BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Dig In

11 Comments

Unless referring to the planet itself, “earthy” is a descriptor of dubious praise. Much like the ambiguous label of “interesting,” such a word can be interpreted in many ways- Mostly negative. Mushrooms and beets can be earthy, and for as fervently as their fan clubs will tout the word as praise, their detractors just as quickly adopt it as evidence for their disdain. Telling someone to “eat dirt,” is a fairly clear insult, on the other hand, although I have no qualms recommending charcoal, ash, or lava for your next meal. Still, the mental imagery of picking up a handful of soil and chowing down inevitably leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.

This was the war of words I battled when agonizing on this new recipe’s title. Designed as a celebration of spring, gardening, and new growth, the original title was simply “Dirt Dip.” The dirty truth of the matter is that each distinctive strata was inspired by nature; worms, dirt, pebbles, and grass. Appetizing, right? Perhaps honesty is not the best policy here. Let’s start over.

Bursting forth with vibrant flavors ideal for celebrating the vernal equinox, I present to you my layered garden party dip. A base of savory caramelized onions sets a deeply umami foundation upon which this dynamic quartet is built. Fresh lemon and mint mingle just above in a creamy yet chunky black bean mash. Briny black olive tapenade accentuates these bold flavors, adding an addictive salty note that makes it impossible to resist a double-dip. Sealing the deal is a fine shower of snipped chives, lending a mellow onion note to bring all the layers together. Make sure you really dig in deep to get a bite of each one!

4-Layer Garden Party Dip

Caramelized Onions:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Large Red Onion, Halved and Thinly Sliced
Salt and Pepper, to Taste

Lemon-Mint Black Bean Dip:

1 15-Ounce Can (or 1 1/2 Cups Cooked) Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
3 Cloves Roasted Garlic
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, Finely Chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Tapenade:

1 Cup Pitted Black Olives
1 Tablespoon Capers
1 Clove Garlic
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Garnish:

1/2 – 1 Ounce Fresh Chives, Finely Chopped

The caramelized onions will take the longest to prepare, so get them cooking first by setting a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and sliced onion, tossing to coat. Once the pan is hot and the onions become aromatic, turn down the heat to low and slowly cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 – 45 minutes until deeply amber brown. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the bean dip by either tossing everything into your food processor and pulsing until fairly creamy and well-combined, or mashing the ingredients together in a large bowl by hand. You want to leave the dip fairly coarse for a more interesting texture, so stop short of a smooth puree if using the machine.

The tapenade is made just as easily. Either pulse all of the components together in your food processor or chop them by hand, until broken down and thoroughly mixed.

Finally, to assemble the dip, select a glass container to enjoy the full effect of your work. Smooth the caramelized onions into the bottom in an even layer, followed by the bean dip and then the tapenade. Sprinkle chives evenly all over the top. Serve at room temperature or chilled, with cut vegetable crudites, crackers, or chips.

The dip can be prepared in advance if stored in an air-tight container in the fridge, for up to a week.

Makes 8 – 10 Servings

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

11 thoughts on “Dig In

  1. This sounds a very tasty recipe to add to any table of dips ..
    Hope all is well in your world Hannah.. lovely to catch you in the reader this afternoon.. <3 Hugs my friend

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d eat “dirt dip” if I knew the recipe came from you! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If I weren’t leaving tomorrow, I’d make this immediately! It sounds SO good!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I recently read something about adding baking soda to onions to caramelise them in half the time but I think I would prefer to just let them do their thing while I prepped the rest of this scrumptious looking dip. Another culinary triumph for a brilliant food blogger and photographer. I take my hat off to you Ms Hannah. You certainly know your onions! (And olives, and beans…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes indeed! The baking soda trick is a very handy one, but should only be used for very specific applications. It speeds up the cooking time but effectively turns the onions into a caramelized puree. It breaks down the cell walls thoroughly to accelerate the maillard reaction, but also destroys the structural integrity in the process. You win some, you lose some…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess it’s really horses for courses when it comes to “tricks”and if the flavour, rather than the texture of the onions, is required alone and you are in a hurry, I guess it could work, but I would rather stick to the unadulterated, longer-to-cook version myself :)

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  6. For a second there, I thought it was some sort of set up for an early April Fool’s dish. I was expecting to see pasta worms or something. :-) Instead it’s a great looking and fun dip for spring, love the many layers.

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  7. This looks wonderful, the perfect tangy dip for a spring party. Think I’ll try it for our Easter party, thanks!

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  8. This recipe is truly inspired. Each layer sounds more delicious than the next. What a wonderful idea and a beautiful recipe. I can’t wait to dig in! Hee hee :)

    Like

  9. Pingback: 4-Layer Garden Party Bean Dip - Yum Goggle

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