For this spicy, hummus-inspired vegetarian spread, Nicolaus Balla uses the sunflower, an abundant crop in Hungary, in three forms: the seeds, the oil and the sweet, crunchy tuber of the sunchoke (a variety of sunflower). The result is an unusual, nutty and luscious spread that’s fantastic with fresh vegetables. Slideshow: Delicious Party DipsRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 

Chef Nicolaus Balla
Nicolaus Balla


Credit: © Christina Holmes

Recipe Summary

40 mins
1 hr




make the spread
  • Preheat the oven to 375°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sunchokes with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender; let cool completely.

  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Scrape the onion and garlic into a food processor and let cool.

  • Add the sunflower seeds and the cooled sunchokes to the food processor and puree. Add the lemon juice, paprika, serrano, onion powder, honey and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and puree until nearly smooth; season with salt and pepper. Scrape the spread into a bowl.

prepare the vegetables
  • In a small bowl, whisk the oil with the lemon juice, vinegar, sugar and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables on plates or a platter, drizzle the vinaigrette on top and serve with the sunflower spread.

Make Ahead

The sunflower spread can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.