Cheesy Red Pepper Hemp Dip

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I suppose it’s unavoidable that, when you’re been writing a food blog for a certain amount of time, you begin to forget about past recipes. Finding them is like stumbling upon a garment you bought years ago, and left to flounder in the back of your closet. You think, “Oh right! This shirt.”

That’s precisely what happened this week when I was attempting to organize my recipe tab (don’t hold your breath, friends: I didn’t get far). I saw a recipe for red pepper and hemp soup, and I though, “oh right. This soup!” At first, I wanted to make it again, right away: I love all of the flavors, and I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand from July-November (side note: organic bell peppers are a fortune, and while I’m generally chillaxed about shopping organic—which is to say that I don’t always do it—bell peppers are proud members of the dirty dozen, and so I typically say organic or nothin.’ This means I eat them like crazy in late summer and through the fall, and eat them less often in winter and spring).

But I wasn’t really feeling a soup, to be honest. Instead, I wanted a dressing/dip. Dressings and dips are vital parts of my weekly un-cooking roster: I use them on my salads, I use them as dips for veggies when I want a crunchy snack, I use them to dip wraps in, as spreads on raw or cooked sammies, or as sauce for a ‘zeke tortilla pizza. In short, dips get a lot of Choosing Raw love, and I’m always looking for more recipes.

With red peppers and hemp seeds on my mind, I decided to turn my long lost soup into a newfound dip, and the results were awesome. This dip is very cheesy (thanks to the nooch), very sweet (thanks to the pepper), and very nourishing (thanks to the healthy fat, the omega fatty acids, and the exceptional protein count). What’s not to like?

Cheesy Red Pepper Dip (yields about 2 cups)

1 extra large red bell pepper (or 2 regular sized)
1 heaping cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp nama shoyu or tamari
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/4 cup water

Pile ingredients in a high speed blender, and begin mixing (you’ll want to use the plunger!). You’ll note that my recipe only calls for 1/4 cup water: that’s because liquid in the dressing will vary based on the pepper you use! If you find that your dip is super thick, simply add water as you go along. If you like really thick dips, just leave it as is.

When the dip is super smooth and creamy, taste it, and add lemon and nama shoyu as needed. Next up, serve!

I’ve been loving this dip in all sorts of ways. I enjoy it as a dip (pictured with a button mushroom for a certain special client of mine who’s always looking for button mushroom dipping ideas!)

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Salad in background 🙂

And tonight, with dreams of my dinner at Cafe Gratitude in mind, I served it as a dip for collard wraps. My wraps certainly weren’t as good as CG’s, but the dip was perfect:

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Served up with kale salad and sweet ‘taters:


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Hands down, an awesome dinner. This sauce will remind anyone who’s tried cheesy kale chips (a raw food staple) of the cheese sauce one uses to coat the kale pre-dehydration. So it’s basically like eating icing without cupcakes.

Not a bad thing, at least in my mind.

And for those of you who have protein on your mind (especially in light of Monday’s convo), you’ll be happy to know that a 2 tbsp serving of this dip has 7 grams of protein, while a 3 tbsp serving has 11 grams. Not bad for a condiment! Pair this with other high protein plant foods, and you’ll have quite a protein-rich meal. It’s also a nice way to squeeze a little protein action into otherwise lower-protein wraps, snack plates, etc. Win win!

Speaking of hemp, did you notice that Evan recently made my hemp milk? And liked it? Thanks, Evan!

What’s your favorite use for hempseeds? Would love to know.


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  1. Hi!

    I just found your blog love this recipe Im interested in trying it out but i wanted to ask where do you buy nutritional yeast and hemp seeds? I usually buy all my raw spices on iherb Ive never had nutritional yeast before or hemp seeds so whats a good brand for the both of them?


  2. We did not enjoy this 🙁 I followed the recipe exactly but it just didn’t taste good and it was slightly bitter. I will keep trying your recipes!

