dressing trickery

I love trying to trick people into thinking they’re eating something they’re not. No, I’m not mean spirited or a trickster, I simply enjoy surprising people with unexpected ingredients. A ‘cream’ sauce that doesn’t contain an ounce of dairy, a ‘blue cheese’ dressing that doesn’t have a bit of cheese, a dessert that has beans in it. You get the idea. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a dairy loving and meat eating individual. I just like the idea of messing with people’s tastebuds.

Many of my trickery kitchen experiments have failed. Most notably, and one that I will forever laugh about and never forget, was with my niece. At the time she was probably around five, and had developed quite the taste for sweets. I was experimenting with baked goods quite frequently and I had made a chocolate cake with beets. It looked like a traditional chocolate cake that had a slight red tinge to it. So I thought for sure I could trick my five-year-old niece, whose palate was far from developed. Especially since she could see with her own eyes that it was clearly chocolate cake. She took one bite from her piece of beet cake and screwed up her face like she had been served a plate of animal feces. So much for pulling one over on that kid.

My latest kitchen trick is a salad dressing that can also double as a veggie dip. It tastes like it’s dairy-based and looks similar to ranch dressing. The soft tofu mocks dairy quite well and the miso and garlic give it a bit of tang. It’s my new favorite dressing, and it’s super easy to make.

My kitchen notes

If you want the salad dressing to be less thick, use silken tofu instead of the soft variety.

Miso paste (Japanese fermented soy beans) can be found in grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Asian markets.


Tofu Miso Dressing 


1 garlic clove

1/2 inch chunk (about the size of a quarter) ginger

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon miso

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 pound (1 cup) soft tofu

2 tablespoons sesame oil


1. Add the garlic and ginger to the bowl of a food processor and mince. Stop the processor and add the vinegar, honey, miso and Dijon mustard. Pulse to combine all ingredients. Add the tofu and pulse until smooth. With the processor still running, slowly drizzle in the sesame oil. Process for about 30 seconds. Mixture should be smooth.

2. Refrigerate for at least an hour for flavors to meld.

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