Moroccan Carrot Spread

A recipe from the Deli Kitchen

by Rodger Bowser, Chef and Managing Partner

This Moroccan Carrot Spread spread is shy, unassuming hummus’ extroverted alter ego. The Sasha Fierce of spreads if you will. Made with roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, housemade harissa, olives, and herbs, it will knock your tastebuds’ socks off. Long-time Deli fans will recall it appearing on our #94 Grace’s Amazing Family Schroom along with grilled portobello mushrooms and cucumber on grilled Better Than San Francisco Sourdough bread from Zingerman’s Bakehouse. It’s no longer on our menu, but we still like to slather it on sandwiches we make at home. It’s also great for spicing up a crudité platter and, for a truly flavor-packed pairing, try it with our housemade Bagel Chips, made with bagels from Zingerman’s Bakehouse.   

The inspiration for this spread came from our friend, Majid Mahjoub, and his family. Their Tunisian Traditional Harissa got us using harissa in all sorts of ways, so much so that eventually we started making our own custom blend. We still like to pay tribute to them when we make a batch of this spread at home though by making it with one of their organic extra virgin olive oils, named for Majid’s wife Onsa. Onsa’s Olive Oil is made from unique-to-Tunisia chetoui olives and has a healthy, bitter, peppery kick. 

For added flavor, toast the coriander and caraway first in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. You might be tempted to peel your carrots. Save yourself some time (and reduce food waste) by skipping an unnecessary step and simply scrub them. This recipe makes enough to share and keeps well in the fridge for up to a week. It also halves beautifully, should you find yourself in need of a personal-sized stash of a stellar spread, or is easily doubled if you’re feeding a serious crowd.

Moroccan Carrot Spread

Makes about 2 1/2 cups 

1 1/2 pounds carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 lb Garnet or Jewel sweet potatoes

2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp caraway

1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pequin chile
2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup beldi olives, pitted and chopped, optional
2 to 4 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley 

  1. Heat the oven to 425° F. 
  2. Boil water in a medium saucepan and add the carrots. Boil just until they can be pierced with a knife, but aren’t yet fully soft, about 10 minutes, then drain.
  3. Place the carrots on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Scrub the sweet potatoes and pierce in several places. Place both in the oven. Roast the carrots until they’re tender and lightly browned, 25 to 35 minutes. Don’t be afraid to let them get a little toasty; color equals flavor! Remove the carrots from the oven and continue roasting the sweet potatoes until tender and cooked through, an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Cool both vegetables to room temperature, then peel sweet potatoes. 
  4. Meanwhile, grind the cumin, coriander, and caraway in a spice grinder. Add them to a small bowl, along with the sea salt, chile, and paprika. Pour in the olive oil and stir to combine.
  5. Once the vegetables are cool, combine carrots, sweet potatoes, lemon juice, garlic, and the olive oil spice mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth. Fold in olives, if using, and parsley, then taste and adjust for seasoning. (If you opt to skip the olives you’ll likely need to add more salt!)