  3. I made this and it’s AMAZING!! Thank you! I used red Thai curry paste, though. I am so glad I found this recipe. I put it over kelp noodles but in the future it will go on many more things. And for the person asking how long it will last in the fridge, good luck keeping it more than 2 days because you will eat it all 😉

  4. Oh, I am so making this soup. Have all the ingredients in my cupboards. Just found your website today and have already made several things. The Turmeric tahini dressing is to die for. I used it over roasted veggies and quinoa. Absolutely delightful. Can’t wait to peruse your entire blog. Namaste!

  5. I had this for lunch today over zucchini & carrot noodles and it was soooo good! It hit the spot and tasted oh so similar to one of my old favorites – Fettucini Primavera. Fantastic! Thank you.

  6. Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it ;
    ) I will come back yet again since i have bookmarked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change,
    may you be rich and continue to guide others.

  7. Ok Gena, I’m angry with you : ) I am into my third week raw and your website has been a wonderful source of nutritional information and inspiration. Thank you for your dedication to this great resource amidst everything else going on in your life. So why am I angry? One of the upsides to having gone raw is that my cravings and desire to binge have essentially disappeared, and healthy relationship with food is emerging. However, the desire to binge returned today when I mixed up a batch of your cheezy dip. I made it for my first raw dinner party, taking place tonight. There was a first taste to adjust seasoning, a second scoop for quality control, a third slurp just to make sure it was ok, followed by spatula and blender bowl licking. Wow, is this stuff good! It’s now sealed away in the fridge, but that hasn’t stopped me from still thinking about it… Tonight is a long way away!

  8. Just made this for the first time tonight!!!!! WOW!!! I don’t think I will ever miss a cheese dip again!!! This is outstanding!!! I am so excited to add this to our recipes, and it is sooo quick and easy too! love it! thank you for such a wonderful recipe.

  9. I just made this up and yum! I even thinned out a bit of the dip with some vinegar and used it as salad dressing. Can’t wait to experiment more.

  10. This looks like a great recipe! Are there any alternatives to hemp seeds that would work as well? I have flax and chia on hand, but am not sure if that would turn out…. Thanks!

  11. Gena, I made this dip last night to go with your recipe for roasted veggies. OMG!!! This stuff (and the veggies) is sooooo good! I am eating it for lunch today. This is exactly why I love your blog. All of your recipes are awesome and they are super easy to make and super healthy. Keep up the great work 😉

  12. YUM!

    Gena, I finally got hold of some hemp seeds. They’re illegal (for consumption) in Australia and are only supposed to be used in beauty products like hand cream etc. Anywayyy, the packed I bought, while costing a fortune, is hulled and chemical free (food grade) but specifically says on the packet “not for consumption”.

    I’m going to have to give this dip a try. I’m such an Aussie rebel!

    • Hi there Nat (sorry for hijacking, Gena!)

      Re: hempseeds in Australia. I am addicted to them, and buy them from on a regular basis, 4 or 5 packs at a time. They are very reasonably priced and customs haven’t confiscated a shipment yet (knock on wood!)

      So silly they aren’t allowed here!


  13. I love love love your site! You make food so exciting! I have a strange unrelated to this post question. As a nutritionist what do you think of colonics and enemas and other colon cleanses? I have a friend who is a nutritionist but she is not into raw food and she believes colon cleansing is dangerous. I was just curious if you had any thoughts! Thank You!

    • Thanks Sarah! I can’t answer this question in the abstract, really, since it depends on who you are. For certain people with certain health needs and lifestyles, I believe that gravity-administered colonics, given by an experienced and quality practitioner, can be a wonderful healing tool.

      I don’t recommend home enemas, simply because I have no way of knowing how people may miss them up, abuse them, or perhaps even exacerbate symptoms with them.

      And I do NOT believe in powder, over the counter “cleanse” products.

      Hope this helps,


  14. Ooh! Red pepper and hummus sounds like a great combo–I can see myself enjoying this as a salad dressing.
    My favorite use of hemp is in a smoothie with mango and cinnamon.

