These hummus-style recipes pop with color and are a standout at any party. They can all be made several days ahead, which makes them perfect for entertaining. Because carrots and beets are available all year long, you can make those dips any time.
The pea hummus is super tasty if you make it when spring peas come into season at your local farmers market, but if you’re longing for some fresh veg flavors in the deep winter, you can use frozen organic peas. Your guests won’t even notice these dips are all vegetarian; instead they’ll be asking you, “What’s in this? This is delicious!”
Hot Pink Roasted Beet Hummus
Makes 2 ½ -3 cups
1½ pounds loose beets
3 tablespoons avocado oil, plus more to drizzle
½ cup pine nuts (or substitute pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
⅓ cup chevre
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
11 mint leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean and trim the beets (wash and save any fresh beet greens to sauté for a veg dish or use in your juicer). Place the beets on a piece of aluminum foil and 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 easily slices through without any resistance. Let cool and remove skins.
Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium-low heat. Toast the pine nuts for 2 to 4 minutes, or until 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 olive oil. Blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature on Crusty Toasts (see recipe below).
To make vegan: Replace the chevre with cashew butter from the Carrot Tarragon Hummus.
Carrot Tarragon Hummus
Makes 2 cups
2 cups raw cashews
8 medium carrots
½ tablespoon olive oil + 1 tablespoon
½ tablespoon butter
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed, skins removed and minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
The night before making the hummus, cover the cashews with water in a medium bowl and soak overnight.
Use a knife or food processor to slice carrots into ¼-inch rounds.
Heat the 1/2 tablespoon oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan. Add the carrots and sauté until they just begin to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until fragrant. Add ⅓ cup water to the pan, cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until completely tender. Cool.
Meanwhile, make the cashew butter. Drain the cashews and place in a powerful blender (like a Vitamix) or food processor. Add a pinch or two of salt. Start on low speed, if using a Vitamix, use the tamper and push down the cashews (if you are using a food-processor, you will have to start and stop the processor, perhaps to give it a rest, and move the nuts back into the blade). Keep blending 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 rest for another use; it lasts about 4-5 days in an airtight container stored in the refrigerator).
Return the ½ cup of cashew butter and the carrots to the blender with the vinegar and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature on Crusty Toasts (see recipe below).
To make vegan: use coconut oil or avocado oil in place of the olive oil-butter mixture.
Baby Pea Hummus
Makes about 2 cups
2½ cups baby peas (substitute frozen organic if you make this out of season)
½ tablespoon olive oil + ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon butter
1 large, or 2 small, shallots, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, smashed, skins removed and chopped fineSalt and pepper to taste
4-6 mint leaves
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon (or substitute a regular lemon)
4-6 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup grated pecorino cheese + pecorino shavings for garnish
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Par-boil the peas for about 1 minute, or until they float to the top. Drain immediately and plunge into the ice water bath.
In a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat, add the ½ tablespoon olive oil and butter. Add the shallots, and once they begin to become translucent, after about 2 minutes, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Drain the peas, and add them to the sauté pan. Lightly sauté for a minute or two or until just heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Using a heavy-duty blender (like a Vitamix), or food processor, add the pea mixture, mint, lemon zest and juice, pecorino, and remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Blend until completely combined and a creamy texture is achieved. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Spread pea hummus on Crusty Toasts (see recipe below) and serve immediately. Garnish with pecorino shavings.
To make vegan: use coconut oil or avocado oil in place of the olive oil-butter mixture. Replace the pecorino with about 1/2 cup cashew butter (see Carrot Tarragon Hummus recipe).
Makes About 30 Toasts
15 slices of your favorite rustic bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick
½ tablespoon 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).
If possible use a pan that you just used to sauté onions and garlic for one of the hummus dishes. Add the oil and butter to the pan and melt over low heat to coat the bottom of the pan. Using a wooden spoon, loosen any browned onion or garlic bits in pan. Using a pastry brush or spoon, sop up olive oil-butter mixture and dab onto toasts. Sprinkle each piece with a touch of salt.
Toast on a sheet pan for 8-10 minutes or until the toasts start to brown and get crusty. Halfway through baking, rotate the pan.
To make gluten-free: use gluten free bread or crackers. To make vegan, use coconut oil or avocado oil in place of the olive oil-butter mixture.
Image credit: John Klein, food styling Laura Klein