Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hummus

Hummus is a delicious dish of Middle Eastern origin. It is great as a dip or a spread, warm or cold. Traditionally served with pita bread, it is also good with roasted red pepper strips, grilled zucchini and eggplant, or raw veggies.

Nutritionally speaking hummus is great. The chickpeas give it fiber, folate and protein; tahini is a rich source of many minerals; lemon juice has vitamin C; and olive oil is a good source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. Also, if you follow a vegetarian diet, combine it with bread and it is a complete protein.

Ingredients:

15 oz. chickpeas/garbanzo beans* (Same item, different names.)
2 - 3 cloves garlic
1/2 c. tahini/peanut butter*
3/4 c. lemon juice*
1/2 c. olive oil
1 T. cumin

*Notes on ingredients:
Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing, they just have different names. I use canned for convenience but hope to try dried in the near future.

Tahini is the traditional ingredients. It can be difficult to find and is slightly more expensive than peanut butter. I prefer the flavor of tahini but it turns out just fine with peanut butter too.

While I'm sure fresh squeezed lemon juice would improve the final product, I admit to using the cheap bottled stuff. I use it a lot and lemons can be expensive and hard to come by in the off season.

Instructions:

In a food processor, a blender will work if that's what you have, puree the chickpeas.
Add the garlic, tahini and lemon juice. Puree again.
Through the feeder tube, slowly add olive oil while pureeing.
Add cumin and, you got it, puree again. If you like you could add some salt and pepper to taste.
Midway through the process.

I usually pour it into a bowl and refrigerate to make it thicker, but if you can't wait you should feel free to dig in. These are the proportions I found work best for me. We generally use it for lunches or snacks. I make a batch to store in the fridge for whenever one of us needs something healthy to eat, asap. It lasts about a week in our family.

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