Hummus is a Must

November 28, 2012

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Hummus is the little black dress of the home salad bar. Infinite variations abound, but the concept for this perennial staple remains the same, and simple. All you need are chick peas, tahini, lemon, garlic, and salt. A food processor or a very good blender (like a Vitamix) makes short work of combining everything. Elbow grease works too and the and you’ll be that much hungrier when you sit down to eat the pleasantly chunky, hearty result.

Dress up your hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika, or dress it down with a bag of chips and some carrot sticks, tuck it into a wedge of pita bread with a wad of broccoli sprouts or serve it in an elegant mound alongside fat slices of tomato or cucumber or both.

By all means, experiment with variation, and don’t cling to recipes – hummus is not that picky about proportions and it’s very accommodating to additions. Everyone likes theirs a little different, so develop your own signature version. I sometimes add curry spices to mine but my favorite addition is fresh parsley, enough to turn the whole mix a pale green.

Here’s a basic template:

6 cloves garlic
4 cups chick peas
1 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/3 cup olive oil (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
fresh parsley to taste (optional)

Add the garlic to the food processor first, or mince it well by hand, and then add everything else. If the consistency is too dry or the mixture isn’t blending well, add a splash of water or cooking liquid from the chick peas.

Try adding roasted red pepper, smoked paprika, or basil, or substituting caramelized onion or roasted garlic for the raw garlic.

My lunch: chopped red bell peppers and very tender kale from the garden cut into ribbons and dressed with balsamic vinegar. A big dolup of freshly made hummus garnished with smoked paprika, along with a handful of black sesame rice crackers makes the meal.

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