Plastic-Free Bean Dip with Roasted Vegetables

We’re drowning in tomatoes and also have a lot of bell peppers and onions from our farm share.  Is it 3 weeks in a row now, or 4, that Daniel and/or I have done a weekly tomato-roasting binge?  It’s a lot of work, but it does make it possible for us to eat all of the tomatoes without having to eat them all right now so that our mouths and digestive tracts burn from all that acid!  Roasted tomatoes freeze well, taking up less space than the same number of tomatoes diced and frozen raw.

Last summer, we started making roasted tomatoes in 3 different flavors for use in different meals.  This summer, I tried mixing in some onions and peppers with the tomatoes, and that’s working out very well: All the veggies get cooked before any of them are burnt, and roasting mellows the flavor of green pepper so that I like it a lot better.

I used my latest batch of Mexican-flavored roasted veggies in a bean dip that was a big hit at yesterday’s Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic meeting, and my family is enjoying the leftovers! This dip is vegan and free of common allergens, making it perfect for serving to a group with diverse dietary needs.  A point that’s come up repeatedly in discussions of avoiding plastic garbage is that plant-based foods are less likely to be packed in plastic than meat and dairy products.  This recipe also avoids plastic by being homemade, whereas store-bought bean dip is almost always in a plastic tub.

I can’t say it’s “easy to make” because roasting veggies is a pretty big job . . . but if you’re going to the trouble of roasting veggies, you may as well roast a lot of them at once, and then you have convenient ingredients for future meals!  This roasting binge also made an even larger amount of Italian-flavored roasted tomatoes, plus roasted eggplant for Creamy Lentil Coconut Curry.

Here’s the approximate recipe for that dip.  Quantities are flexible, and you could scale it up or down to suit your needs.

To make about 5 cups of bean dip, you will need:

  • 3 cups cooked, drained, and rinsed beans (I used a 30-ounce can of pinto beans and a 15-ounce can of black beans)
  • 6 tomatoes of assorted sizes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • olive oil
  • chipotle powder
  • cumin
  • salt
  • glass or ceramic baking pans (You can roast batches one after another in the same pan. I did them all at once this time, in a 9″x18″ and a 9″x9″.)
  • food processor or blender

Preheat oven to 400F.

Trim stems of the tomatoes and remove any rotten spots. Take out the biggest clumps of seedy pulpy stuff, and eat them. Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces.

Core and dice the pepper.

Peel and dice the onion.

Drizzle olive oil into baking pan until the bottom is about 80% covered. Heavily sprinkle the oil with chipotle powder, cumin, and salt. Toss veggies in oil and pat them down into a single layer.

Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until they look very cooked and smell delicious! (Total baking time will be about 30 minutes.) Remove from oven and let cool while you get the beans ready.

Put beans into food processor or blender and chop them up a bit. Then add veggies and all of the delicious oil left in the baking pan. Process until smooth. Taste. I didn’t add anything to this batch, but other times I’ve added a bit more seasoning or a splash of lime juice.

Serve with chips and/or veggie strips for dipping. Alternatively, spread bean dip on a tortilla, add cheese if you like, and roll it up to eat as a burrito or cut into circles for party snacks.

If you have trouble removing blackened tomato juice from the pan, try this frugal scouring powder!

Visit Hearth & Soul for more wonderful ways to celebrate September!  Visit Meatless Monday and Melt in Your Mouth Monday for more great recipes!

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