roasted carrot and chickpea harissa dip

roasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmesspin it!roasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmesspin it!the vegetarian flavor bible // via @thefirstmesspin it!roasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmesspin it!
Oh hey there. I posted this on Instagram last year around this time and you know? I’m not as much of an absolutist on that front anymore. There WERE some big answers, but also some surprisingly mountainous questions put forth this year. All one big whirlwind now that I’m tracking back. I think when you get yourself in deep with that distracting, non-intentional mindset of “uuuugh so busy” you forget that you’re a real human accomplishing cool things and making mistakes along the way. It’s a satisfying way to live and whoa, it’s taken me a while to get there.

We settled more into home life, with some frustrations over the pace at which things seem to get done (that was predominantly on my end). I mostly realized that I need to make a sincere effort to relax and not worry so much. It’s okay if some walls are empty and I’m also not the most negligent person in the world if I buy Dawn dish soap out of last-minute necessity vs. Seventh Generation brand. I’ve just accepted the incompleteness and I repeatedly tell myself that I’m waiting for the right piece of art, effective ecologically-friendly product, piece of furniture, vibe etc. to just grab me/make sense at the time. Houses can be nice but homes are built up and filled over years. They’re also lived-in with rough edges.

My career changed quite a bit with certain opportunities that popped up this year. There are some really exciting things on the horizon for next year and quite frankly, I’m shaking in my boots. But also, I really can’t wait for it all to unfold and to just stretch my patience/abilities a bit. I barely work at the restaurant anymore, but I know in my heart of hearts that I could never totally give it up, no matter how much other stuff I have going on. That interaction and the necessary, frenzied sensation of things happening in real time is too important to me. Also, I got a test-batch sticky toffee pudding for dinner during my shift the other night and I mean, how could anyone pass on that?

So also, my eating patterns and scheduled exercise bouts were admittedly all over the place. In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I think I’m actually in the worst shape I’ve been in for a while. I feel great in a day-to-day sense, but sometimes a few extra stairs has me feeling a little flushed in the cheeks. My sleep schedule has been especially wonky the last 6 months or so. I’m just going to chalk it up to irresponsible freelance scheduling and call it a day. I’ve read that some of the most productive and really well people build habits/routines around the start of their day as well as their winding down time. So! Some overhauling is necessary, but I’m not waiting until 2015 to get on that. I’m gonna drink some greens (with frozen pineapple, cinnamon, and fresh turmeric yummm) tomorrow morning and hopefully conquer my corner of the world by noon.

Lastly, I have a new guiding mantra for negotiating work and life: If it doesn’t add, it subtracts. Cue the power. Actually though? I stole that line from a chef I used to work for, and he was talking about filling out a scallop-centric appetizer. I do think that it speaks to building yourself up to the fullest potential, while also nodding in the direction of learning to say no. Mostly, I’m just in this thing of life to see, create, love and build something that feels/is bigger than just me alone. Having that basic idea in mind makes it a hundred times easier to cut away the bullshit. It’s seeped into my life with possessions too, so now I really can’t wait to read this book.

And today I made up a little recipe from an excellent book that is adding to my life big time. I think you’re all well-aware of how much I love The Flavor Bible, so when Karen and Andrew sent me their just-released Vegetarian Flavor Bible, it might be a touch predictable to say that I got lost in it for a few hours. A short rundown: this is a thorough examination of which naturally occurring flavours and foods combine best for delicious results. Under each alphabetized ingredient, there’s a list of other vegetables, proteins, spices, herbs, general flavour groupings etc. that just work with that ingredient. There are no definitive recipes, but it’s easily the most useful cookery book I own, and not just in a recipe-development sense. It’s waiting to be used when there’s scraps and dregs left in the crisper or when I have to satisfy a picky eater along with everyone else at the table. Where a traditional cookbook is more of a HOW, this is decidedly an adventure in WHY. It’s required reading for the plant-inclined as far as I’m concerned.

