I’ve been craving hummus since we returned from our recent trip to Turkey. Before we set off for a second visit to Istanbul I had created a list of foods that I really wanted to eat while I was there. Hummus was at the top of the list but for some reason I never managed to eat any. So upon returning home I set out to find both dried garbanzo beans and tahini, two items I could never manage to locate while we were in Albania but are readily available in Belgium.
I always use dried garbanzo beans; I think they have a better flavor and texture than their canned counterparts. If you decide to go this route be sure to soak the beans overnight before cooking them. If dried beans aren’t available or you are pressed for time, canned ones will work as well. Just be sure to rinse them before using and adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly. I also love to use roasted garlic instead of fresh raw cloves. The roasting mellows the pungency of the garlic and gives the hummus a mild smokey flavor.
Now if you do how to eat hummus, the answer is any way you want. It is great as a dip for crudite or crackers and I love to spread on a whole grain wrap or flatbread, top it with fresh vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, shredded carrots and sprouts are particularly good) and roll it up and eat it as a sandwich. The wrap will keep well making it a perfect on the go lunch item. Of course, I’ve also been known to eat hummus by the spoonful right out of the container. Yes, I like it that much.
ROASTED GARLIC HUMMUS
3 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 large bulb garlic
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
To cook the garbanzo beans:
- Pick over the dried beans and place them in a large stock pot and fill the pot with water. The beans will expand as they soak so make sure there is room in the pot. Allow the beans to sit overnight.
- The next day, drain the beans and cover them with fresh water. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and to simmer until tender, 60-90 minutes. occasionally skim off any scum that forms at the surface of the water.
- Remove the beans from the heat, drain, and set aside to allow to cool until ready to use.
To roast the garlic:
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place a piece of aluminum foil on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Slice off the top 1/4 inch of the garlic bulb. Place in the center of the foil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Wrap the garlic completely in the foil and place in the oven, baking for 30 to 35 minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
- Allow the garlic to cool slightly before proceeding.
To make the hummus:
- Place the garbanzo beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh out of each clove and add them to the food processor.
- Add the tahini, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, salt and cumin.
- Process until the ingredients are well blended and form a thick paste. You may need to add additional olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until the hummus has reached a consistency you like.
- Refrigerate the hummus in a tightly sealed container until ready to use.
If you love pumpkin and you love hummus, this dip from Cooking Light is for you. Not only is it easy and can be whipped up in minutes but it also tastes great and is super versatile. I prefer to roast and puree my own pumpkin and use dried beans that I have cooked myself rather than canned ones but if you are going to quick and last minute, canned pumpkin puree and beans will work as well.
I can eat this dip by the spoonful but it is also great with crudite, pita chips or pretzels and you can also smear it on a sandwich or crackers. Your options are truly endless so go ahead and give it a try today. You won’t be disappointed.
WHITE BEAN & PUMPKIN HUMMUS
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 15-ounce can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
- Place the pumpkin and the beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree until smooth. Alternatively, place the pumpkin and beans in a medium sized bowl and puree using a stick blender.
- Add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Pulse for 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients have been combined and the hummus is smooth.
- Serve with crudite, pretzels, crackers or just a spoon.
Yields: 2 cups
Pesto is my favorite way to use fresh basil. Because it can be made in a matter of minutes there is no reason to buy it pre-made. Simply puree all of the ingredients together in a food processor and you have a sauce that can dress up pasta or be served as a spread on a sandwich or as a marinade for chicken, pork, or fish. The quantities are only recommendations and you can adjust them to match your preferences. You can add more or less garlic depending on what you like and walnuts can be substituted for the more pricy pine nuts if you prefer. If the sauce it too thick for your liking add additional olive oil to the mixture.
This pesto can be used immediately or stored in a sterile container in the refrigerator for up to one month. Whenever fresh basil is available I like to have a batch of pesto sitting in the refrigerator ready to use. It can turn a boring box of pasta into a colorful and flavorful dinner in no time.
4 cups fresh basil leaves
8 cloves garlic
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
- Place the pine nuts in a small saute pan. Stirring constantly, heat over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes until toasted. Set aside to cool.
- Place the basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the leaves are finely minced.
- Add the garlic cloves and pine nuts and continue to pulse until all of the ingredients are uniform in size and the mixture resembles a thick paste.
- With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and pulse to combine.
- Transfer the basil mixture into a medium-sized bowl. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 2 cups
Hummus is one of my favorite food items. I love its versatility; you can serve it as an appetizer, as a between meals snack, or slathered on your favorite bread as part of a sandwich. Despite our geographic location I have yet to find hummus in any of the local markets or grocery store. This doesn’t have to be a deterrent however, since homemade hummus is very easy to make. Garbanzo beans are like a blank slate; their neutral flavor makes them the perfect backdrop for whichever flavors you like. If you love garlic, add more. In lieu of the orange you could also incorporate roasted red peppers for a colorful and flavorful addition. Personally I love the addition of orange juice and orange zest. The hint of citrus adds a bright note to the garbanzo beans.
If you have the time use dried garbanzo beans. You will be able to taste the difference. If you don’t have dried beans or are making the hummus on short notice, go ahead and use canned beans. You will still be happy with the results.
2 cups dry garbanzo beans (or 3 1/2 cups canned beans)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
10 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
- Rinse the garbanzo beans under cool water. Place in a large stockpot, cover with water, and let soak overnight.
- Drain the beans, cover with water again and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot and continue to cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour until the beans are tender. Drain and allow to cool.
- Place the garlic cloves into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the garbanzo beans and continue to pulse until coarsely chopped. Add up to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to help moisten the mixture.
- Add the cumin, cayenne, orange zest, orange juice, and remaining olive oil to the food processor and pulse until smooth and combined.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Serve with pita wedges or your favorite dipping items.
Yields 4 cupsdips
Sometimes it is the easiest dishes that are the best. This is often the case when it comes to appetizers. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat and make fancy bite-sized treats as much as the next person. There is something special about a treat that you know took a lot of work and tastes great to boot. But other times, simple is the way to go. I think this is especially true as we move into warmer weather and want to put lighter, fresher, and yes, less time-consuming food on our tables. And perhaps the easiest solution of all is good old-fashioned dip with vegetables.
But we’re not talking your grandmother’s rich dip laden with heavy sour cream and dried French onion soup mix. Thanks to a combination of Greek yogurt and low-fat sour cream my dip, adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe, is lighter and filled with plenty of fresh herbs. I used parsley, dill, and thyme but feel free to put together any combination that appeals to you. The dip should sit for at least half an hour before serving but that will give you plenty of time to cut up the fresh veggies that you need for dipping. Your results will be tasty with no stove required.
BUTTERMILK HERB DIP w/FRESH VEGETABLE CRUDITE
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Crudite vegetables of your choice for dipping
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir until well mixed.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before serving.
Yields: 3 cups
The old adage that everything is better with bacon holds true. In my quest for new bacon related recipes I stumbled upon this one from King Arthur Flour. Because it is made in a crock pot, the hands on time for this dish is minimal and your entire house will be filled with the sweet and salty aroma of this jam before you are done. I was initially taken aback by the ingredients, which individually I love but I just couldn’t fathom being put together as a single dish (maple syrup mixed with coffee???), but the results surprised me……..after all everything is better with bacon. Whether served on bread slices and paired with a salad for a light dinner or paired with bread and goat cheese as part of a buffet table, this jam is a hit.
1 1/2 pounds bacon
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup boiled cider
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Yield: 2 cups