These hummus-style recipes pop with color and are an eye-catcher at any party. They can all be prepared several days in advance, which makes them perfect for entertainment. Since carrots and beets are available all year round, you can prepare these dips anytime.
The pea hummus is super tasty to make at your local farmer’s market for spring pea season, but if you’re craving fresh vegetable flavors in deep winter, you can use organic frozen peas. Your guests won’t even notice that these dips are all vegetarian; Instead, they will ask you, “What’s in it? That is expensive!”
Pink roasted beetroot hummus
Makes 2 ½ -3 cups
1½ pounds of loose beets
3 tablespoons of avocado oil, plus more to drizzle
½ cup pine nuts (or substitute pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
⅓ Mug Chevre
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
11 mint leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean and cut the beets (wash the fresh beet greens and save them to fry in a vegetable dish or to use in your juicer). Place the beetroot on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with avocado oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Wrap in the foil to make a pouch. Roast until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour, or if a knife cuts through easily with no resistance. Let cool and remove the skins.
In the meantime, heat a small pan over medium heat. Roast the pine nuts for 2 to 4 minutes, or until they are fragrant and just starting to take on a golden hue.
In a food processor or heavy duty blender (like a Vitamix), add roasted beets, chevre, balsamic vinegar, mint leaves, pine nuts, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix until everything is smooth. Season to taste and adjust the spices, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on crusty toasts at room temperature (see recipe below).
To make vegan: replace the chevre with cashew butter from the carrot tarragon hummus.
Carrot and tarragon hummus
Makes 2 cups
2 cups of raw cashew nuts
8 medium-sized carrots
½ tablespoon of olive oil + 1 tablespoon
½ tablespoon butter
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
The evening before the hummus is made, cover the cashew nuts in a medium-sized bowl with water and soak overnight.
Use a knife or food processor to cut carrots into ¼-inch rounds.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Add the carrots and sauté until they just start to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté to fragrant. Add ⅓ cup of water to the pan, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until completely soft. Cool.
In the meantime, make the cashew butter. Drain the cashew nuts and place in a powerful blender (such as a Vitamix) or a food processor. Add a pinch or two of salt. Start on low speed if you are using a Vitamix, use the pusher and push the cashew nuts down (if you are using a food processor you will need to start and stop the machine, maybe to take a break, and push the nuts back in the blade). Keep mixing until the nuts have released their oils and the mixture is thick and perfectly smooth. Remove from the blender and measure out ½ cup of cashew butter (save the rest for further use; can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days).
Put the ½ cup of cashew butter and the carrots with the vinegar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the blender. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on crusty toasts at room temperature (see recipe below).
To make vegan: Use coconut oil or avocado oil instead of the olive oil and butter mixture.
Baby pea hummus
Makes about 2 cups
2½ cups baby peas (substitute organic frozen peas if you do this out of season)
½ tablespoon of olive oil + ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon butter
1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled and finely choppedSalt and pepper to taste
4-6 mint leaves
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon (or replace a regular lemon)
4-6 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup of grated pecorino cheese + pecorino shavings for garnish
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Pre-cook the peas for about 1 minute or until they float on top. Drain immediately and immerse in the ice water bath.
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, add ½ tablespoon of olive oil and butter. Add the shallots and once they start to get translucent, after about 2 minutes, add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant.
Drain the peas and add to the pan. Fry lightly for a minute or two, or until just heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Using a heavy duty mixer (such as a Vitamix) or food processor, add the pea mixture, mint, lemon zest and juice, pecorino cheese, and the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Mix until completely blended and a creamy texture is achieved. Season to taste and season.
Spread the pea hummus on crusty toasts (see recipe below) and serve immediately. Garnish with pecorino chips.
To make vegan: Use coconut oil or avocado oil instead of the olive oil and butter mixture. Replace the pecorino with about 1/2 cup of cashew butter (see recipe for carrot tarragon hummus).
Makes about 30 toasts
15 slices of your favorite rustic bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick
½ tablespoon of olive oil
½ tablespoon butter
Sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the bread slices into triangles (or quarter each slice).
For one of the hummus dishes, use a pan that you’ve just seared onions and garlic in. Add the oil and butter to the pan and melt over low heat to coat the bottom of the pan. Use a wooden spoon to loosen any browned onion or garlic pieces in the pan. Soak up the olive oil and butter mixture with a pastry brush or spoon and dab it on the toast. Sprinkle each piece with a little salt.
Roast on a sheet pan for 8-10 minutes or until the toasts turn brown and crispy. Turn the pan halfway through baking.
To make gluten-free: use gluten-free bread or crackers. To make vegan, use coconut oil or avocado oil instead of the olive oil and butter mixture.
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Photo credit: John Klein, Foodstyling Laura Klein