Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hummus is the word...

Hummus has gained a lot of attention in the past few years as a healthy snack food and spread for appetizers and main dishes alike.  Hummus is a traditional dish from the Middle East.  In its simplest form, it is made of mashed chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, lemon, and garlic.  However because of increased popularity it can be found in every grocery store in a variety of flavors.  What you may not know is that it is super simple to make and you can make it for a fraction of the cost that you buy it in stores!  All you need is a few simple ingredients and a blender or food processor and viola... fresh, homemade hummus in minutes.  Plus, when you make it at home you can add your own ingredients to the exact flavor combo that you want and you can control how much oil and salt you put in it!

I admit, every once in a while I cave in and buy Sabra hummus because it is so creamy and yummy... but it comes at quite the price (over 4$ for a tiny container!) Depending on the recipe or brand a 1/4 cup of hummus and 1 cup of raw veggies will be a snack packed high in fiber, a good source of protein and complex carbohydrates, and a source of healthy fat!

I have made dozens of different flavors of hummus throughout the past 3 years (after I realized how easy it is to make!)  This recipe is a Garlic, Chili, Lime hummus that was so refreshing on a hot, summers day!

To cut down on cost, use dried chick peas.  Soak the beans overnight and cook for 1-1.5 hours.  (3 cups of water to one cup of beans).  If you are running short on time, canned beans work just fine!  You can buy Tahini in your local grocery store (it is usually found with the peanut butter).  It is an investment at first, but well worth it!  I paid ~8$ for the container, but it lasted me 2 years and made dozens of batches of hummus.

Basic Hummus Recipe
    Makes 16 servings

16 oz can or 1.5 cups chickpeas
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Tahini

1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp dried garlic  
1/4 cup lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. 

For Garlic, Chili, Lime Flavor... Add extra clove of garlic, substitute lemon for lime, and add 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 1 tsp Chili Powder! 

Recommended Flavors:
Jalepeno Cilantro
Luscious Lemon (extra lemon and parsley)
Sundried tomato and basil
Pine Nuts
Spicy hot (pickled hot peppers)
Spinach and garlic
Roasted eggplant  (Baba Ganoush)

Enjoy your fresh hummus with fresh veggies, pita, as a sandwich spread.  Impress your friends at the next summer BBQ by bringing your own hummus!  

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