How To Turn Any Vegetable Into A Delicious, Smoky Dip

How To Turn Any Vegetable Into A Delicious, Smoky Dip

The saddest meal of the year is always the one you eat right after visiting family for the holidays. Mine is usually more of a free-range fridge scrounge than an actual meal, and I always have a lot of questions: Are those leftovers too old to eat, or am I just a coward? Who ate all my cheese? Why didn’t I stuff my suitcase with fruit cake?

I got back from a four-day trip earlier this week and was greeted with quite a scene. The cats had been productive: upending the food and water bowls the pet sitter had refilled just that morning, re-distributing hats and gloves around the apartment, nudging my salt well directly into the trash can, and leaving exactly one poop on the stairs. After undoing all their hard work, the last thing I wanted to do was cook. Unfortunately, it was dinner time—and the leftover ham sandwiches we’d packed were long gone. I desperately wanted a tub of French onion dip and some Ruffles, but for once, I did the responsible thing: I burned some veggies and made us some dip.

Here are some facts: it’s the time of year when loads of people suddenly feel pressured to give a shit about “clean eating”—or whatever fresh hell the diet-industrial complex is cooking up for 2019—but nobody’s gonna eat a healthy snack that tastes gross. This dip elegantly threads the needle: it’s just charred vegetables blended with tahini, water, and lemon juice, but like moutabbal or baba ganouj, it’s so much more luxurious than the ingredient list implies. It’s dead simple and always tastes amazing no matter what vegetables you throw in, so even the bleakest post-vacation fridge probably has all the ingredients you need. You deserve this.

Charred Vegetable and Tahini Dip

This couldn’t be easier: roast the bejesus out of some veggies, blend with lemony tahini sauce, and inhale. Eggplant will always be my favourite, but I’ve made this with carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, beets, assorted peppers and alliums, sweet potatoes, kale, and even red cabbage to great success. If you can roast it, it will work, so use whatever treasures you find in the back of your crisper drawer. Mine had a head of fennel and two pathetic bunches of scallions, and they made a delightful dip.


  • At least 0kg of vegetables, peeled and/or trimmed if needed (for high-shrinkage ingredients like kale or mushrooms, use more than a pound)

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled

  • Juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

  • 3/4 cup tahini or your favourite nut/seed butter

  • 3/4 cup ice water, plus more as needed

  • A handful of parsley, cilantro, mint, dill, basil, or a mix (optional)


Preheat oven to 450ºF. Chop, tear, or slice the vegetables into roughly 3cm pieces. Coat a baking sheet with two or three tablespoons of oil, spread the vegetables on it in an even layer, and sprinkle generously with salt. Toss and stir to evenly coat with the oil, adding another drizzle of oil if it seems overly dry.

Roast the veg for thirty minutes to an hour, flipping once or twice to encourage even browning. The exact time depends on your ingredients, but you want them to be dark brown and super soft. Don’t be afraid to burn them a little—charring brings rich complexity to the finished dip. If you like, broil the vegetables as a final step to blacken the exteriors even further.

While the vegetables roast, place the garlic, lemon juice, cumin (if using), and a big pinch of salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times, then let the mixture sit for 15 or 20 minutes to marry the flavours. Measure 3/4 cup of water into an easy-pour container and top off with ice cubes. Set aside.

To make the tahini sauce, pour the tahini into the lemon-garlic mixture in the food processor and process until thickened and stiff, 30 seconds to a minute. With the motor running, stream in roughly 3/4 of a cup of ice water a few tablespoons at a time until the tahini sauce is super-creamy and has lightened several shades. (Different brands of tahini will need different amounts of water; go slowly and use what you need.) Taste and season with more lemon juice, salt, and cumin if needed.

Cool the roasted veg until you can handle them your bare fingers. Transfer to the food processor and pulse to incorporate with the tahini sauce, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add any fresh herbs you like (I used two big handfuls of flat-leaf parsley), process to desired smoothness, and taste for seasoning. When you’re happy with it, scrape the dip into a bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

Serve with crackers and crudités as part of an appetizer spread, slather on sandwiches, use instead of mayo in chicken or egg salad, dollop on roasted meats, or shovel directly into your mouth with potato chips. Everyone loves a dip, and there’s no wrong way to eat one this delicious.

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