New dips to impress your friends (and yourself!) in 2014

We’re beginning that slow crawl time of year where the cold weather settles down after teasing us with 60 and 70 degree days in December. There are no holidays looming on the horizon. The sun remains hidden upon waking and leaving work. You’ll hear: “I can’t wait until spring…” a dozen or so times in daily interactions.

Even with the doom and gloom (that might be a BIT dramatic), there is still hope, and it comes in the form of a Moroccan Pumpkin Hummus:

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I purchased Quick-Fix Vegan before I had launched into a plant-based lifestyle (whimsical Amazon purchase, undoubtedly), and I finally cracked it open on New Year’s Day to find something fun to bring to a Rose Bowl watch party. This recipe immediately stuck out for its spice factor and vibrant pop of color. The best news? Not only does it look good, but it’s extremely flavorful. With some homemade pita chips and veggies, I have been gobbling up the leftovers for days (so much so that I failed to take a picture of my own dish and hence had to use a picture from the author, Robin Robertson.)

I also tried another hummus recipe from her: Spicy Black Bean Hummus with Orange. It lived up to both promises: spicy and refreshing orange notes peaking through. Going super old school, here is the recipe:

Spicy Black Bean Hummus With Orange (via Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson)

Makes 1.5 cups

1 to 2 jalapeno or serrano chiles, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, shopped

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups home-cooked black beans, or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons sesame tahini

1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or cilantro

Combine the chiles, garlic and salt in a food processor and process until finely minced. Add the beans, orange juice, tahini, orange zest, and cumin, and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer to a small bowl. Spring the pistachios on top of the hummus and around the edge of the bowl. Serve at once or cover and refrigerate until needed.

Again, I inhaled this dip without snapping its mug first, but trust me: it’s really freaking good. I only used one jalapeno, and it was plenty spicy for this girl. I also used cilantro, because it is the far superior herb. I’m not a huge fan of parsley – so overused, so underwhelming.

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