So when I looked under the section for carrots, I read cumin, coriander, citrus etc. and thought about mixing the gentle, sweet creaminess of roasted carrot into a dip with fiery harissa, savoury chickpeas, and fresh lemon. Totally delicious and easy results. The carrots and chickpeas make this so smooth and, combined with the harissa flavours, make it gorgeously bright orange. I love a textural, almost salad-ish mix on top of dips for visual interest and flavour contrast. With this one I did a little tart pomegranate, parsley, buttery pine nuts, and crispy, highly addictive roasted brussels sprout leaves. It’s recommended! (duh, captain obvious). Anyway, going to send this one off by wishing you all happy holidays and peaceful gathering :) Big hugs.

the vegetarian flavor bible // via @thefirstmesspin it!roasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmesspin it!roasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmesspin it!roasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmesspin it!
roasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip recipe
print the recipe here!
serves: makes roughly 1 1/2 cups of dip
notes: I used about half a chili with the seeds, but please moderate the level of heat to your liking. Also, I kind of just threw harissa components into the food processor for this, but if you have some prepared harissa on hand, you could just spoon a couple hearty dabs of that into the food processor along with the carrots, chickpeas, tahini, lemon, salt and pepper. It’s even faster that way! :)

for the dip:
4-5 medium carrots, scrubbed
1/4 cup + 2 tsp olive oil, divided
salt + pepper
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground caraway
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled + chopped rough
rough diced fresh chili, to taste (I used 1/2 of a standard red chili)
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tbsp tahini

garnishes to top the dip:
pomegranate seeds
toasted pine nuts
crispy brussels sprout leaves (quarter brussels sprouts and try to separate the leaves, toss with oil, salt + pepper, then roast in a 400 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until crsipy and browned)
chopped flat leaf parsley
extra drizzles of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment. Trim the ends off of the carrots and place them on the baking sheet. Toss the carrots with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste. Slide the carrots into the oven and roast until tender and lightly browned on all sides, flipping them over at least once. This took about 25 minutes for me. Cool the carrots thoroughly.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, add the cooked chickpeas, ground cumin, coriander, caraway, garlic, diced chili, lemon zest, lemon juice, tomato paste, tahini, salt, and pepper. Chop the carrots into smaller pieces and add them to the food processor as well. Pulse the mixture a few times until you have a coarse mixture. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula and put the food processor on “high” while you drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil into the bowl via the feed tube.

Once you have a smooth purée, check the dip for seasoning. Adjust the seasoning level to your liking and then scrape the dip into your serving vessel of choice. Top the dip with suggested garnishes and serve with crackers, endive leaves, rough cut veggies etc. (I heart Mary’s Crackers big time)

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  • valentina - sweet kabocha18/12/2014 - 5:34 am

    I have loved so much the flavor bible and I bought the vegetarian one ten days ago – as ebook, to have it always with me :) It is really the bible for a cook! :DReplyCancel

  • Gina18/12/2014 - 7:31 am

    Don‘t think I have ever left a comment here before, but today I just decided to let you know that a lot of the time to me coming to your blog is like coming into a cozy living room with an open fireplace after a long walk through a snowy forest. Reading your words feels often like warming your ice cold/wet feet by the fire and getting handed a cup of hot chocolate and having a really nice conversation. Thanks for that!

    Wishing you all the best for your upcoming ventures & so excited for what you are going to create within the new year! <3ReplyCancel

  • FoodCrafters18/12/2014 - 7:50 am

    Very interesting post AND recipe. I’m often scared to make carrot/pumpkin/sweet potato pastes like this one – feels like they’re just too sweet to go well in a “hummus” configuration. Or maybe it’s just that I just love hummus with loads of lemon and garlic a little too much…

    Will need to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Liz @ Floating Kitchen18/12/2014 - 9:58 am

    I can’t get over how gorgeous this dip is! We used to make something very similar at the restaurant and we used it as a veggie sandwich spread. But minus the harissa, which is a shame because HARISSA! So good. Can’t wait to try this. Looking forward to hearing about all your new adventures in 2015!ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan18/12/2014 - 10:16 am

    I adore the Flavor Bible! I met the authors when they were here in Milwaukee for a signing and talk about the sweetest people EVER. Karen shook my hand and said ‘You are a baker, aren’t you? I can tell by the muscles in your hands’. Adore your words lady, they always bring me comfort and make me think : )ReplyCancel

  • Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth18/12/2014 - 10:26 am

    Just ordered my copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible! I love what you created here. Just the kind of inspiration I’m looking for. Such a gorgeous dish!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Pickles & Honey18/12/2014 - 10:37 am

    “If it doesn’t add, it subtracts.” <–I love the simplicity of that statement. That's been my giant learning experience these last few months. I'll have to check out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I just finished Essentialism along those same lines–highly, highly recommend it.

