If I wasn't eating meat, the protein-packed chickpea base of the dip left me feeling satisfied. It also helped that this shift in dining habits coincided with a move that put me within walking distance of a great little Middle Eastern bakery and grocery. Its entire back wall is filled with coolers and refrigerators packed with small, plastic tubs of grab-and-go favorites: delicate, lactic balls of labneh suspended in fire-red chili oil; incredibly lemony baba ganoush; and so many different variations of hummus.
They have regular hummus, lemon hummus, lemon and ginger hummus, red pepper hummus, spicy hummus. The list goes on . . .
I've made a ritual of riding my bike over on Monday nights to pick up fresh pita and barbari bread, plus at least one tub of hummus (often two).
Seeing the vast array of hummus options inspired me to try my hand at some creative combinations, as well. While some have been less than successful (I'm thinking of one batch that was so dill-heavy it turned the hummus a really unappealing forest green color), others — including this roasted sweet potato hummus — have become part of my weekly repertoire.
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Roasted sweet potatoes mimic the texture of chickpeas in a really beautiful way that makes for a cohesive dip. They also have a caramelized sugar-sweetness that plays well with some other unexpected flavors like smoked paprika and lime juice.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prick the skin of the sweet potatoes with a fork before drizzling them with olive oil and placing them on a sheet pan. Add a sprinkle of salt for good measure. Bake until the flesh is completely tender, about 45 minutes.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool. To make this recipe, you can dice the sweet potatoes without peeling off the outer skin. For smoother hummus, I like to scoop the flesh from the skin. Either way works!
- Regardless, add the sweet potatoes to a food processor along with the chickpeas, lime juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, paprika, cayenne pepper, tahini and dairy-free yogurt. Add salt to taste, then blend until completely smooth and a little fluffy.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning. For a smokier flavor, add more paprika. For additional heat, up the cayenne. Be liberal with the salt to really complement the sweetness.
- When you're ready to serve the hummus, top it with salted pepitas and a drizzle of olive oil. This would go well with crudite; crusty bread or pita; or tortilla chips.
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