Easy, healthy, and ready in minutes, this harissa cauliflower walnut dip is a surprising appetizer to serve along with raw vegetables or crackers.
My cauliflower obsession is back (it was never really gone actually) and if you do not like cauliflower, I intend to make you change your mind about it. This apparently boring vegetable can be turned into one of the best food we can ever dream of, so long we know how to season it right. Earlier this fall, I had shared with you the Cauliflower Steaks with Harissa Tahini Sauce, and the recipe I suggest today is just a new spin on the previous one. I prepared it into a dip and changed just a few things.
Hummus and all kind of dips are among my favorite appetizers. I like that they are shareable appetizers to serve at a party, along with raw veggies, pita bread or crackers. Talking about crackers, have you ever tried my Swedish Multiseed Crispbread “Knäckebröd”? They are so ridiculously easy to prepare, crispy, full of nutritious seeds… Oh, and they are a readers’ favorite too. What else could you ask for? Think about them for the coming holiday season!
A few others of my favorite dips:
- Roasted Cauliflower Hummus
- Baba Ganoush
- Carrot and Turmeric Hummus
- Roasted Beet Pesto
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
The version I suggest today was inspired from both the cauliflower steaks I have mentioned earlier and the cauliflower hummus listed above, inspired from a recipe by The Little Beet Table that I had tried a couple of years ago. I really like the veggie-oriented menu with a creative twist of this restaurant that you can find in different cities in the US, among which New York and Chicago. I went back recently and ordered their cauliflower hummus that I love and noticed they had completely changed it. Again it inspired me – completely different in taste, equally delicious. Veggies are so amazing!
To make the dip, you need just a few simple ingredients:
- Olive oil
- Spices (among which harissa)
If you can’t find harissa, you can prepare a homemade version or simply change the seasoning a little bit, using smoked paprika and ground chili. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your very own tastes. Harissa can be a little too spicy for sensitive palates so be careful about the quantity you use – better too little than too much, always. You can add more if needed but you can’t go back if you used too much, unless you double the quantity of cauliflower… Not so fun to start over, so just keep in mind to not over-use it.
Besides the spicy seasoning that also bring most of the flavors to the cauliflower dip, you have some cauliflower florets roasted in the oven with olive oil, garlic and lemon wedges rather than boiled in water. This process will release some smoky flavors, to which you can add a lemony touch brought by the roasted lemons that you then drizzle over the cauliflower. I use this roasting method almost every time I prepare cauliflower and to me it’s the best one. Cauliflower are tender yet roasted and release some amazing smoky flavors.
Before adding them into a food processor together with the seasoning, always start with the walnuts. Once they are reduced into tiny pieces, you can then add the cauliflower, spices and mix. When doing the other way around, you risk not to be able to pulse the walnuts correctly. At this point, you will need to taste and adjust the seasoning according to your own tastes, and same with the texture, adding a little bit more water, lemon juice or even a little bit more of olive oil if you want a thinner texture.
Garnish with fresh cilantro if you like it (I do love it but I know it’s a controversial subject as some palates are very sensitive to cilantro), pomegranate, sesame seeds, and serve cold, along with toasted pita bread, crackers and/or raw veggies. Enjoy!
- 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 large lemons, cut in half
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon harissa
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 Tablespoons water
- 1 cup (125g) walnuts
- Pita bread, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange the cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle minced garlic all over, add the lemon halves and bake for about 15 minutes. Open the oven, drizzle lemon juice from the roasted lemons over the cauliflower florets and bake for 10 more minutes or until cooked through. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix the remaining olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons) with the harissa, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. The mixture should not be too thick. If so, add a little bit of water until desired consistency.
- In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until reduced into tiny pieces. Add the cauliflower florets, the harissa sauce and pulse until smooth. Add a little bit more water if too thick, and taste to adjust seasoning. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes and serve along with pita bread.