Roasted Sweet Potato and Harissa Dip

Roasted Sweet Potato and Harissa Dip

Although Thanksgiving dinner is the main event, it's always nice to offer a little something for guests to nibble on as they arrive. Even better if it's simple -- there's plenty of food to come, and you don't want to stress yourself out preparing an elaborate hors d'oeuvre. This harissa-spiced sweet potato dip fits the bill. It's mostly hands-off, big on flavor and perfect for omnivores, vegans and gluten-free folks.

You can roast the sweet potatoes on their own or throw them in the oven as you're cooking the turkey or pie. (This recipe is also a great way to serve leftover sweet potatoes after Thanksgiving!) Then just whip them up in a food processor with a few pinches of chile pepper and other spices traditionally found in harissa, a smoky, spicy North African condiment. If you already have a dry harissa spice mix or harissa paste on hand, you can take shortcut and substitute that for the individual spices.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Harissa Dip
Makes about 1 cup

2 sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried chile pepper flakes (I like a mix of aleppo, ancho, and urfa biber)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground caraway
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and roast on a foil-lined baking sheet until soft, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel the sweet potatoes or scoop out the flesh, whichever you find easier.

Combine the sweet potato flesh with the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

Serve with crackers, vegetable chips, or crudités. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Recipe Notes:
• If you have a harissa spice blend or harissa paste on hand, feel free to substitute that for the individual spices. Mixtures vary, so start with about a teaspoon of dry or wet harissa and adjust to taste.

About the Author

Emily Han (formerly Emily Ho) is a writer, recipe developer and educator on topics such as seasonal food, food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. She is author of Wild Drinks and Cocktails (Fall 2015) and founder of LA Food Swap.
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