    Gorgeous writing and photos, as always.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley18/12/2014 - 11:12 am

    Do you know how much I love you + your words? I’m not sure there is anyone else who I’ve related too so much with work/home/life ever before. So I can only say I am SO so so happy you have this space here on the interwebs and that I found it. I can’t wait to see how 2015 unfolds for you. I have a feeling it’s going to be better than great. xoReplyCancel

  • michelle18/12/2014 - 12:02 pm

    GORGEOUS! So going to make this, soon. Your lentil sriracha dip was a big hit at a pot luck last year. Also, J and I are HOOKED on Mary’s Crackers. All about that Costco box.ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food18/12/2014 - 1:22 pm

    I have been a fan of The Flavor Bible for quite some time. Need to get my hands on The Vegetarian Flavor Bible because I have no doubt I’d use that thing at least once a week.

    Beautiful flavors here. It’s always so nice to see a vegetarian dip that doesn’t load in the cheese and cream.ReplyCancel

  • Emily18/12/2014 - 3:19 pm

    This is so completely stunning and gorgeous! The bright colors, the freshness, the combination of flavors… love everything!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar18/12/2014 - 3:48 pm

    This is such a comforting looking meal! So much colour! Love it.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen18/12/2014 - 3:56 pm

    This dip sounds so good, and I love its vibrant color! So beautiful! And those endive boats are a brilliant idea. More vegetables!ReplyCancel

  • S Lauren | Modern Granola18/12/2014 - 4:03 pm

    Oh my goodness! This looks so incredible! I am always on the lookout for fun ways to eat veggies, especially around the holidays, and this is perfect! I cannot wait to try this.ReplyCancel

  • Francesca18/12/2014 - 4:37 pm

    Might have to try this one- it looks so colourful.ReplyCancel

  • in love with those garnishes!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jaclyn18/12/2014 - 7:25 pm

    This dip looks amazing! Cant wait to give it a try.


  • Nicola18/12/2014 - 7:42 pm

    I totally relate to your comment about houses vs homes. None of us live in a magazine. Each home is individual, and that individuality takes time to develop. We’ve been in our new/old house 10 months and there are still plenty of blank white walls. Enjoy the nesting, its more than half the fun.ReplyCancel

  • dorota @ plants on the plate19/12/2014 - 5:58 am

    what wise words. thanks. i’m at this point of life where all still seems an open possibility and i can’t focus on anything, jumping from one thing to another… i know it’s time to assess what i’m really good at and what i enjoy as opposed to just adding new skills which are now so many it’s impossible to “level up” – less would indeed be more. for now. i must keep that in mind!

    i made a mash of roasted carrots with tahini and dukkah the other day and it was so good, so i roasted another bag of carrots – i think i’ll make this instead, seems like a fuller flavor with the heat and lemon.

    thanks! happy holidays and all the best, d.ReplyCancel

  • lynsey // lynseylovesfood19/12/2014 - 8:58 am

    the brightest of dips for the darkest of days. perfect! can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of that book! xoReplyCancel

  • Millie l Add A Little19/12/2014 - 11:16 am

    I love the look of this dip Laura – so delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly19/12/2014 - 2:12 pm

    So excited about this! I’ve been making food & wine’s carrot Harissa dip in the winter for awhile now. but I’ve got to switch to your delicious dip instead! I bet roasting the carrots brings in an awesome taste, verses boiling them. The flavor bible is one of my favorites but you tell me that there is a veg version? Music to my ears! Love your blog!ReplyCancel

  • […] (needing?) this book after Laura posted about it and this dish that has my taste buds […]ReplyCancel

  • Agnieszka20/12/2014 - 9:38 am

    This recipe looks delicious. I love all the bright colors! I can’t wait to make this for my family.ReplyCancel

  • kristie {birch and wild}20/12/2014 - 10:20 pm

    Crazy beautiful colors and words in this post. I love everything about it. All the best to you in 2015!ReplyCancel

  • […] Dips 5ever, especially if they contain roasted carrots and chickpeas! […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ Soymilk + Honey21/12/2014 - 12:13 pm

    There’s Harissa in it? I’m in! This looks fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Mahee Ferlini24/12/2014 - 9:00 pm

    Gorgeous dish!ReplyCancel

  • amy26/12/2014 - 4:55 pm

    This looks so stunning! The color, the garnish, everything! It also sounds really good!
    Thanks for sharing Laura.ReplyCancel

  • Traci28/12/2014 - 3:18 am

    It is hard to find balance, isn’t it? Sounds like you are on the right track with the greens, and eats like this. So vibrant. I plan on coming back to this recipe, thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Deryn @ Running on Real Food28/12/2014 - 4:48 pm

    Your photos are so beautiful and that dip looks so lovely! I think “If it doesn’t add, it subtracts.” is a good mantra to keep in mind this coming year. We are all being pulled in so many directions, sometimes you just have to say no and do what’s best for you at that time! Thanks for the recipe and always gorgeous photos, improving my photography is on my to-do for 2015 so I’m always stopping by to be inspired by your shots. Have a great new years!ReplyCancel

