Eat your weight in hummus

Did you hear about the vegetarian who died during dinner? Police are calling it hummus side…

Who is Hummus’ best friend? Pete Th’Chip…

I invested in chickpeas and I hummused a fortune.

Hummus, that simple dip of garbanzo beans, AKA chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini and salt has taken America by storm. It was reported in The New York Times that the hummus industry has grown substantially, ringing up at a measly $5 million dollar business in 1997 to a business that is now brings a whopping $530 million.  And that’s no joke; this savory dip is irresistible.

Buffalo Hummus, Tex Mex Hummus, and Steakhouse Hummus round out a unique snack platter.

According to health gurus, doctors and other nutritional types, you cannot eat too much hummus because it is so stinking healthy (and I seriously question this wisdom, all things in moderation). During an interview with Vogue, Natalie Portman confessed that she consumes her own weight in hummus every day. Hmmm, if I ate my weight in hummus every day, would I become more like Portman? I can only dream. In the meantime, hummus is certainly one of the better snack choices.

Rich in protein, hummus can help you lose weight by keeping you full and balancing blood sugar levels. Hummus contains folate, which may reduce the occurrence of colorectal cancers. Folate also plays a part in healthy cell division and if that wasn’t enough to make your colon happy, foods rich in dietary fiber, like humus, help promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon, which also protects against cancer.

Basic hummus is so easy to make at home that it seems a shame to buy a tub from the deli. And with a few of these Hummus Upgrades, there is no reason you can’t turn out a variety of hummus flavors to please even Natalie Portman. Although I don’t know if you could turn out the volume that she requires.

Basic Hummus

Yield: about 2 ½ cups

  • 1 pound slow cooker chickpeas, prepared (recipe follows)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or put through the garlic press
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons of juice from a jar of Spanish olives
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of tahini, stirred well
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

Place the chickpeas, garlic and kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 15 to 20 seconds. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and process for another 15 to 20 seconds. Add the lemon juice, olive juice, and water; process again for about 20 seconds. Add the tahini and again, process again for 20 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The mixture should be very smooth at this point. If it is not, then process in 20 second increments until it’s smooth.  With the food processor running, stream in ¼ cup of olive oil.

NOTE: this recipe calls for 1 pound of cooked chickpeas, not one pound dry. The Slow Cooker recipe makes more than 1 pound of cooked chickpeas.

Rinse cooked chickpeas in cold water and rub them in your hands to gently remove any skin that remains.

Slow Cooker ChickPeas

  • 7 cups of water
  • 1 pound of dried chickpeas, sorted and rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Place the water, the chick peas and baking soda in a 2 ½ quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 to 9 hours, or until the peas are tender.  Drain before using.

Upgrade Your Hummus

Buffalo Hummus

  • 2 cups of basic hummus
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup Buffalo Wing Hot Sauce

Place the hummus, celery and blue cheese in a serving bowl. Drizzle liberally with Buffalo Wing Sauce. Serve with warm pita chips, celery and/or carrot sticks and crispy chicken strips.

Steakhouse Hummus

  • 2 cups of basic hummus
  • ½ cup caramelized onions (recipe follows)
  • ¼ to ½ cup crumbled cooked bacon
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Your favorite steak sauce

Place the hummus in a serving bowl; top with the caramelized onions, bacon, blue cheese and steak sauce. Serve with toasted French bread

Caramelized onions

Caramalized onions are good on more than Steakhouse Hummus. Make more than you need and store refrigerated.

Coat the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet with olive oil or a mixture of olive oil and butter (about 1 teaspoon of fat per onion).  Heat the pan on medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with oil. Spread the onions out evenly in the pan, reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stir occasionally. After the onions have cooked for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with salt. Cook until the onions are deep golden brown, adding water as necessary to keep the pan from drying out, about 30 minutes.

Mediterranean Hummus

  • 2 cups basic hummus
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped fine, use some of the oil as well
  • ¼ cup prepared olive tapenade
  • ¼ to ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Layer the hummus, tomatoes and olives in a serving dish, ending with the tomato and olive. Drizzle with some of the reserved sun dried tomato oil. Top with crumbled feta cheese. Serve with pita chips.

  • Tex-Mex Hummus
    1 chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce
  • 1-2 Tablespoons adobo sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Chopped avocado, tossed with 1 teaspoons of the lime juice
  • Sour cream or crema

In the basic hummus recipe, replace the lemon juice with lime juice. Before adding the olive oil to the hummus, blend in the chipotle pepper and sauce, cilantro leaves, and cumin. Process until blended. Stream in the olive oil as directed in the original recipe.

Place the hummus in a serving bowl; top with the chopped avocado and sour cream or crema. Serve with tortilla chips.


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