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Spicy Pumpkin Dip

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3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin or about 1-1/2 cups of pureed cooked pumpkin
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seeds)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion. Saute the onion for several minutes, until tender and just beginning to turn brown. Stir in the garlic, brown sugar and cumin. Continue to cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and onions appear caramelized, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Pour remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice in blender or food processor. Add onion mixture, pumpkin and beans. Process until nearly smooth. Add the tahini and continue to process until mixture is smooth.

Transfer dip to a mixing bowl. Stir in cayenne, starting with just 1/2 teaspoon and adding more according to your own taste. Season with salt. Refrigerate for at least a few hours in a tightly sealed container.

Tips from the cook

--Try stirring 1 cup of chopped, toasted pecans into the smooth dip. It adds texture and a new dimension of flavor.

--Be sure to buy the canned pumpkin that has no spices added to it, just pure pumpkin puree.

--The creamy-colored, irregularly-shaped garbanzo bean is often called a chickpea.

--Tahini is a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds. Common in Middle Eastern cuisine, it brings nutty richness to this dip. It can be found in jars or cans in most grocery stores. It often needs to be stirred to mix the oil and paste. Once opened, store it in the refrigerator.

 

-Recipe courtesy of Sue Doeden

 

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