I became well-acquainted with this roasted red pepper and cauliflower dip during a foray into the world of Whole30. It's equal parts creamy and perky, with a welcome tang from lemon and a little kick in the pants from cayenne. I love it just as much as the centerpiece of a crudités platter as I do spread beneath a crispy roasted chicken thigh, or dolloped over a salad. Of note, it's a big hit amongst the non-Whole30 crowd as well—it pairs nicely with pretzel crisps, pita chips, and griddled, buttered bread. Garnishing this dip is half the fun. My current favorites are finely chopped chives, toasted pepitas, olive oil, and flaky salt, but it's tough to go wrong with any herbs, nuts, or seeds. —Ella Quittner
Heat oven to 450°F. Toss cauliflower, peppers, and garlic together with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a sheet-pan, and spread out into an even layer. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes, stirring once midway through, until the cauliflower is tender enough that you can squash a floret easily with the tines of a fork. Let cool for a few minutes.
In a food processor, combine roasted cauliflower, peppers, and garlic (scrape in any browned bits from the bottom of the pan!) with lemon juice, tahini, cayenne, and a big pinch of salt. Blend to combine until it’s fully homogeneous, scraping down sides with a spatula midway through, about 3 minutes. Add the water, and blend for another couple of minutes, until it’s smooth and light. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed.
To serve, transfer to a bowl and make a dramatic swooshy pattern on top. Drizzle with your favorite toppings. (Store for up to a week, covered, in the refrigerator.)
Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.