Sometime the simplest dishes are the best. The sort that require minimum kitchen work, without any stress and tricky preparation.
Sweet potato houmous is one such thing. With a base of chickpeas this recipe is similar to the original sort but with the addition of soft baked sweet potato and a few aromatic spices. These add a lovely smokey moroccan note to the otherwise humble dip.
Sweet potato is certainly having its day. Whether as chips, in brownies, as pancakes, muffins, you name it… this sunshine vegetable is cropping up everywhere and unsurprisingly too, since it is packed with enough vitamin b, a, c and carotenoids to fuel a small army. They also make a handy swap from the UK favourite vegetable the plain white spud (thats a potato, for you non-Brits), being lower in calories and far higher in nutrition then them.
I am a big fan of them. I have a bit of a theory that sunshine coloured foods make people happy. It seems to be the case with me. I cook with carrots, squash and sweet pots like they are going out of fashion. If you have any recommended, unusual recipes containing them, do let me know. I am always keen to try your recipes and ideas.
I’m sure you will agree, houmous is pretty much the king of the dips. Certainly it is the most renowned contribution Middle East cuisine has made to our supermarket shelves, and quite right to. Its so versatile, filling and delicious. The perfect thing for easy snacking and light lunching. Of course as ever, homemade is always best. Making a pot of this at the beginning of the week can set you up for several packed lunches (think houmous sandwiches, served with rice salads, dolloped onto grilled meat) and lazy dinners
Naturally (since you ask) this recipe is vegan, gluten and dairy free. Although on the odd occasion I am partial to swirling through a little plain probiotic yoghurt and drizzling the dip with a little coriander and mint pesto for added flavour and pretty presentation. This time however I went for the more standard, toasted pine nut and and chopped coriander adornment. Which is equally as tasty and pretty.
If you have had a look at the recipe below, you might have wondered why I have mentioned the use of coriander stalks in the recipe, as opposed to leaves. It is simply because the stalks hold a lot more flavour, and are often wasted. Blending it into dips and using them for soups are a great way to get the coriander flavour in and the pretty leaves can be used for garnishing.
Moroccan Sweet Potato and Cumin Houmous Recipe
Makes 1 large bowl full
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
- 400g cooked chickpeas , rinsed and drained)
- 1 tablespoon coriander stalks, plus leaves to garnish
- 3 tablespoons tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- juice of 1 lemon
- zest of ½ lemon
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbs toasted pine nuts, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/ gas mark 8.
Place the sweet potatoes in a baking dish and cook in the middle oven for 45 minutes to an hour. You will be able to tell when they are done. When you squeeze them, they should feel like pulp. Once cooked, cut them open and leave to steam cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a frying pan over a medium heat. Toast the cumin seeds in the pan for 2-3 minute or until they smell golden and aromatic, then add them to a food processor with the chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, paprika, garlic, lemon (juice and zest), a big pinch of salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.* Blitz the mixture to a puree, adding a little extra olive oil if needed.
Finally add the sweet potato. Give the mixture a final blitz, season to taste and pour into a bowl. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, toasted pine nuts and herbs
Serve either chilled, or at room temperature with any dipping and dunking foods you fancy. Carrot batons, cucumber sticks, rice cakes, toasted chips, you name it, anything dunkable will do.
*houmous requires a fair amount more salt then you might think. Seasoning to taste, as you go along is the best way of balancing the seasoning to your preferance and preventing over salting