Earlier this week I went on about how to make your own grain-free, gluten-free crackers using flax and a bunch of spices. If the thought of making such delicious creations didn’t pique your interest enough back then, I have two dips for you today that will (hopefully) tip you over the edge and convince you to have a little crackers and dip party this weekend – guests optional. ?
First up is Roasted Beet Tahini Dip. As I’ve discussed many times before, I hated beets as a kid but will eat them in any form now – except canned. The best in my opinion is roasted because this brings out so many of the beet’s natural sweetness, and in this recipe I’ve thrown tahini in the mix to make it extra creamy.
You can use whatever ratio of tahini to beets you like. Mine was heavier on the beets but for a super creamy texture, you can add 2 tbsp extra tahini and lemon juice. Warmer beets will be easier to blend, and I recommend making this one in the food processor so that you don’t have to sacrifice any bits that get stuck under the blender blade. (Does the sight of that in the bottom of the Vitamix stress anyone else out? Or is it just me?)
Roasted Beet Tahini Dip
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Ingredients (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves roughly chopped garlic
- 4 small beets, peeled and sliced into rounds (about 1 heaping cup)
- sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh organic mint leaves
- 2 tbsp water
- Slice the beets into rounds and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Roast at 400F for 15 minutes.
- When the beets have finished roasting, add all ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- Transfer to a bowl or sealable jar and serve with your choice of veggies or crackers. Alternatively, use this as a spread in a wrap or sandwich.
- Note: It’s entirely possible to make this recipe without roasting the beets. However, I would recommend slicing the beets into much smaller pieces before putting them in the food processor. The final recipe won’t be quite as smooth as the roasted version, but if you’re in a time crunch, it would still be tasty!
Moving right along, we’ve got hummus. This is far more than your average hummus because it contains harissa, an African paste made from dried chillies, toasted spices and a few other ingredients – many of which you may already have in your kitchen.
If you can’t find harissa in your local grocery store, don’t you worry. I haven’t been able to find it since I moved to Vancouver, so instead, I made my own. It’s dead easy and a food processor is all you need. Just like dry spice rubs, harissa can be made in a bunch of different ways using different types of chillies, spices etc. I’ve included the recipe I used below, and you’ll need 1-2 tbsp for the Harissa Hemp Seed Hummus.
Note that harissa isn’t exactly something you use in salsa-like quantities – or at least I don’t. It’s HOT, and the first batch I made with 4 dried chipotle chillies nearly blew my head off. I modified the 2nd batch to tame things down a bit, using more roasted red bell peppers and sundried tomatoes, and knocking the chillies back to only 2. You’ll have leftovers, which you can use as a rub for meat or fish, or freeze it in ice cube trays for future use. These are perfect for adding a ton of flavour to warm winter stews, and I’m sure tossing a cube or two into your next stovetop creation will help to clear any stuffed up sinuses too. Oh, and if you whisk some into scrambled eggs, you’ll never go back – harissa + eggs is a combo made in heaven.
But back to that hummus…
Harissa contains garlic, so unlike traditional hummus, I didn’t bother adding any extra to the mix. Rather than a 100% chickpea base, this hummus is made extra special with hemp seeds which means you’ll be getting the benefit of omega-3 essential fats as well. And lastly, while you might think the finished product would be spicy, I was actually surprised by the subtle smoky sweetness that the harissa added. I won’t try to describe it any more – you’ll just have to make some and try it for yourself!
Harissa Hemp Seed Hummus
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (about 1 cup)
- 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp harissa paste (recipe follows)
- juice of 1 lemon
Harissa Paste (makes about 1 cup – you will have lots leftover):
- 2 dried chillies, soaked overnight in water (I used chipotle ones)
- 1/4 cup soaked sundried tomatoes
- 1 tbsp each whole coriander and cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
- 3 roasted red bell peppers, patted dry
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt to taste
If making the harissa paste:
- Toast the spices in a frying pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning.
- Transfer the spices to a food processor and process on high for about 15s.
- Add the garlic and continue processing for another 15s.
- Add the remaining ingredients and puree completely.
- Transfer to a small glass jar and/or freeze leftovers in ice cube trays for later use.
For the hummus:
- In the food processor, puree the chickpeas, 1-2 tbsp harissa paste and all remaining hummus ingredients until completely smooth. You may need to stop the blade and scrape down the sides of the jug with a spatula occasionally.
So tell me…
- Are you a hummus traditionalist or do you like to flavour yours?
- What’s your go-to sauce for everything? I put apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar on a lot of my meals, but thinning down any sort of hummus is usually my trick any time I need a quick salad dressing.