The Hummus Experiment

August 26th, 2012

This past summer has been a lot of fun for hubby and myself.  We’ve been able to house several visitors, who arrive pretty much every other week!  The only problem with this:  as the summer wore on, my healthy eating choices went a bit downhill.  It’s just so much easier to eat out or grab pre-made food for a crowd…which are usually higher in fat and calories.

We started out the summer with a visit from my good college friend, who flew up from Georgia.  Food choices included:  Cheese steaks, chicken sandwiches, and pizza…all ordered out.

Then came the in-laws…and while we prepared a healthy meal of grilled marinated chicken, corn on the cob, and homemade potato salad (with lowfat mayo), it was soon marred by birthday ice cream cake and gourmet donuts from an Amish market.

High school friends visit round 1 was fun because we made our own beef kebabs with onions, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, and mushrooms (should’ve taken pics of that!).  It also included pounds of pasta and potato salad from the grocery store, potato chips  and dip, and a whole bag of marshmallows roasted and gone (to my credit, I also had a veggie tray out).

So, when another high school friend and her fiance came to visit 2 weeks later, I was determined to find something healthy for us to snack on.  I’d also promised another chickpea recipe earlier on in the summer.  Enter: the hummus experiment.

Now, I’m by no means a huge hummus consumer, but I’ve always enjoyed it when it’s passed my way at various events and gatherings.  And with a bag of chickpeas in my cupboard calling out to be boiled, I decided to go ahead and make it completely from scratch.

My hummus was based on this online recipe: http://mideastfood.about.com/od/hummusrecipes/r/redpepper.htm

Website ingredients:

  • 1 can (16oz -19oz) of chickpeas (I boiled my own dry – see below)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini  (I didn’t have this on hand–so I just added a bit of extra olive oil)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons water

Step 1:  Boil chickpeas to death. (I did this the night before)

I realize you can easily buy cans of chickpeas at the store, and if I ever make this on a regular basis, I would definitely start buying it to save time and improve the texture of the hummus.  However, sometimes it’s fun to put in the extra effort. I used a little under 1 cup of dry chickpeas.  I wasn’t sure how much water to use, so initially I filled up the pot until the water was about 1 inch above the chickpeas.   However, this turned out to not be enough (These things absorb an incredible amount of water!), so I just continued to add hot water as needed.

After bringing the water to a boil and holding for about 2 minutes, I turned down the heat and allowed the chickpeas to simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  When done, they should be soft and easy break down.

Simmering chickpeas
Action shot!

Step 2:  Combining all ingredients.

Chop up the red pepper into small cubes, and mince the garlic as finely as you can.  Add these, as well as the rest of the ingredients, to the chickpeas in either a food processer or a blender.

I used a food processor

Step 3:  Blend until smooth.  This took me less than 10 minutes on various speeds.

I almost forgot to mention, I also bought pita bread to serve with the hummus. I cut each one up into triangle shaped pieces, sprinkled with salt, and toasted (medium setting).  Below is the finished result! (Note: if you are not eating this right away, be sure to refrigerate.)

Red Pepper Hummus

Happy eating, and enjoy what’s left of the summer! 🙂

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