ROASTED CARROT & HARISSA CHICKPEA DIP

roasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmessroasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmessthe vegetarian flavor bible // via @thefirstmessroasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmess
I made up a little recipe inspired by 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.

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! Anyway, going to send this one off by wishing you all happy holidays and peaceful gathering :) Big hugs.

the vegetarian flavor bible // via @thefirstmessroasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmessroasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmessroasted carrot, chickpea + harissa dip // via @thefirstmess
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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