Crudités with Almond Ranch Dip

Almonds provide the creaminess in this ranch-flavored dip inspired by an old peppercorn dressing that we used to dip carrots in when we were kids. Though it takes just moments to put together, the almonds have to be soaked overnight, so requires thinking a day ahead. Choose colourful vegetables to go with your dip of choice, or serve with toasted whole grain, gluten-free crackers or pita bread. Use coarsely ground peppercorns for a kick of flavor, if desired.

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Crudites with Almond Ranch Dip

For the crudités:
A wide variety of colorful vegetables, such as peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, or whatever is in season.

For the Almond Ranch Dip:
1 heaping cup whole raw almonds, soaked over night, and skins removed
4 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt to taste
Lots of fresh ground pepper
1/2 to 1 cup water, for blending
1/4 cup freshly minced parsley

After soaking and skinning the almonds, put them in a heavy-duty food processor. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the agave nectar, onion powder, dill, garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and a bit of pepper.

Pour in about 1/3 cup water, and turn processor on. Continue adding water until reaching a dippable consistency. Stir in parsley. Adjust seasonings and agave nectar to taste. Refrigerate before serving, preferably at least a few hours.