medium heat. When softened and slightly caramelized, add the garlic and at least 1 tablespoon of salt, and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add at least 2 tablespoons or up to ¼ cup of the spice blend and all of the chopped spinach.
  3. After a minute, add the lemon juice and turn the heat up to high. Place the cashew cream in a medium bowl and add the hot spinach mixture, stirring rapidly to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, lemon, olive oil and/or saag paneer spice blend to taste.
  4. Slather the dip over grilled bread slices.


By Kevin Schuder of Citizen Fox, made possible by CUESA

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 386mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 7gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g

8 thoughts on “Happy World Vegan Day!

  1. I think that spinach dip must be an American “thang”. I have never tasted it. Must remedy that post hast with this delicious looking recipe. Smothered on toasted baguette or even better, garlic and herb toasted baguette, that looks like the stuff that narf7 happiness is made of. Awesome share for WVD and an even better reminder that veganism isn’t “new and edgy” and has been around for a respected number of years and should thus be classified as a life choice rather than a “fad” ;). Happy World Vegan day comrade! :)

  2. Oh my goodness, the yum of this saag paneer dip. I’ve never fermented cashew cream before, but I assume it picks up a nice sourness. We celebrated (by accident, not knowing it was world vegan day) with chili dogs, so that was awesome. :)

  3. I didn’t even know it was world vegan day – the shame of it! I spent all day eating vegan food though – does that count?! I used to love sag paneer in the pregan days, nice to see it recast as a dip.

  4. A belated Happy World Vegan Day to you! Cool demo, it’s so rare that it’s vegan, I probably would have walked right on by without even noticing. And I would have missed out big time, the dip looks delicious. :-)

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