Creamy Hummus

August 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I love hummus. It is such a delicious snack, and surprisingly not too bad for you. I think Sabra is one of my favorite kinds. They do such a great job at making it so smooth and creamy. Also, they make a wicked roasted red pepper flavored hummus. In the past when I have tried to make hummus, the texture could never compare to the store-bought kind. Recently, I found a short blog post about a technique on how to make smoother hummus at home. One other important element to good homemade hummus is freshly cooked beans and not the canned kind. It takes quite a bit longer, but I think it is worth it.

Since I took the picture above I have made hummus at least three other times. I think I’m really getting the hang of it. My personal favorite has been a chipotle variety that I made for a day picnic to the zoo. But I have been experimenting with other flavors. To name a few: roasted red pepper, black bean, cilantro and plain ‘ole fashion. It isn’t too expensive to make, which is always a plus on a college budget. Although I must admit that the tahini can get rather pricey depending on where you are buying it. I paid almost 8 dollars for a 16 oz jar of tahini but I have quickly realized that Vons is not the place to buy tahini. Try to find a middle eastern market or an Indian store, either is bound to have it for about half the price of Vons. For those of you wondering, what is tahini, let me explain. Tahini is simply sesame seed paste. Kind of like peanut butter but made out of sesame seeds instead of peanuts. Some people like to think that peanut butter is an acceptable substitution for tahini but I’d strongly advise against it. Peanut butter is a very different flavor and it is usually sweetened–not something you want in your hummus.

Aside from being a delicious snack, hummus is amazing as a sandwich spread. I hardly eat a sandwich these days without smearing some hummus on the bread. The stuff is life changing, and now that I can make it from home I’m that much more inclined to eat it and enjoy it!

Creamy Hummus

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1/2 onion
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and more to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup reserved water from chickpeas
1/4 cup olive oil
Cayenne pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish
*Additional ingredients if desired.

Directions

Rinse the soaked chickpeas well and drain them before putting them in a saucepan and covering them with plenty of fresh water. Add the aromatics (carrot, celery, half of an onion) to the pot of chickpeas and bring to a boil; skim, add one-half teaspoon salt, cover and cook over medium heat, about 1 hour, until the chickpeas are very soft–do the five bean test: pull out five chickpeas, when all five beans are tender that means they are done, if one or more of the five tester beans isn’t cooked through then leave the beans to cook for a while longer. Since beans cook unevenly you have to make sure that all five beans are fully cooked to know that they are all done. Meanwhile, mince the garlic. Transfer the garlic to the food processor, add the sesame seed paste and lemon juice and process until white and contracted. Add the cumin and the paprika and then add half of a cup water from the broth of the cooking chickpeas and process until completely smooth.

Drain the chickpeas, reserving their cooking liquid. Add the chickpeas to the sesame paste mixture and process until smooth. Thin to desired consistency with reserved chickpea liquid. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. With the processor running, add the 1/4 cup olive oil to the hummus mixture. Sprinkle with cayenne and parsley with a drizzle of olive oil.

* For the chipotle version I added three chopped chipotle peppers to the hummus mixture right before adding the chickpeas. Same with the roasted red pepper–simply roast one or two peppers on the stove or under the broiler, then give them a rough chop and add them before the chickpeas.

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