It’s the moment than many of us have been anticipating for weeks — the holiday season is finally upon us! And while the arrival holiday season holds multiple meanings, many of them unique to each of us and our own family traditions, it universally means one thing: food. Between the Friendsgivings, family gatherings and the festive parties that this time of year brings, chances are you’ll find yourself tasked with contributing to the celebratory spread on at least one occasion. I’m here to help.
I grew up in a household where the holiday entertaining mantra was simple: always cater. Hours spent in the kitchen preparing for a holiday party weren’t an option. After all, holiday entertaining shouldn’t be a grind, right? And while I agree with the previous statement, as I’ve grown older and adopted a love of cooking and baking, I’ve found myself desiring a more homemade approach to the holidays. For me, cooking for others is a way of expressing love and creativity and there’s nothing better than nourishing your guests with something absolutely delicious that you’ve made yourself, no matter how complex or simple. I’m hoping you agree — you wouldn’t be here otherwise, right?
With holiday entertaining and my mother’s mantra in mind, this year I’ve challenged myself to develop recipes that are not only seasonal and delicious, but also simple to pull together and can stand up to an evening on the appetizer table. This sweet potato hummus with kale pesto & fall crudités recipe is just that.
With sweet potatoes at their peak from October to December, it’s the perfect time to feature this vivid, nutrient-dense root vegetable. In this case, sweet potatoes are baked until soft and velvety and then combined with traditional hummus ingredients — olive oil, garlic, tahini and olive oil — as well as complementing spices and then processed until smooth and silky. The result is absolutely delicious and stands perfectly well on its own if you want to stop there. But since it’s the holidays and you’re supposed to make things extra special (read: indulgent) this time of year, I decided to top my hummus with a fragrant kale pesto. Six fresh ingredients come together into a zingy and lightly earthy pesto that provides a lovely acidity and brightness to balance the rich and hearty hummus. Served together with a hearty glug of olive oil and seasonal crudités and you’ve got yourself the star of the appetizer table.
And since no food-focused gathering is complete without a great glass of wine to accompany the spread, I developed this recipe with Kendall-Jackson’s Jackson Estate Outland Ridge Pinot Noir in mind. This fruit-forward pinot noir has smoky undertones that play perfectly with the warmness of the cumin and paprika in this hearty dish. It’s a pairing that’s sure to be a highlight of your seasonal eats. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Hummus with Kale Pesto & Fall Crudités
For the Hummus:
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
For the Kale Pesto:
- 1 ¾ cups chopped kale
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- ¼ cup walnut pieces
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Suggested for serving:
- Glass of Jackson Estate Outland Ridge Pinot Noir
- sweet peppers
- rainbow carrots
- sugar snap peas
- Olive oil
For the Hummus:
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the sweet potatoes in half, place on a baking sheet and bake until soft, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Scoop out the flesh of the sweet potatoes and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add the olive oil, tahini, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Process on high until smooth.
- Add the chickpeas, salt and spices. Process on high until well blended, scrape down the sides if needed, and then process again on high for 5-10 minutes, until very smooth. Taste and add more salt, if preferred.
For the kale pesto:
- Combine all of the ingredients in the clean bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
- Scoop room temperature sweet potato hummus into a serving bowl. Top with desired amount of kale pesto and drizzle with olive oil. Serve alongside crudités and any other desired items for dipping.
- Pour a glass of Jackson Estate Outland Ridge Pinot Noir and enjoy!
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