Hummus is one of those superfoods that makes it quite easy to eat vegan, eat healthy, and eat delicious, all at the same time. Combined with pita bread it makes a perfect protein, and the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) have loads of fiber, iron, magnesium and all that good stuff.
I first tasted hummus at my friend Margo’s house- she was born in Lebanon and makes a really great, authentic version that she serves with warm pita bread and lettuce leaves.
My own version is something I’ve arrived at over a period of experimenting with the tastes of my family and friends. Desi, for instance, doesn’t like too much garlic in it, although I do. To those who do not like the strong taste of raw garlic, I’d advise cutting down the garlic to either one or even half a clove. Another way to incorporate the flavor of garlic without the sharpness is to roast it. Simply coat the garlic in a few drops of olive oil, wrap in tinfoil, and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The roasted garlic is wonderfully sweet and mellow and adds a great deal of depth without the pungency.
I also experiment with a variety of beans while making hummus, and have used everything from black beans, which impart an earthily robust taste, to white beans and edamame.
One of the essential ingredients in hummus, which gives it that smooth, creamy flavor, is tahini, or sesame seed paste. While I rarely have tahini sitting around in my pantry, I almost always have sesame seeds which are an essential in Indian cooking. I toast a handful of sesame seeds to a pale golden-brown color on a skillet, and give them a whir in my coffee grinder which I use exclusively to grind spices. I then use this in place of the tahini with the same great results.
Hummus is one of the easiest and quickest recipes to make– it takes almost no time to assemble once you have got the ingredients together, and if you used canned chickpeas there’s no cooking involved either.
How great is that?
1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight and then cooked (I use the pressure cooker) until tender. Reserve the cooking liquid. (You can substitute with roughly 2 cups of canned chickpeas, rinsed)
2 tbsp tahini paste or sesame seed powder (read post above for instructions)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder like cayenne or paprika
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Put all ingredients, except the olive oil in a food processor. Give it a whir, adding some of the cooking liquid if the mixture is too dry. Process until the hummus is smooth and creamy. Add more water if it is too thick.
With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil into the hummus.
Remove to a bowl. Garnish with a few sprinkles of chili powder and olive oil. Serve with warm slivers of pita bread.