Wednesday, May 5, 2010

vegan black bean + pumpkin dip

not your typical hummus

Have you ever opened a can of pumpkin purée to make muffins or another scrumptious creation, and then found yourself with a scant half-cup of leftover pumpkin?  Have you wondered what application would give you maximum enjoyment of such a small amount?  Here's an idea: a flavorful, savory dip that marries luscious pumpkin with velvety black beans and smoky, piquant spices.
This dip, which has a creamy texture and a hint of mellow sweetness, is excellent with raw vegetables, tortilla chips and crackers (I like Trader Joe's new gluten-free Seeded Onion and Chive Corn Crackers), as well as starchy side dishes, like corn or sweet potatoes.  It would also make an excellent filling for light, soft tacos with avocado and shredded cabbage.  The next time I make this dip, I will gently fold in the pumpkin last, so that streaks of bright orange contrast with the deep gray tone of the bean purée.  The recipe below reflects this change.

While I opt for canned pumpkin purée for sake of convenience (and so I can have it year-round), I do cook my own black beans.  Per Rick Bayless's instruction, I add a couple of sprigs of fresh epazote to the beans, along with a sliced onion.  Epazote is available in bunches at Latino markets, and is priced at 99 cents in my area.  I buy a large bunch, wash and dry it, separate the sprigs, and freeze them on a flat surface.  Once frozen, I throw them into a zip-top bag and keep them in the freezer for flavoring many pots of delicious beans.

The other special seasoning in this recipe is smoked Spanish paprika, or pimentón.  Its smoky, sweet, earthy flavor is intense, and I caution you to use it sparingly!  It adds a deep dimension to bean and rice dishes, and is my favorite addition to roasted potatoes.  Smoked paprika is also one of the pivotal ingredients in this intriguing recipe.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Dip
makes 2 1/2 cups
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
  1. Grind the whole coriander, cumin, and pepper flakes in a mortar and pestle or a clean coffee grinder.
  2. In a food processor, combine black beans, tahini, garlic, EVOO, garlic, salt, ground spices, and paprika. Purée until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl.  Gently fold in cilantro and pumpkin purée.  Do not mix completely, so that ribbons of pumpkin remain visible.
  4. Serve chilled and refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container.


  1. Yummmy! Great idea. I actually created a Pumpkin Hot Chocolate out of the same half-can pumpkin dilemma :)

  2. Wow, just found your blog! This looks delicious, and conveniently, I have leftover black beans and pumpkin!

  3. If there's ever a staple that I can't live without, it's definitely bean dip. Be it hummus or black bean, I simply must have something on hand at all times! This looks like a great option to add into my daily rotation. :)