  15. This sounds so yummy- I’m getting to be a huge fan of healthy dips too 🙂 You didn’t specify, do I have to use shelled hemp seed for this? Also for your hemp milk? I was kind of hoping I could just blend up the whole seed, shell and all.

  16. Yes collard wraps are THE thing right now. I love cheesy hemp dip. Kristen’s raw has a great recipe I make all the time.

  17. Your meals always look so good. I especially love the wrap paired up with a gorgeous salad. I have a question….I am fairly new in discovering a whole new healthy way of eating…I’m doing great thanks to many wonderful blogs like yours.—–Do you ever get tierd of eating so healthy? Any cravings like something out of the way you eat on a daily basis. I’ve omitted coffee but still like the smell of fresh brewed beans—-I’ve given up eating meat —-but I still crave them when I see others eating them. Just curious on your opinion. Thank you so much.

    • Hey Teresa,

      Well, if coffee is what you’re talking about, I’m sure you’ll have seen the many posts where I talk about being a coffee fanatic, yeah? I drink it plenty and don’t see it as interfering with my health at all.

      As for “unhealthy” food, I hope it’s not too annoying to say no, I really don’t. I haven’t eaten red meat since I was a little girl (by choice), don’t have a taste for any popular processed snack foods (like Cheetos or whatnot), and don’t have an overwhelming sweet tooth. So the closest I get to junk food cravings is cravings for carob covered rice cakes, or the rare hankering for toffuti cream cheese. And if I’m ever dying for either food, I go right ahead and have it (ok, the Toffuti is less likely, because its partially hydrogenated and thus pretty nast to me, but the carob rice cakes, or perhaps some soy chocolate pudding? Heck yes.).

      I get asked this question a lot, and I think that the real answer you’re looking for is this: I don’t crave “unhealthy” food because I eat three very substantial, very nutrient rich meals a day, and I snack when I feel like it. I heed unusual food cravings when I have them (like the above), but to be honest, it’s once in a blue moon, and that’s simply because I never feel overly starved or deprived. Most women I see who crave stimulating foods — like processed foods or too many sweets — are simply not eating enough, period. They’re eating mini meals or skimping at various moments in the day, and compensating with snacky or junky cravings as a result. Satiety with nourishing whole foods is really, really key!


    • PS, Teresa, I also put “unhealthy” in quotes because I really don’t like talking about food in good/bad forbidden/allowed dichotomies. 🙂

      • Thank you (Hugs) for answering my questions. You said it perfectly…..Most women who crave stimulating foods(processed and sweets) are simply not eating enough. This is so true.
        Thank you, Gena !

  18. funny, i almost made your red pepper and hemp soup this week (ended up with a decidedly non-raw hemp and couscous stuffed pepper instead). but, i have a crazy work week next week and was thinking i should make some kind of dip to last the week. this may be the one!

  19. Yum, I use hemp seeds in just about anything I can and have been known to make the spicy nacho hemp sauce from Kristen Suzanne’s hemp book only to drench salads in it. 🙂 This sauce looks great, not too spicy and ideal for wraps. Thanks!

    • Ummm — without the actual fat and bulk of the seeds, Mel, you’ll have a VERY different texture. It might be totally yummy on its own terms, but not the same 🙂 You’d be better off substituting cashews?

  20. Red peppers were on sale at the co-op this week, so I bought a bunch! This looks like a delicious way to use them. I usually just put hemp seeds in my smoothies, this seems like a great way to use them in another way.

  21. YUM! That looks so cheesy & delicious. I will have to make it!!

    My favorite use for hemp seeds is in vegan Parmesan. I think you posted one recipe for it awhile back?! I mix hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, and a little miso & sea salt, then pulse in a food processor. So tasty!

  22. I am a dip fanatic and this one looks like a total winner. I love the combo of cheezy/red pepper. So fresh and spicy and delicious. I can’t wait to make this. I’ll have to sub the hemp seeds with cashews, since hemp is illegal here. But I’m sure it will still be YUM! Thanks!

