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Spicy Red Lentil Dip

Jennifer Altman

Yield: Yields 2-1/2 cups

This spicy lentil dip is similar to ubiquitous hummus, but instead of using dried garbanzo beans, which require soaking and a long boiling time, it uses red lentils. Red lentils don’t need to be soaked, and they cook in a speedy 10 minutes. Because they are so much smaller than garbanzo beans, they also yield a smoother dip—silky smooth, in fact.

This recipe is excerpted from Crackers & Dips. Read our review.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tsp. harissa
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil


  • Rinse the lentils with cold water and drain. Combine the lentils, bay leaf, and 1 tsp.  salt in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 4 inches and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the lentils are tender and falling apart, about 10 minutes. Drain the lentils in a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the bay leaf and let the lentils cool for 10 minutes in the sieve.
  • Transfer the lentils to a food processor and add the lemon juice, tomato paste, garlic, cilantro, harissa, cumin, and olive oil. Blend until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Season the dip with salt, if desired, and transfer it to a serving bowl. Allow the dip to stand for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop.

    crackers & dips cookbook

Make Ahead Tips

The cooled dip can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • LVermandel | 01/02/2022

    Very pleased with this recipe. Will definitely make again.

  • brava313 | 01/14/2020

    Nutritional info, please?

  • Artsymom75 | 04/18/2017

    I loved this dip. I have made this for many potlucks and picnics its always a hit. So easy and so delicious.

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