Roasted carrot harissa dip with chickpeas is a delicious and easy holiday appetizer with a crispy brussels sprout and pomegranate garnish.
I made up a little roasted carrot harissa dip 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, I was already so excited.
A short rundown: this is a thorough examination of how 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 cooking 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!
More dip inspiration for you here:
Roasted Carrot & Harissa Chickpea Dip
- 4-5 medium carrots, scrubbed
- ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground caraway
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
- chopped fresh chili, to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 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°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. 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, 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 ¼ 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 used about half a chili with the seeds, but please moderate the level of heat to your liking.
- 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!