How to Picnic with Vegan Dip Recipe by Diana Yen

by Andrea Hill

Spring has finally sprung, and we are celebrating with the perfect picnic spread recipe by guest contributor Diana Yen. As a celebrated recipe developer, cookbook author, houseware designer, and founder of content production house Studio A La Carte, she knows how to create palette-pleasing and visually stunning feasts. For the launch of our Versus kitchen boards - which are slim and lightweight enough to pack for a picnic - Diana created a vegan mapo tofu dip with a touch of spice. Add sliced raw veggies and delight your friends with this next level spread.

Photo: Studio A La Carte


Whipped tofu provides a silky-smooth base for spicy chili crisp oil made with tongue-tingling Sichuan peppercorns and doubanjiang fermented bean paste. Prep the whipped tofu ahead and drizzle it with chile crisp to finish just before serving. This recipe makes about two cups. 

Whipped Tofu Ingredients 

1 14oz. package firm tofu, drained and patted dry, cut into 1” cubes 

2 tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar 

3 tbsp. white miso 

2 tbsp. neutral oil 


Scallions, to garnish 

Spring vegetables for dipping 

Mapo Chili Oil Ingredients

½ cup neutral oil 

¼ cup Korean hot pepper powder or red pepper flakes 

1 tbsp. coarsely ground Sichuan peppercorns 

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated 

2 garlic cloves, grated 

2 tbsp.doubanjiang (sichuan fermented bean paste) 

½ tsp. sugar 


Place the tofu, lemon juice, miso, and oil in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for an hour to thicken, or up to 2 days. 

Heat oil in a skillet over medium until shimmering. Add chilis and peppercorns and stir for 1 min. Add ginger and garlic, cooking for another minute. Take off heat; pour into a heatproof bowl. Stir in doubanjiang bean paste, and sugar into chili oil. 

Spread whipped tofu on a serving board, drizzle with mapo chili oil, and finish with scallions. Serve alongside vegetables or scallion pancakes for dipping.