Healthy Hummus Recipe

January 8, 2009

For me, the party's over.  I mean the eat-pretty-much-whatever-is-in-front-of-me-food party of the last 3 weeks or so.  There was the Christmas party where I ate too much cheese and crackers, and the family Christmas where I ate too much of everything.  Then we have tons of leftover sweets and snacks that we just can't toss, right?  Before you knew it, we had New Year's Eve with it's snack-fest, and New Year's Day with cheesy buttery cornbread that was leftover to haunt me for days.

Now, the party's over.  Whatever is left in the fridge goes in the freezer or the trash-o-rama.  It's time to get back on track, and I'm actually looking forward to getting back to my usual disciplined plan of eating.  I think we all feel better when we're eating healthfully; I know I do.

One of my go-to healthy recipes is hummus, and I'm really glad to know how good it is for us.  Chickpeas are full of protein and fiber, plus zinc, folate, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.  For vegetarians, hummus is an excellent source of protein, especially if you aren't a fan of the meat analog products or soy in general.  The peas have a very negligible amount of fat, so the primary fats in this dish are the healthy fats from the small amounts of olive oil and tahini.

Bowl o' hummus loveliness!

Bowl o' hummus loveliness!

LilSis assures me that hummus is a snack and not a meal; and I know in her household of guys it would never suffice as a meal.  But for me it is frequently a weeknight meal, when combined with grape tomatoes, raw mushrooms and blanched asparagus as dippers.  My favorite basic recipe is very simple and very lemony and garlicky.  You can whip it up in a food processor or blender in just a few minutes.  The blender will give you a creamier texture, but the food processor works just fine.  This recipe will make a good size batch of hummus, but I find that it lasts really well in the fridge.

Bring on the pita chips!

Bring on the pita chips!

HUMMUS

(adapted from Veganomicon)

2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon for sauteeing
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sesame tahini
1/4 cup water, more or less
Seasonings to taste:  Penzey's Lemon Pepper (healthy amount), Shallot Pepper, Toasted Onion Powder, and salt.

Saute the crushed garlic on very low heat in the 1 tablespoon olive oil for a few minutes, but don't let it brown. Set aside when done.

Meanwhile, add half of the drained chickpeas to the blender or food processor, along with the olive oil, and pulse a few times until pureed.  Then add the rest of the chickpeas, the garlic/oil mixture, lemon juice, tahini, and seasonings.  Pulse again a few more times until the mixture is creamy, stopping to add a little water as needed to reach the texture you wish.  Store in the fridge.  The flavors improve after the hummus has chilled it's heels for a while.

For a variation in flavors, add fresh herbs (chives, parsley, dill, etc.), sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, hot sauce, other dried seasonings (cumin or paprika, for example), or olives to the hummus.  Your imagination is your only limitation!  I want to try adding a bunch of roasted garlic next time.

I like to serve the hummus at room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil on top.  Healthy, filling, and delicious!

~BigSis

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