Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cilantro Hummus

I make hummus every time I'm feeling healthy, since chickpeas are on the list of super foods. I make hummus every time I wish I were vacationing at the Mediterranean, since Greece is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I make hummus every time I need an excuse to eat pita chips, because they are so bad and I need something good to redeem them.

If you have only had the stuff from the store in little containers with a wanna-be Greek-sounding label slapped on it, you have not had real hummus. It calls itself hummus, but it is an impersonator.

The first time I made hummus, I reached a conclusion: hummus must be homemade. The end.

I also discovered that I like flavored hummus because when it comes to hummus, plain = boring.

Never knew hummus had so many rules, did you? Me neither (or is it me either? I'll have to Google that.). Until I started writing aboout it. Then I couldn't stop. Thinking up Hummus Rules, that is. Or writing.

This Cilantro Hummus is my number one favorite flavor. It's spicy, it's cilantro-y (I'm obsessed with cilantro), lime-juicy (I'm also obsessed with limes) and it's such a good snack with veggies. And those bad pita chips. If you don't like cilantro, you're totally missing out...but you can make one of the other variations at the bottom of this post and I will try to forgive you.

Hummus is a very simple thing and a very healthy thing. As I already mentioned, chickpeas, which are also called garbanzo beans (and I have no idea why they have two names that sound nothing alike) are a super food. They have fiber and protein and other things that do good things for you. We would all be healthier if we ate them every day.

Another key ingredient in hummus is tahini. Tahini is to sesame seeds what peanut butter is to peanuts. I think I said that right. Tahini is a paste made from ground up sesame seeds. There. You can buy it in the regular grocery store, usually on the international/ethnic food aisle or I've also seen it with the peanut butter. If you don't already have it in your pantry, you should be able to find it relatively easily.

So put everything into the food processor and pulse, pulse, pulse. No need to rinse the chickpeas or even drain them all that well. A tablespoon or two of liquid with the beans is just fine. I am usually a big fan of draining and rinsing canned beans because they come packed in a goopy liquid. I make an exception to my drain-and-rinse rule for hummus: it just isn't necessary.

You don't want this to be pureed. Unless, that is, you are my dear friend Bethany, who just so happens to like her hummus pureed. In that case, puree away.

But my preference is to leave it coarse like this:

I like to store it in my favorite tupperware I got from Cassandra's Kitchen. I got the tupperware for Christmas. I love it. It makes me feel like the Barefoot Contessa, minus the multi-million dollar mansion in East Hampton and a husband named Jeffrey. Is it strange to ask for tupperware for Christmas? I think it might be. And I think I will ask for more tupperware this Christmas.

Make this soon. You'll be glad you did. Feed it to your children. It will give them garlic breath. And you will be happy that they're eating something healthy.

Cilantro Hummus1 15.5 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), mostly drained
4 cloves garlic
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste usually found on the international aisle or sometimes with the peanut butter)
1/2 cup lime juice (squeeze it yourself from actual limes)
1 bunch cilantro leaves (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
3/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Put all ingredients into the food processor. Pulse until combined but still coarse. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil or some extra lime juice.

Serve with cucumbers, baby carrots, red bell peppers, and pita chips. You can also use this as a spread in pita bread and fill with fresh raw veggies and feta cheese. Yum.

*In case you do like plain hummus, leave out the cilantro leaves and trade the lime juice for lemon juice. Then you have a basic hummus recipe!

*For Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, trade the cilantro for roasted red peppers (1 small jar, drained, or 1 whole red bell pepper that you roasted and peeled yourself) and substitute the lime juice for lemon juice. This is my second-favorite variation next to Cilantro Hummus.


BWF said...

Now who wouldn't love to be mentioned in Pithy's Kitchen blog??? I mean seriously!!!

And I do love my hummus creamy; much unlike my PB which I like chunky.

I went to the grocery this week & got my chickpeas only to find out, once I was home, that I had grabbed one organic can of chicpeas & one organic can of kidney beans. :(

BWF said...


Elizabeth said...

Ha ha! You are funny.

Oh, bummer about the beans...I hate it when that happens. Meant to buy black beans the other day and came home with refried black beans instead! Planning on feeding them to the girls... :)