Vegan Thai Basil Spread

I was in the chinese supermarket today and saw some beautiful Thai basil for which I had no need. So I bought some (of course). I love the slightly licorice flavor of Thai basil and am happy for any excuse to eat it or cook with it. I decided to try making a spread or dip and below is an attempt at a recipe to match what I came up with. It is really tasty as a dip with chips or crackers or super yummy as a spread on a sandwich with smoked salmon. Don’t be put off by the tofu – it gives it an amazingly rich flavor without any of the bad stuff in cream or mayonnaise.


  • One cup of rinsed and plucked Thai basil.
  • One clove of garlic, peeled. You can use more if you want, but I think it overpowers the other flavors.
  • The juice of one juicy or two not-so-juicy limes.
  • One tablespoon sesame oil.
  • One tablespoon sunflower or nut oil.
  • One cup of firm or silken tofu (I used firm, which I prefer).
  • Three tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds.
  • A dash of salt.
  • Cracked red pepper flakes.
  • A dash of cayenne pepper.

The cayenne and the red pepper are both optional if you don’t like spicy food.

Stairway to Heaven

  1. Put the garlic clove and the oils in a food processor and whizz around until the garlic is mostly a paste. You can do this in a mortal and pestle if you prefer, by the way.
  2. With the food processor running, dump in the basil and purée.
  3. Scrap the sides of the food processor to make sure everything is getting chopped up and run it again.
  4. With the food processor running, dump in the tofu.
  5. Take the lid off the food processor and give everything a stir. Add the lime juice (to taste) and whizz around again.
  6. With the food processor running, dump in the sesame seeds and purée until it is all creamy.
  7. Take the lid off of the food processor and taste. Add salt, cayenne and red pepper flakes (if using) and purée again.

This is what mine looked like (in a very glamorous Tupperware container…sorry for the lack of good food porn in this image):

If you make this, let me know what you think!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.