Hummus: love it or hate it? I’m with the first group 😉
The first time I had hummus was when I lived in Chicago … As I didn’t know how to cook anything, I went to a lot of restaurants, and I tried a lot of new flavors. One of those was Middle Eastern – a complete novelty for me – and that’s where I discovered hummus!
A few years later, I had it again in London, in a restaurant in Kensington, whose name I cannot remember. I do remember it had bean bags around the tables instead of chairs, and despite the delicious hummus and pita bread, I got the worse stomach ache of all times, due to eating in that crunching position. Luckily it was a quickly passing trend, low seats in restaurants. Ugh!
Chickpeas: A Protein Base
Nowadays, hummus has stopped being an ethnic dish to become part of the mainstream diet, due in part to the growing trend towards vegetarian (and even vegan) diets.
Hummus is widely used as the protein component of meals and snacks by those aiming for a healthy diet of Mediterranean inspiration.
In addition to the chickpeas, the ingredients are tahini, garlic, lemon and seasonings that vary according to the recipe.
Ground cumin is a classic. It’s quantity you should adjust according to personal taste. A pinch of cayenne pepper also has its place here, giving the hummus a sure “kick.” Add turmeric, if you wish, for color and its anti-oxidant properties.
Other Colors And Flavors
The original hummus recipe is ‘beige’ (in the fashion we would call it taupe … eh, eh) and only takes the ingredients that I listed above.
But creativity is endless, and cookbooks are lavish with alternatives: with beetroot (it looks gorgeous, pink), with roasted pepper (gets the color of the peppers), peas/avocados (it’s naturally green), you name it!
I prefer the original, but on Instagram, the other colors look great too.
And What About The Hummus Recipe?
This hummus recipe is quite simple and adaptable to personal taste.
- 400 grams cooked chickpeas
- One tablespoon of tahini
- Juice of half a lemon
- One garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- A pinch black pepper
- 100 ml – 150 ml hot water
- Optional: cayenne pepper, in the mix or sprinkled on top
Drain the chickpeas thoroughly, whether you took it out of the package or cooked it yourself.
In a food processor (or Thermomix if you have one) place all the ingredients, except the hot water and the cayenne pepper.
Start by blending at low speed. Increase gradually. It should take about 2 minutes to get a homogeneous paste.
Add a bit of the hot water, to adjust the consistency. Look for a homogeneous cream. The hot water trick helps you there. If you use cold water, the hummus doesn’t get completely smooth.
Note: you may not need all the water I indicated.
In the book Everyday Superfood, Jamie Oliver uses yogurt in his hummus recipe, but I don’t like to use dairy products unnecessarily, as you already know if you read this blog.
If you like spicy food, sprinkle the hummus with a little bit of cayenne pepper, namely if you’re entertaining. It gives it a unique touch!
When you have hummus with an already good consistency – homogeneous, creamy and smooth – it is time to adjust the seasoning:
- you may want more salt and pepper;
- more lemon juice, for a fresher taste;
- more cumin, for a more exotic taste;
- about garlic: using raw garlic, hummus will have a significant “garlicky” flavor. You may start by using only half a clove of garlic, adding the rest at the end just if it tastes bland. An alternative is to use a clove of roasted garlic, which has a lighter and sweeter taste.
- Beetroot hummus: Replace 100 g of cooked chickpeas with a small baked or steamed beetroot.
- Bell pepper hummus: add one sliced roasted pepper, to the basic recipe.
- Green hummus: I haven’t tried any version yet, so I won’t risk advising too much, but I can imaging green peas being a good start, as would spinach …
How To Serve
- Healthy snack: mid-morning or in the afternoon, eat two heaped tablespoons of hummus with raw vegetables cut into sticks or, as in the picture, in small natural “spoons.”
- Buddha Bowls: Hummus can be the protein base of a vegetarian meal, as in the context of the fashionable “buddha bowls,” bowls or dishes with a mix of vegetables cooked differently, a source of carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes and some toppings like seeds or sprouts. To finish it all, add a tasty sauce. If you’re not familiar this concept yet, look it up on Instagram because there are numerous examples, especially in vegan versions.
- Appetizer: the hummus is fantastic served with pitta bread, as in its origin.
- Sandwich: Hummus can be the protagonist of a beautifully layered sandwich. Start with a generous layer of your choice of hummus and pile on the veggies. Combine cooked and raw vegetables for added interest and crunch. Season with your favorite fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Have You Tried Hummus? Did You Have Any Particular Difficulty?