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen30/12/2014 - 10:44 am

    A post that put into words so many important things I’ve been wondering myself this past year and a truly stunning, festive looking dip. Wishing you an exciting 2015 filled with love, new projects (both personal and professional), and happy moments!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah Phoebe30/12/2014 - 3:17 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts Laura, I love your writings so much! 2015 can and will be a warmer, compassionate year, I feel more people are becoming aware if self love and forgiveness. I am trying to curate it, I’ve decided to embrace my full name – Hannah Phoebe – and my full self, flaws and all. Like homes, the best people grow slow.
    Hope my ramble makes sense, now is this raw tahini or did you go traditional for hummus (I’m a big fan of a cheap Yemeni brand atm for really authentic stuff!)
    hp xxReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright04/01/2015 - 4:27 pm

      Hi Hannah! I used roasted sesame tahini for this one, but I do really love the raw stuff when I can get a hold of it. Peace and blessings to you in the new year!

  • Kasey31/12/2014 - 6:32 pm

    Laura, your posts continue to inspire me. I love the honesty here, and I can relate to so much of it. I can’t wait to hear about your new adventures, and I hope you remain kind to yourself — I want to do more of that, too. Happy New Year! xoReplyCancel

  • Patricia04/01/2015 - 3:13 pm

    This looks gorgeous! Great taste combination and thanks for the introduction to the Flavor Bible. Sounds like a fun read!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kate05/01/2015 - 6:11 pm

    Those photos are so gorgeous. The light, the color combination, all so stunning. Happy New Year, I can’t wait to make this!ReplyCancel

  • The Gilded Sprout05/01/2015 - 6:37 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! I am a fan of hummus but always on the lookout for new ways of spicing it up both figuratively and literally in this case. Beautiful post!ReplyCancel

  • Victoria06/01/2015 - 12:00 pm

    That looks so amazing !! One of my goals this year is to do more cooking so this is something that I really want to try and have a go at making ! It look delicious !

    Victoria @

  • […] Roasted Carrot, Chickpea, & Harissa Dip Via The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ Soymilk + Honey09/01/2015 - 8:28 pm

    This looks so delicious! I’m a huge carrot fan, so this is a must-try. Beautiful photos!ReplyCancel

  • […] z hummusem / pastą lub po prostu dip. Szukając czegoś co mnie przekona wpadłam na stronę thefirstmess. Nie ukrywam, że zdjęcia mnie powaliły na kolana, dlatego poszłam w tym kierunku. Przepis […]ReplyCancel

  • skinnyrunning18/06/2015 - 3:56 pm

    This looks so good and perfect for a post-run or pre-run snack. Thanks for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] back to the beginning.  In the morning I got the ingredients together for the Roasted Carrot, Chickpea and Harissa Dip.  I have made this recipe several times before, and it is interesting to watch people’s […]ReplyCancel

  • Jenny09/12/2015 - 5:54 pm

    This looks so beautiful I can’t even handle it! I’m going to give this one a try for the holidays. Thank you so much for everything you do.ReplyCancel

  • Blargh. | Happy Vegan Camper10/01/2016 - 6:34 pm

    […] I made walnut pesto (#pinenutsaretoofreakingexpensive), carrot-harissa dip (mostly based on this recipe but I always tweak recipes to suit my needs/preferences/ingredients on hand), and baked doughnuts […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Roasted Carrot Chickpea Harissa Dip by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Easy Spreads To Make Your Lunchtime Easier }  1. Smokey Baba Ganoush from Me 2. Roasted Carrot, Chickpea, and Harissa Dip from The First Mess 3. Mediterranean Lentil Dip from Minimalist Baker 4. White Bean […]ReplyCancel

  • […] roasted carrot, chickpea, and harissa dip […]ReplyCancel

  • Marla Marlasmuffins.com07/02/2016 - 3:45 pm

    This was so good. I think I’ll spread it on Collard Leaves for my lunches this week;)ReplyCancel

  • […] just as well as a food processor in delivering fresh hummus with the perfect creamy consistency. (Roasted Carrot, Chickpea + Harissa Dip via The First […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Roasted Carrot, Chickpea and Harissa Dip […]ReplyCancel

  • […] ‘harissa’ when searching Pinterest, you’ll see it blended with chickpeas for an exotic dip and roasted with carrots and fennel (it’s particularly delicious paired with carrots). You […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Receta adaptada de The First Mess. […]ReplyCancel

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