    • You can buy hemp seed in the USA, but it has can’t be viable. Roasted hemp seed is most common, but you can buy raw hemp seed that has been crushed. Breaking up the seeds means you couldn’t plant them but they should still have most of the same nutritive qualities. Many raw food suppliers sell crushed raw hemp seeds to USA customers. Just be sure to store the seed in the freezer after it has been opened.

      • I don’t mean to assume that you are in the United States, but I’m guessing that if you aren’t the restrictions may be similar in other places with hemp growing bans.

  23. I need to get hemp seeds!

    Do you have any substitutions for the nutritional yeast? I see a lot of wonderful recipes with it but I’m dealing with some candida issues and try to avoid it (or use is in very small amounts)

    • JL,

      I’m actually not of the school of thought that thinks nooch has an impact on candida overgrowth. But, I hear you. It’s a very unique flavor, thus very hard to replace — I’d be tempted to say that you might want to just kick up the flavoring (lemon, salt) till you hit the right balance. It’ll still taste good 🙂


      • Well, I have to admit, I’m fighting the candida label anyway (even though I’m apparently “text book”) I gave up way too much fruit, tomato and eggplant this summer and finally said forget it, I’m eating it! I might overcome my fear of nooch and just start using it again and see what happens.

  24. This dip sounds delicious. I’m always looking for a new sauce/spread/dip to accompany my raw and steamed veggies, and to dip my sweet potatoes into, and basically for everything. This is a great idea!

  25. Ooooh, I need a good sauce right now. And I have a red bell!

    Question though– I have no hempseeds. However, I have sunflower seeds, cashews, flax seed, and pepitas. Which one do you think would make the best substitution? I’m kind of anxious to get rid of some of the sunflower seeds…would that work? Haha, my problem when I use nuts is that I get cautious on how it’ll turn out. A cup of nuts isn’t cheap!

  26. Pea Daddy always complains that I never make the same thing twice. You’ve inspired me to revisit my recipe page. There are definitely some things worth repeating!

  27. Fave use for hempseeds would be my Spicy “Doritos” Cheezy Dip. It’s nooch, red pepper, hempseeds, nooch, lemon juice, some seasonings for a kick! and blend.

    Also, hemp seeds can go into my raw vegan kale chip coating…in place of some of the cashews or entirely.

    Pretty much every dip I create and love and go back to has: cashews or hemp seeds, nooch, red pepper, lemon juice. The little tweaks after that like how much S & P if any, how much water, if any, etc…are just tweaks but the flavor kinda always remains similar.

    Oh and dirty dozen and red pepper buying? I confess, I dont buy organic on that one. Or on most. I know, I am ingesting pesticides. Sigh. But the red peppers here that are organic are like $8 bucks for a pepper or maybe like $6 if they are “in season” so it’s conventional groc store OR farmers market…but not organic. I know, I know…I hear the tomatoes being slung at me…LOL


    • Don’t feel too bad, Averie – I’m with you. I wish I could afford organic bells, but I just can’t. I figure even conventional vegetables are better than no vegetables at all!

      • I don’t always shop organic, either. And I don’t feel bad about it at all. I eat very healthy, organic or no — isn’t that me doing my best?

  28. Woah, this is funny. I recently discovered your blog and have been systematically reading back through each entry (it’s that good! thank you for being awesome!). Tonight right before dinner I got to your red pepper and hemp soup. Now, after my post-dinner walk, I sat down and opened my Google reader and saw this . . . very . . . confused . . . until I realized that it was a new riff on an old theme. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me! =D

    Anyways, I adore hemp though I’m not a fan of homemade hemp milk (blech) or homemade hemp yogurt (incredible blech!) But I sprinkle hemp hearts on pretty much anything, from salads to raw wraps to nori wraps to nut butter & jelly sammiches. I also recently discovered pure hemp butter and I am in LOVE.

    Thanks for all you do!

    • Oh, very simple! Red pepper, cucumber, and carrots that I’d marinated and dehydrated a bit till soft.