News from the Test Kitchen: Hummus

I am trying to cut sugar out of my diet. After cutting alcohol out of my diet less than a year ago, this strikes me as cruel. But I also want to make significant health changes, so this is part of the bargain. I’m told there will be a payoff down the line. Hmmnph. Better be, is all I can say, like six-pack abs… that would be nice.

Anyway, I’m also trying to cut out any (all) processed foods. That part is hard for me because I’m addicted to potato chips. And not just the plain ones, but the ones with all of the chemically produced flavors. In fact the more flavored the better. Boy does this all suck. As I write about it, I get even more bummed out.

So, I have been trying to come up with a snack that is healthy and guilt-free. I thought about how much I love humus. Recently when we shopped in a well-known grocery store chain I reached for the hummus to study the ingredients. There’s that pesky soybean oil again! After much research we decided to try our hand at homemade hummus. Turns out that our version is incredibly tasty (I think I actually  like it better than the store-bought variety), and we think it is way more healthy. We didn’t have tahini, but we discovered that tahini is basically sesame seeds and sesame oil formed together to make a paste. My hubby said it’s like making peanut butter.

This is so good dipped in sliced vegetables and apples that I have finally found my substitute for my unhealthy, overly processed potato chips. Last night snacking vegetables dipped in humus I actually enjoyed it! Almost as much as sugar… almost, almost as much potato chips!

Of course, the hubby made this, not me. So here’s his recipe. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz of garbanzo beans (dried or canned… I prefer dried, which means soak them ahead of time).
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (reserve the second at the end for taste).
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sesame or sunflower oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (reserve last one at end for desired consistency)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, more at the end for dusting

Directions:

  1. If using dried beans soak them overnight and then cook them enough to warm through. Reserve their water. Rinse to cool.
  2. If using a can, reserve liquid, toss into a pan and warm through, about six to eight minutes. Rinse in cold water to cool.
  3. Peel the husks. There’s a lot of talk about this on the Internet chatter. Frankly, it’s not that hard to peel them. you just slide them off.

IMG_20140304_152333

I wonder about this extra step. I wonder if grandmother’s seventy years ago bothered with it. I also wonder if I’m depriving the eventual finished product of added fiber and nutrients. I’ll look into these but for now I peel them because we wanted the smooth texture.

4. Set the beans aside. Chop the seeds with a cleaver along with the garlic to give it all a good mashing. Add to the food processor (or blender).

5. Add the sunflower or sesame oil, spices and lemon to the mash and whirl it.

6. Add the beans and blend for a minute. Add in the olive oil and a tablespoon of the reserved liquid. Blend for 30 seconds, check taste and texture. Add more reserved liquid and blend another 30 seconds. Repeat as needed until it is very smooth and cohesive.

7. Transfer to a container and refrigerate.

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