I first tried hummus in 1995 during an Outward Bound Leadership program. There were 12 of us from various parts of the U.S. who spent five days sailing (should I say rowing) a 26-foot wooden boat, hopping from island to island in the Puget Sound in Washington state and learning about team building, management and leadership. One of our food staples was hummus, which we made daily from some sort of pre-packaged powder and water. After spending hours upon hours, rowing and rowing, the powdered hummus was amazingly good for what it was, maybe because we had worked up our appetites.
Since that adventure I quickly learned that you can make hummus with fresh ingredients – no powder in sight – and have been making several different versions of it ever since. My favorite is this roasted red pepper hummus that is great as a dip or a spread. And not only does it taste wonderful, but it is low in fat and good for you.
- 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas or garbanzo beans
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
- 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves (you may want to start with two cloves, depending on your love of garlic)
- 1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika (I purchased mine at Savory Spice Shop)
- Kosher salt to taste
Remove the seeds and membrane of a red bell pepper, cut it into quarters, and roast on a grill or under a broiler until it is charred on both sides. Seal it in a sandwich baggie for 15-20 minutes. Take away the charred part from the pepper (I do this under cold running water.)
In a food processor add the chickpeas, roasted red pepper, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil and paprika.
Blend until the mixture is smooth – the longer you blend, the creamier it will be. Add the salt in small pinches – it shouldn’t need much. Now is the time to add that third garlic clove if needed.
You can serve this as a dip accompanied with toasted pita points and fresh veggies such as celery and carrots. My favorite pita bread is the sesame seed from Neomonde Baking Company in Raleigh – this stuff is sooooo good.
I also like to use this hummus as a spread for a wonderful pita sandwich I make with tabouli and chickpea salad, both from Neomonde as well.
This keeps well in the refrigerator for a few weeks, that is if you have any left after that long.
Eat, drink and be merry!