Cook | Super Bowl dips to make you MVP

With the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, you can bet there will be lots of gatherings around the Bay Area on Sunday, Feb. 3.

Some viewers will be regular fans, while others have caught 49ers fever. Some will be there for social reasons or even just to enjoy the commercials and participate in the national shared experience. My take on it all comes down to the food. From my perspective, it’s the Super Bowl of Dips.

This year I am giving the dips a Jewish twist. These recipes offer a bit more nutrition than some of the Super Bowl standbys. They can be made in advance, store well in the refrigerator and are easily transportable. All are parve. Serve with pita wedges, crackers, sturdy corn chips, vegetables, baguette slices or other dippers.

The Libyan Spicy Pumpkin Dip is adapted from a recipe by Marlena Spieler with her permission from “The Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking.”


Libyan Spicy Pumpkin Dip (adapted from Marlena Spieler)

Makes about 3 cups

4 Tbs. olive oil

2 cups finely chopped onion

1 Tbs. plus 1 Tbs. minced garlic

3 cups of 1⁄2-inch cubed, peeled pumpkin, butternut or other winter squash

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. paprika

1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger

1⁄2 tsp. curry powder

1⁄2 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

1⁄8 tsp. sugar

1⁄4 tsp. salt, or to taste

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, or to taste

2 Tbs. chopped cilantro leaves

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and 1 Tbs. of garlic. Sauté until softened. Add squash, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until half-tender. Add cumin, paprika, ginger and curry. Sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, cayenne pepper, sugar and salt. Sauté for a few moments until any liquid has evaporated, cover and cook until pumpkin is thoroughly tender.

If necessary, lower heat and stir occasionally to prevent burning. Remove cover and sauté until mixture is dry.  Remove from heat. Roughly mash to coarse puree. Mix in remaining 1Tbs. garlic. Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in lemon juice. Serve at room temperature garnished with the chopped cilantro.


Kickoff Hummus

Makes about 21⁄2 cups

8 cups chopped kale leaves, packed

16 oz. plain hummus

1 to 2 Tbs. bottled prepared, white horseradish (see note below)

Steam kale until very tender. Drain and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Chop in food processor until very finely chopped. Add hummus and horseradish to processor and whirl until combined. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Note: Because brands of horseradish can differ in intensity and tastes vary, add 1 Tbs. of horseradish and taste after it is mixed in. Add additional as desired.


Tahini Swirl

Makes about 1⁄2 cup

1⁄2 cup tahini (see note below)

2 Tbs. plus 1⁄2 tsp. grape or pomegranate molasses (see note below)

Thoroughly mix tahini with 2 Tbs. of the molasses. Just before serving drizzle 1⁄2 tsp. of the molasses on top and gently swirl through dip with knife until top looks marbleized. Serve at room temperature.

Note:  Tahini and grape or pomegranate molasses are available from Middle Eastern and some specialty supermarkets. Be sure the tahini is at room temperature. Stir tahini in can or bottle well before measuring to make sure solids and oil are combined. Do not use Asian-style sesame paste.


Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs at Contact her at [email protected]

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].