Continuing on with the Middle Eastern motif, I want to share with you a great recipe for hummus. Now, for years I ran in the other direction anytime someone brought out the hummus or even mentioned it may be in a dish. All I could see was a pile of pasty, chalky tasting ground chickpeas. Chickpeas were those things your mother put on her salad at the buffet and not good for much more. O how I was wrong. As you have seen with the falafel, the chickpea can satisfy even the most deeply entrenched meat-eater, like me.
Hummus is a tasty and nutritious dish that can be served as an appetizer or part of a main dish. It is an amazing dip for flat bread, pita, or chips, and is part of most falafel and gyros. It’s high in iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, as well as being a great source of protein and dietary fiber. But most of all… it tastes amazing! Think of it as a flavorful foundation that can be creatively built upon. I have seen it topped or flavored with roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, lemon, paprika, chili, garlic, eggplant, and basil. Start with a basic recipe and the sky’s the limit… or, at least build to your personal taste. Below is a basic recipe that I like just the way it is. And it’s EASY. Enjoy!
- 1 cup cooked (canned) chickpeas (keep reading, I’ll tell you why)
- 1/2 cup tahini paste (roasted and ground sesame seeds)
- 3 garlic cloves (or, to your own taste)
- Juice of two lemons
- 4 tbsp cold water
- Cayenne pepper (just a little)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish or top with:
- Olive Oil (a drizzle over the top is amazing)
- Chopped parsley
- Paprika (just a dash will do you. I love the smoked Spanish kind)
- Olives (We love kalamata)
- Anything else that strikes your fancy.
Drain your chickpeas and place then in the food processor with the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, what ever seasoning you like, and 1 tbsp of water. Blend and add more water as needed or to the desired smoothness. Place in a bowl and serve.
You may have some dried chickpeas left over from making falafel but I do not recommend using them for your houmus. I it comes out grainy and a bit chalky tasting… which may have been my problem all those years. Whatever happens to the chickpeas in the cooking/canning process makes all the difference in the final product. Note: I’ve heard that, after soaking dried chickpeas, pressure cooking them may be the trick. I haven’t tried that yet. If I do, I’ll update the blog post. In the meantime, I’m going to keep using canned. I promise, it’s the best I’ve had (and I’ve had plenty).
As always, I hope you enjoy and if you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions, just let me know.Adapted From: Around The World In 350 Recipes. Edited by Sarah Ainley. London: Hermes House, 2005