This simple but flavorful dip takes just minutes to make and is easily customizable. Add hot red pepper flakes or jarred Calabrian chiles for a bit of heat. Chopped brined olives (black or green) are good additions, too.
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (such as basil, thyme, oregano, or chives), plus an additional sprig or two for garnish
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, olive oil, lemon juice (if using), honey, fresh herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about one minute. You can also blend everything together in a food processor. Give the dip a taste, adding extra olive oil, lemon juice, honey, or salt and pepper, if needed.
Transfer to an attractive serving bowl, drizzle more olive oil on top, and garnish with fresh herbs. Serve with crackers, breadsticks, crostini, or fresh vegetables.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from aheadofthyme.com
This hummus twist has a sweet, seasonal spin—great with vegetable chips, crudités, crackers, or pita.
- One 15.5-ounce can chickpeas
- 1 cup pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- Roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), for garnish
- Paprika, for garnish
Place all the ingredients (except garnishes) in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add a dash of water if the hummus is too thick, and adjust seasonings to your taste.
Once it’s ready, spread the hummus in a bowl and garnish with a generous drizzle of olive oil, pumpkin seeds, and a light dusting of paprika.
Serves 4 as an appetizer — Recipe adapted from littlesunnykitchen.com
Creamy delicata squash pairs perfectly with Tuscan (aka Dinosaur or Black) kale. Need heat? Red pepper flakes!
- 2 small delicata squash
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the bread
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound Tuscan kale, thick stems and ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of coarse bread
- 4 ounces shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Peel the squash and halve each lengthwise, then seed and slice crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, turning once, until tender and lightly browned.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil; add the water and hot red pepper flakes, if using. Add the kale. Cook the kale until it’s wilted, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic slices and cook until the kale is tender, about 3 minutes longer. Season the kale with salt and pepper. Add the squash and toss gently to combine.
Makes 8 toasts — Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, March 2011
This is a recipe my wife, Meghan, and I enjoy as an appetizer when asparagus is in season. We use a Microplane to grate the lemon zest and garlic.
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, tough ends removed, preferably thicker stalks
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh and finely grated lemon zest 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
Roast, grill, or blanch the asparagus until tender. (The time will depend on the thickness of the asparagus.) Set aside.
Make the aioli: Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately. Transfer to an attractive bowl and serve with the asparagus.
Serves 2 — Recipe courtesy of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club