Hummus, the Mediterranean dip made from a traditional recipe of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini, and seasonings, is a resident vegan favorite. But don’t allow your mind to limit it as such. Its characteristic protein, low fat and adaptable flavor makes it the perfect snack-time or main-meal food for any diet category. If you have never had hummus, here are a few ideas to introduce you to its versatile flavor.
As a filling …
Devilled Hummus – Do you want a variation on your devilled eggs? Dice some onions and tomatoes, add them to your hummus, and substitute that mixture for the cholesterol-laden yolk center.
Cherry Tomatoes – Gouge out the center of the tomato with a vegetable peeler. Season your hummus with garlic powder, chopped onions, maybe some red pepper flakes and fill the cherry tomatoes for a delicious appetizer.
Tortilla Roll-ups – Spread seasoned hummus on a tortilla, add a layer of spinach leaves, diced tomatoes and onions and then sprinkle some imitation bacon bits on top. Roll them up and slice if desired.
As a spread …
Sandwiches – Nix the mayonnaise and spread seasoned hummus on your bread as a base for your favorite sandwich fillings. Spread hummus on veggie burgers and meat burgers too!
Crackers and toasted bagels – Top Ritz or your favorite crackers with a layer of hummus and enjoy as is, or with more toppings of your choice. Top a toasted Everything bagel with red pepper hummus for a mixture of flavors. The protein/carbohydrate combination is the best way to keep you feeling full longer.
As a dip …
Hummus has long been a delicious dip for sliced carrots, celery and cucumbers, pretzels and any of the various chips on the market. Apple wedges dipped in plain hummus are a perfect middle-of-the-night snack. And don’t forget raw broccoli and cauliflower for dipping in red pepper, garlic, or spinach and artichoke flavored hummus.
Now that you have so many ways to enjoy your hummus, you can find the ready-made kind in any grocery store, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods Market or health store. However if you want to create your own, here is my own recipe.
Creamy Cashew Hummus
• 1 one-pound bag of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
• 1 and 1/2 cups of raw cashews, soaked and drained
• Seasonings – For this recipe, I use a combination of lemon pepper seasoning, garlic powder and lemon juice splashes, however feel free to experiment with your own tastes.
Soak the cashews in a bowl covered with water for at least four hours to soften them. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a crockpot or a regular pot on the stove, cook the chickpeas just as you would for kidney beans or any other bean until tender.
A large food processor works best if you are cooking a large quantity of hummus (or, if you just like it as much as I do).
Process the drained cashews first with enough water to make a creamy, thick paste. Add your seasonings and then add the drained chickpeas. Process for at least 15 minutes on your processor’s highest setting or until mixture has a creamy texture. Place in a container and refrigerate.
Canned chickpeas: If you prefer, you can substitute three cans of chickpeas, drained of their liquid.
Magic Bullet or Nutribullet: If you just want a test serving of this hummus recipe, feel free to use either one of these gadgets or a blender and cut the recipe amounts in half.
Dress your hummus up with diced onions or roasted red peppers, drained pimientos or finely chopped almonds. Hummus makes a great base for just about any flavor.