Monday, August 8, 2011

Hummus! (and some serving ideas)

At some point, turkey sandwiches (in all their various incarnations) become a bit dull for lunch.  We typically switch sandwiches out for Lean Cuisine meals every couple of weeks, but this gets expensive pretty quickly, and a lot of times you never really feel full after those pre-packaged diet meals.  With fresh veggies (peppers, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc) in season, we thought we'd do veggie sandwiches for a week or so, but you can't have a proper veggie sandwich without a great hummus.  Below is our favorite (and now standard) recipe.  Thanks to Josh N. for the basic recipe; we've since tweaked it, made some additions and a few changes, and have decided that this recipe is just about perfect for us.  For four servings...

  • 1 (16oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 TBSP crushed garlic
  • 3 TBSP lemon juice (the stuff from the plastic lemons is just fine)
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 TBSP tahini
  • 1/2 tsp. za'atar spice mix (available at Middle Eastern/Mediterranean markets, or here)
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Blend all ingredients in a food processor to desired consistency.  We prefer it pureed, but even so, this recipe makes a somewhat 'drier' hummus than some prefer.  You can experiment to find the consistency you like best.  The flavors are good fresh, but after a day in the refrigerator, the flavors meld and gain a lot of depth.  Unfortunately, hummus is one of those things that just doesn't look anywhere nearly as good as it tastes. 

This is, for us, one of the quintessential comfort foods (and it's healthy!)  You can do a lot with it, but here are a few of our favorites. 

  • Slap it on some light wheat bread with a slice of pepper-jack cheese
  • Serve on a plate with warm pita bread for dipping (sliced baguette, brushed lightly with olive oil and lightly toasted is also excellent)
  • Or, serve it on light wheat bread as a sandwich with some (or all!) of the veggies below.

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