Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hummus: Store-bought = $4, Homemade = $1.50--You Choose

Recently, we've been on a bit of a hummus kick.  Hummus is great stuff, nutritionally.  It's full of protein and it can really satisfy a snack craving.  Plus, it's actually healthy for you--depending on what fats you make it with.

That said, many people spend tons of money buying mediocre store-bought hummus when it takes all of 10 minutes to make your own and you probably have (or can have) everything you need in your pantry or fridge.

A word on Tahini...

I used to use a recipe that included a *lot* of tahini.  Tahini is an oily paste made from sesame seeds.  It looks and smells suspiciously like peanut butter and gives hummus that characteristic middle eastern nutty flavor.  Most store-bought hummus contains tahini in varying amounts.  In the grand scale of fats, tahini is about as healthy for you as peanut butter, so keep that in mind.

I found out quite by accident that hummus tastes just great without tahini when I didn't have it one day and plowed-on with the recipe.  It's easier to make that way (no specialty ingredients), cheaper, healthier, and lighter-tasting.  It's now our favorite snack food to have on hand when company comes and it got rave reviews when served with pita chips before Thanksgiving dinner.  I thought I'd share my version of the recipe with you today.

Healthy Hummus (No Tahini)
3 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled okay, fresh even better)
2 tablespoons water
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 14-oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 small garlic clove minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper

1) Place the chickpeas in the work bowl of a food processor or really good blender.  Pulse to begin chopping them.
2) Add the dry spices to the chickpeas.
3) Mix all of the liquid together in a measuring cup and stir.
4) Turn the machine on and begin drizzling the liquid in through the feed tube.  Stop and scrape-down the sides.  Resume processing until the mixture is smooth.
5) Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  It'll keep for a week or more.

Note: The recipe makes a fairly soupy dip.  If you like it firmer, omit 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and a few tablespoons of the oil.

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