Recently, I have been very into the various freeze dried vegetables available for purchase at Trader Joe’s. Texturally, they’re just a lot of fun, especially if you’re in an altered state that lets you appreciate various textures even more than you usually would.
I’m particularly into the Crispy Onion Chips—whole petals of airy, crunchy onion that taste like what a Funyun wants to be when it grows up. I have been dipping them in sour cream and sprinkling some fried garlic bits (and a little MSG) on top, and wow—what a snack. These chips are a paradigm shift for sour cream and onion as a genre, a genre I assumed was fairly tapped out.
But beyond snacking, all of the dried vegetables you can buy at TJ’s (and other health food or health food-adjacent stores) can be used to make flavorful veggie powders. We’ve talked about fruit powders before, and their ability to bring vibrant color and fruity flavor to dips, drinks, and cake frosting, and the veggie powders work similarly, if not exactly the same.
I would not, for example, add the mushroom powder you see above to a buttercream, but I would (and have!) added it to mashed potatoes, and it was glorious. I could also see myself adding it to meatloaf and meatballs. Last night, I sprinkled a combination of all three powders—onion, mushroom, and green pea—on a cucumber and tomato salad, and I’ll do it again!
Each powder brings its own unique flavors to the plate. The mushroom is earthy, the onion is intensely oniony, and the green pea is bright and gardeny. All would work well in dips, but the onion would excel; and green pea would make a fun Bloody Mary glass rimmer, especially when mixed with a good amount of salt.
The procedure for making these powders is dead simple. Buy some freeze dried vegetables (from Trader Joe’s or somewhere else), throw a handful in the food processor, and blitz them into a powder. Mix the powder into dips, sprinkle it on top of salads (like you would bread crumbs), or mash ‘em into some potatoes. A combo of the mushroom and onion would make a great pasta topper, especially if that pasta happens to be this one.