Trio of Root Vegetable Dips | Autumn/Fall Menu | Appetiser


Dinner for friends and family whether fancy or not always deserves a lovely beginning. It’s a kind of “let’s get this party started” unspoken gesture.  Everyone enjoys an appetiser and when it is easy to prepare and full of flavor,  your dinner party will be off to a wonderful start. Here’s an appetiser featuring three wonderfully modest autumn vegetables.

Beets, parsnips and carrots simply cooked and whipped into a trio of delicious creamy dips and served with either homemade or store-bought flatbread, crackers or thinly sliced baguette.

Autumn is such a wonderful time to feature root vegetables on your dinner party table. Dips and flatbread are always an excellent choice as an appetiser and the vibrant colors of these dips are sure to visually impress your guests.  These dips, as well as the flatbread, may be prepared and refrigerated a day or two before your gathering and brought to room temperature before serving.  Although there are many delicious store-bought crackers available, if you have the time and are inspired to put a little extra into your appetiser, consider making your own flatbread.  It’s surprisingly easy to make, so few ingredients and the recipe is included in this post.


Also, if you are wondering which wine to pair with Seana’s creations, just keep reading until the end of the post and you will find my wine pairing recommendations: enjoy!

Stefano (Sommelier) from Flora’s Table and Clicks & Corks

Root Vegetables | The Dinner Party Collective

Trio of Root Vegetable Dips | The Dinner Party Collective

Recipe created by Seana from Cottage Grove House

1. Parsnip Dip with Chilli Oil

Parsnip Dip with Chilli Oil | The Dinner Party Collective

For the Chilli Oil:

  • 1 large Garlic Clove (peeled and minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil

For the Parsnip Dip:

  • 450g (1lb) Parsnips (peeled and diced)
  • 60mls (¼ Cup) Olive Oil
  • 1½ Teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • ¾ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 large (or 2 small) Garlic Cloves (finely minced)
  • 5 Tablespoons Tahini
  • 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 6 Tablespoons Water

To make the Chilli Oil:

Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small skillet over low heat. Cook until the garlic and red pepper is fragrant and darkens, but doesn’t burn (about 3 minutes).   Remove from heat, add in the remainder 3 tablespoons olive oil and cover with lid and let cool to room temperature while you prepare the dip. Strain oil before serving with the dip.

To make the Parsnip Dip:

Bring the diced parsnips and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cumin, coriander and salt and ¼ cup of water to a simmer over medium-low heat in a medium pan, stirring to coat as necessary.

Cover and reduce heat to low, cook for 10-15 minutes until the parsnips are tender and easily pierced with a fork.

Purée the cooked parsnips along with the minced garlic, tahini, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor or blender until smooth and thick, scraping down the sides as necessary (about 2 minutes). Add additional salt or lemon juice to taste.

With the motor running slowly drizzle in a bit of water to create a light fluffy consistency (another 2 to 3 minutes). Spoon into a bowl and let cool to room temperature (or covered in the fridge) before serving.

Give the dip a good stir just before serving and drizzle with the garlic chilli oil.

Trio of Root Vegetable Dips | The Dinner Party Collective

Recipe created by Seana from Cottage Grove House

2. Roasted Beet and Walnut Dip

Roasted Beet & Walnut Dip | The Dinner Party Collective

  • 450g (1lb) Roasted Beets/Beetroots (coarsely chopped)
  • ½ Cup Toasted Walnuts (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dill (chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Crème Fraîche (or Yoghurt), plus extra for topping
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ Teaspoon Toasted Caraway Seeds, plus more for topping
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 2 or 3 Dill sprigs, for garnishing
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil, for drizzling

Process the roasted beets, toasted walnuts, 2 tablespoons of the dill, crème fraîche (or yogurt), apple cider vinegar, and toasted caraway seeds in a food processor or blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Top with a little crème fraîche (or yoghurt), more caraway seeds and dill sprigs and drizzle with olive oil.

Trio of Root Vegetable Dips | The Dinner Party Collective

Recipe created by Seana from Cottage Grove House

3. Spicy Roasted Carrot Dip

Spicy Roasted Carrot Dip

  • 900g (2lbs) Carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves (peeled)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Tahini
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Teaspoon Harissa (plus additional to taste)
  • Sesame Seeds, for serving

Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C/Gas Mark 7. On a baking sheet, toss chopped carrots and whole garlic cloves with olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer and roast until tender and starting to brown, about 20-30 minutes, turning a few times and careful not to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Once carrots and garlic have cooled to room temperature, add them to the bowl of a food processor or blender with the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust spices as necessary. If you like a bit more heat, add more harissa. Top with sesame seeds before serving.

Trio of Root Vegetable Dips | The Dinner Party Collective

Recipe from Epicurious

Crisp Rosemary Flatbread

Crisp Rosemary Flatbreads | The Dinner Party Collective

  • 260g (1¾ Cups) Unbleached All-Purpose/Plain Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosemary and/or Thyme (chopped) plus 2 (6-inch) sprigs
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¾ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 125mls (½ Cup) Water
  • 80mls (⅓ Cup) Olive Oil, plus more for brushing
  • Flaky Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8 and place a heavy baking sheet on the rack in middle.

Stir together flour, chopped rosemary, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times.

Divide dough into 2 pieces and roll out 1 piece on a sheet of parchment paper into a 10-inch round (shape can be rustic; dough should be thin).

Lightly brush top with additional oil and scatter small clusters of rosemary leaves on top, pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. Slide round (still on parchment) onto preheated baking sheet and bake until pale golden and browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer flatbread (discard parchment) to a rack to cool, then make 1 more round on parchment (do not oil or salt until just before baking).

Break into pieces once cooked.

Flatbread can be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Wine Pairing Recommendations

  • If you are in the mood for a few bubbles (who isn’t, right?!?), go for a Classic (or Traditional) Method sparkling wine, such as a Champagne (France), Franciacorta (Italy) or Cava (Spain), preferably a Blanc de Blancs (i.e., one that is made from white-berried grapes only, such as Chardonnay and/or Pinot Blanc) that is acidic and creamy in style, with good intensity of flavors.
  • If you prefer a still wine, I would suggest a Burgundy-style Chardonnay: pick one which is round, with lively acidity, intense flavors and medium body.

For more information about the Italian Sommelier Association (ISA) wine pairing criteria that I follow in my wine selections, please refer to this post.

The challenge for this course was picking a wine that would do acceptably well with Seana’s three different vegetable dips, two of which include hot components (chili oil in the parsnip dip and Harissa in the spicy carrot dip) which make a successful pairing even more complicated to achieve. Fortunately, there are some common traits that helped identifying suitable wines.

The main characteristics of the three dips call for a wine with lively acidity, intense flavors, good smoothness and medium body. If you want, you can “reverse engineer” my recommendation and identify the main characteristics of the dips by using the ISA-based wine pairing chart available here: have fun!

Stefano (Sommelier) from Flora’s Table and Clicks & Corks

Link here to Main Course | Autumn/Fall Menu

Link here to Dessert | Autumn/Fall Menu