We know that it’s vegan and mild and generally well tolerated by even the most allergic among us. We understand that it does a good (boring) job at filling the role of the inexpensive, easy party snack for busy hosts. We get that not all dips can be mayonnaise and caramelized onions; sometimes people need to eat things with food in them. But… hummus just isn’t fun. Like, Ooh, roasted garlic and aggressive amounts of cumin, I’m so fucking impressed, I’m sure.
Even worse than just being boring, hummus is not at all versatile. It’s dip, exclusively, and anyone who has thrown a party knows there is absolutely nothing you can do with the neigh untouched bucket of chickpea mush the next day.
We came up with three alternatives that are a little bit more interesting, and a lot more versatile. White Bean Spread with lemon, rosemary, and red pepper is hearty, protein rich, and can be made with stuff you probably already have laying around the house. Roasted Tomato Jam is a great candidate for canning and packs a powerful flavor profile that some how makes tomatoes taste tomato-ier. Avocado Pesto is creamy and zesty and our favorite. Once you start making it, you will keep it in your recipe heavy rotation for life.
All three of our patently NOT boring spreads are vegan, can be made for less than $8, and take less than 8 minutes of hands-on prep time. Try them with your standard crudités and crunchy chip things, and pay special attention to the end each recipe for some suggestions on how we like to re-purpose our leftovers.
- 2 avocados- ripe is ideal but this recipe also works well with sliiiiightly under-ripe ones
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 10 leaves of basil, big ones
- ½ lemon- for juice only, but a little zest wouldn’t be terrible either
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Half and pit the avocados and scoop, squeeze, or otherwise get the delicious buttery flesh into a bowl. Microplane (or very finely chop) 1 small garlic clove into the avocado.
- Chop, chiffonade, julienne, or just beat to hell in a morter and pestle about 10 leaves of basil.
- Combine with the avocado and garlic and mash the mixture with a fork or, as we prefer, a potato masher. Add the lemon, oil, and salt and pepper, and thoroughly stir. You can do all of this in a food processor, too, if you’re into that, but we like the rough texture with recognizable chunks of avocado.
- The pesto tastes great right away, but tastes better in 2 hours. Put a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dip and stick it in the fridge. Stir it into pasta, spread it on your bagel, mix it into scrambled eggs, or just grab some pita chips and go buckwild. We don’t know how long it would keep in the fridge because it’s never lasted more than about 45 minutes in either of our houses– but we’d guess, about, 3 days.
- 2 cups of your favorite small tomatoes- we love the fancy mini heirloom fuckers because they’re cute but a pint of regular grape or cherry are equally delicious
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed or scored
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped roughly
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste*
- We are always in favor of slightly under seasoning and adjusting in the end, rather than being stuck with liquids that reduced to being way too salty. This philosophy applies here doubly.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Thoroughly wash your tomatoes. They are deceptively filthy, I assure you. Slice them in half with your favorite super sharp pairing knife, or a small serrated knife if you’re having trouble making a clean slice. Toss the halved tomatoes with all of the other ingredients in a small, shallow baking dish– something with tall sides. Don’t use cookie sheets, but pie plates work great.
- Bake the tomatoes for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently towards the end of cooking to keep things from burning. You’ll know the jam is done when the tomatoes have separated into delicious tomato mush and skins, and everything else has gone from thin and juicy to opaque, reduced, and bubbly.
- Carefully transfer the jam to any container without burning yourself, allow to cool slightly, and check for seasoning. Sometimes we like to add an extra shot of balsamic and fresh basil at the end to brighten up the flavors. You may need to mash things up a bit– especially the garlic cloves– and certainly want to give it all a healthy stir. The jam is ready to serve piping hot– with basically any fish? again with the ballz-to-the-wallz pita chip frenzy?– but when you leave it in the fridge for a few hours, flavors change and the jam thickens even more. It’s amazing stirred into pasta, risotto, or pilaf-y things to give it a deep, tomato-y savory-sweetness, and is a great addition to any savory breakfast, spread on toast or savory muffins.
- 1 can- or 8 oz- of Cannelloni beans
- The juice, and zest, of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ red pepper, roasted, seeded and chopped
- ½ tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Drain and rinse Cannelloni beans, shake off as much water as you can, and put them in a bowl.
- Add lemon juice and olive oil, mash everything a little so it looks slightly more appetizing and will stick to stuff more easily. Stir in the lemon zest, roasted red pepper, and rosemary.
- Season with salt and pepper– which will vary widely depending on what brand and type of beans you are using.
- We particularly like this stuff as a spread on a sandwich; it makes a turkey sandwich a million times less boring and brightens up a grilled cheese. It keeps for about 4 days, in the fridge, tightly covered.