We learn the pleasure of dipping food early on – fries in ketchup, pretzels in mustard, potato pancakes in applesauce. There’s something very basic but satisfying about dipping crunchy finger foods into creamy condiments or dips.
Hummus, the Mediterranean blend of chickpeas and tahini, has become mainstream healthy eating for lots of folks and is a staple in my fridge. But after an evening of marathon dip experimenting I discovered new favorites, made without mayo, sour cream, cheese or unhealthy fats. Pureed beans, seeds or nuts and raw or steamed vegetables give these dips both creaminess and loads of nutrients. When using seeds or nuts, soak them in cold water for at least two hours to plump them, resulting in a smoother dip. Fresh, local ingredients deliver the best flavor, so it’s worth the extra effort to source kale, hardy turnips, carrots, radishes and other roots at farms that are open throughout the winter. These root vegetables serve a dual role – ingredients in the dip as well as sturdy, crunchy dippers.
All three recipes can be pulled together in minutes by combining ingredients you already have on hand. The cauliflower curry has a light velvety texture while the carrot sunflower and white bean kale are heartier and can also double as sandwich spreads. Spices like curry and cumin and a splash of fresh lemon give these dips the bold flavors that keep you going back for more. Serve with thick slices of raw veggies and pita chips.