Fast and virtuous dip that's easy to dress up

Spicy Sweet Potato Dip can be served with pretzels, tortilla chips, baguette rounds, carrot sticks, or flat bread. Substitute roasted carrots, or try roasted peanuts or cashews instead of almonds.
Spicy Sweet Potato Dip can be served with pretzels, tortilla chips, baguette rounds, carrot sticks, or flat bread. Substitute roasted carrots, or try roasted peanuts or cashews instead of almonds. (MATTHEW MEAD / Associated Press)
Posted: December 29, 2011

My goal was simple - a company-worthy dip that didn't involve a heart-stopping volume of sour cream.

If it also could be fast and easy to assemble, even better. Because, face it, we need all the help we can get to manage the chaos of cleaning and cooking that ensues anytime company comes.

Especially during the holidays.

Which is how I came up with this easy sweet-potato dip spiked with chipotle peppers. Cooked sweet potatoes are blended with almonds, garlic, lemon juice, chipotle peppers, and classic chili seasonings for a rich and creamy dip. Serve it with pretzels, tortilla chips, toasted baguette rounds, carrot sticks, or hunks of flatbread.

This dip also is easy to dress up. Spoon it into a bowl, then top it with finely diced red onion, chopped scallions, a pinch of smoked paprika, and even a dollop of sour cream.

This recipe also is incredibly versatile. If you have leftover roasted potatoes (sweet or otherwise), use those, and just skip the cooking part. Or consider substituting steamed or roasted carrots for some of the sweet potatoes. The almonds also can be replaced with roasted peanuts or cashews.

Spicy Sweet Potato Dip

Makes 3 1/2 cups

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks

3/4 cup toasted almonds

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (more or less, to taste)

5 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper

1. Place the sweet potato chunks in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add several tablespoons of water, then microwave on high until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor, combine the cooked sweet potato, almonds, chipotle pepper, garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and cumin. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil, and process until completely smooth. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.

3. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready. If refrigerated, let it come to room temperature before serving.

- J.M. Hirsch, also the author of High Flavor, Low Labor:  Reinventing Weeknight Cooking (Ballantine Books,  2010).

Per 1/4 cup serving: 80 calories; 6 grams fat; 5 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram protein; 1 gram fiber;85 mg sodium.

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