I Brought Hummus!

It’s what I offer to bring when I don’t want to worry if there will be any vegetarian offerings.  And, may I add, a lack of vegetarian options happens quite often here in WI.  I often take the chance of my healthy but delicious hummus having only but one or two spoonfuls taken out while the sour cream with bacon dip dish  is licked clean. Oh well,  so is the life of a vegetarian stuck in the land of brats.

I may take a large amount of my hummus back home, but the other guests have no idea what they missed.  I make a spicy black bean hummus that tastes so good with a good quality tortilla chip, but it looks a little nasty. Or my favorite is black eyed pea hummus that is so creamy and rich, I eat it by the spoonfuls. One of the many reasons I love hummus is because of it’s versatility: add any legume with tahini and you have a different hummus.

Why does my hummus taste so much better(yes, this is subjective) than the store-bought or your nearest deli?  Well, I am about to disclose my hummus making secrets to you.  So if you are a veg-head like me, or you are watching the calories you consume even at a party, follow my lead.  Surround the hummus with quality pita chips, chunks of pita bread, or vegetables, and you have yourself a delicious mini-meal in case your healthy or vegetarian/vegan options aren’t looking too promising.

I make hummus from organic dried beans(1 cup dry equals 2 1/2 Cups cooked).  It’s cost effective, and I control the sodium. Save yourself some time and soak the beans overnight or for eight hours. I soak them in filtered water in a large mixing bowl(don’t forget the beans expand) and the picture above are the beans post-soak. For convenience or time constraints, use canned but remember to rinse well.

This is where the pressure cooker comes in handy.  Chickpeas that would normally take an hour to hour and a half simmering on the stove-top, get done in fourteen minutes with a pressure cooker. Once you do a natural release, strain the beans, but be sure to save a cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside beans and liquid to cool.

Okay, you can’t use my pictures as a guide–I made a double recipe of hummus.  I always freeze the other recipe just in case I need hummus in a pinch.  Pull out the food processor and chop a clove of garlic.

Add the rest of the ingredients: 2.5 Cups chickpeas, 4 ozs roasted red peppers, 1.5 Tbls Tahini(ground sesame seeds), three Tbls lemon juice, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp salt.  Process for a minute, and here is where my secret comes in, slowly add a Tbls or two or three of the cooking liquid. Process until desired consistency and move the hummus to the fridge. While the hummus is chillin, work on the pita chips.

Buy a pack of good pita bread; this is whole wheat pita. Cut into eighths and separate the thin and thicker sides of the bread.

Spray a lined cookie sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Lay the bread down in a single layer and spray and salt the top.  Add a few twists of ground pepper here.  Bake at 400 F for 6-8 minutes. Watch them closely–they burn fast.  Leave them on the cookie sheets until cool and crisp. Bake the thin sides first and the thicker in the next batch.  The thicker sides will need  a minute more.

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

 1  Cup dry chickpeas, rinsed and soaked overnight. Or a 15 oz can of chickpeas(well-drained)
 1 4 oz jar of roasted peppers
 3 tablespoons lemon juice
 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
 1 clove garlic
 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

1.Add the soaked chickpeas to the pressure cooker with 8-10 Cups of water. Pressure cook for 12-14 minutes with a natural release.
2.In an electric blender or food processor, puree the chickpeas, red peppers, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Process, using long pulses, until the mixture is fairly smooth, and slightly fluffy. Make sure to scrape the mixture off the sides of the food processor or blender in between pulses. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The hummus can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)

Pita Chips

INGREDIENTS:

4-8 pita bread pockets
olive oil spray
salt 

pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Cut each pita bread into 8 triangles. Place triangles on lined cookie sheet.
3.Spray pan and sprinkle with salt. Add bread to the pan and spray with olive oil. Sprinkle more salt and pepper on top.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy. Watch carefully, as they tend to burn easily!

I brought hummus!

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