This Harissa Carrot Dip is a fantastic, flavor-packed alternative to hummus! It’s made with spiced, slow-roasted carrots, that get blended into a creamy dip with lentils, almonds, spicy harissa paste, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil! It’s insanely flavorful, super healthy, and perfect for dipping or adding to bowls!
Is it just me, or do dips make everything better? I’m not talking just for dipping purposes. Yes, we all love dipping chips and bread-like things into dips, but I love dips SO much for adding to things like bowls and salads. They without fail, get me out of food ruts. All. the. time. Enter this slightly spicy, super creamy, incredibly delicious carrot dip! It’s kind of like hummus, but dare I say, better?
This is my new favorite thing and I have a feeling will be happening almost weekly around here. It’s SO packed with flavor – from the spicy harissa paste (you can use as little or as much as you want!), garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, and the spiced roasted carrots. The lentils and almonds help give the dip body and a little flavor, as does the olive oil. Make sure you use really good quality, extra virgin stuff here.
The key here, is the slow roasted carrots.
Yes, slow roasted! They kind of shrivel up and get super soft, which makes for a SUPER creamy dip. For times sake, I also tested this recipe with quickly roasted carrots at a higher temperature, and I didn’t love it as much. Still super delicious, but not as creamy. I don’t think it was as sweet either – the carrots really develop a sweetness when you roast them low and slow. So good!
But, if you have the time, I’d highly highly recommend slow-roasting the carrots. They can’t be beat in this dip!
Over the past few weeks of making this dip, I’ve used it as a dip for veggies, a topping on Mediterranean-ish bowls (with arugula, cucumber, quinoa, tomatoes, feta, red onion, and chicken – all dressed in a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper – with a big scoop of carrot dip! SO GOOD.), and also as a dip with pita chips and warmed pita bread.
I’ve also added it to my eggs in the morning which was SO delish. But my favorite use of this creamy carrot goodness would either be in a bowl, or on warmed pita bread. This is how you HAVE to do it: drizzle a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet, and toast up your pita bread over medium-high heat until it’s golden and warmed through. Immediately hit it with some flaky salt and freshly cracked black pepper. It’s pretty much the best thing EVER and I also do it with naan. I can’t even describe how much better it makes it!
Sounds simple I know, but you’ll be amazed.
Look how smooth and creamy! Aside from the creaminess of the slow roasted carrots, the other part of this recipe that adds to the creaminess factor is the addition of ice water at the end of blending. It’s something I often do with my homemade hummus, and for whatever reason, it works beautifully in yielding the creamiest hummus/dips!
Although not traditional, this is totally an easy dip you could serve for a Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving appetizer, or for a different app to bring to a holiday party. I think it’s sometimes nice to give your tastebuds a break from all things cinnamon + nutmeg + all the fall/winter flavors. This dip does exactly that!
It’s also something that I love keeping on hand during the week, when I want healthy but flavorful meals and snacks at-the-ready. Dips totally get my out of food ruts, because they’re so flavorful and they immediately dress up a bowl or salad, or make snacking that much more fun. You know?
I am ALL about the dips.
To serve this, I always add a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, a handful of cilantro, and a few pinches of flaky salt.
And, that skillet-warmed pita bread. You need to do it!
Harissa Carrot Dip
This Harissa Carrot Dip is a fantastic, flavor-packed alternative to hummus! It's made with spiced, slow-roasted carrots, that get blended into a creamy dip with lentils, almonds, spicy harissa paste, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil! It's insanely flavorful, super healthy, and perfect for dipping or adding to bowls!
For the slow-roasted carrots
- 8 medium-large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4'' thick
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the dip
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils*
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste*
- 2 cloves garlic
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup packed cilantro
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup ice water
- veggies, pita chips, pita bread, and/or crackers for dipping
Preheat oven to 350℉. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Add carrots, olive oil, smoked paprika, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper to the baking sheet and toss to coat. Bake for 50 minutes, or until carrots are soft and slightly shriveled, tossing once or twice during baking. Let cool.
Once carrots have cooled, add to a food processor along with the lentils, almonds, harissa, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. With the processor running, slowly stream in the ice water and blend until dip is even creamier. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve with dippers of choice!
*For a time-saving hack, sometimes I like to buy the pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe's! Otherwise, I just boil black lentils with salted water and a bay leaf for 18-20 minutes or until they're tender, and drain!
*Harissa paste can vary greatly in spice level. I most often use the harissa from Trader Joe's, and it's spicy. 1 tablespoon in this recipe is still relatively spicy, so if you don't like spice, maybe use half. With other brands of milder harissa, you might have to use up to 2 tablespoons. To be safe, I'd start with 1/2-1 tablespoon!