I’ve recently discovered and become enamored with a number of food blogs in my search for healthy, homemade snacks and meals for my family. Food blogs are an excellent source for information and great recipes. And there are some really talented cooks/ photographers out there – so much so that I may just have to drool-proof my keyboard. Needless to say, I have something to aspire to.
In my search for a homemade hummus recipe, I stumbled upon Pinch My Salt, a beautiful food blog that is now on my short list. Nicole’s roasted red pepper hummus recipe, which I adapted, earned rave reviews amongst everyone in my house, including my littlest one!
If you’ve never tried or heard of hummus, it’s a Middle Eastern dish – a spread whose key ingredients are chickpeas and tahini. Chickpeas, often referred to as garbanzo beans (its Spanish name), are surprisingly good for you. They are an excellent source of molybdenum, an essential trace element in human nutrition that helps rid the body of sulfites. Chickpeas are high in fiber and thus can help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels. They are also a good source of folic acid, manganese, protein, and minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium. AND they contain no saturated fats. Tahini, on the other hand, is a sesame seed paste which when combined with chickpeas provides all 8 essential amino acids – amino acids that our bodies cannot produce naturally and must be acquired through diet. Add the health benefits of red bell peppers, and this hummus makes a powerful snack!
Now, not long after I gave this recipe a go, an episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats aired starring chickpeas. One suggestion he made was for a truly creamy hummus, you should start with dried chickpeas and a long soak; however, he suggested shortcutting the process by cooking them on low in the slow cooker overnight. Doing so is supposed to soften the outer skin and hydrate and cook the starches inside resulting in a much softer interior than you might find in the canned goods aisle of your grocery store (oh yeah, and no BPA from the can lining either). Unfortunately for me, after over 10 hours in the slow cooker my beans were still dry and hard on the interior. So I did a little research, and from what I can tell soaking beans is really a process of trial and error. What works for some may not work for others, one factor being the hardness of one’s water. So I defaulted back to the traditional soak and found the following approach produced a much more desirable chickpea with a soft, creamy interior.
Preparing Dried Chickpeas
Rinse dried chickpeas until the water runs transparent, and then soak for at least 24 hours in a bowl filled with filtered tap water. Ensure that the water level is a few inches above the beans as they will expand, and just cover the bowl with a towel. Drain the water. Bring a pot of fresh water on the stove to a boil, and then bring it down to a simmer. Add the beans, and cook at a low, steady simmer for at least 40 minutes, but I’ve gotten the best results with 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Just test along the way, and let your mouth determine when they’re done.
I found that 1 pound of dried beans resulted in roughly 35-40 oz cooked beans.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
15 oz. cooked chickpeas
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded*
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tahini
Juice of 1 lemon, about 3 tablespoons
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sriracha**
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
*Earlier today, I published a post on roasting your own red peppers at home. Take a look!
**Sriracha is a red Thai chili sauce that can be found in most grocery stores; however, look for brands that do not contain preservatives.
If you want to spice your hummus up a little bit, I found that more sriracha didn’t quite give the kick I was looking for, so I added a little more than a teaspoon of adobo sauce after reserving half of the hummus for the kids, and the chipotle flavor nicely complemented the roasted red pepper for a good spicy flavor to please the hubby.
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Yup, that’s it! So easy a child could do it.
Serve it up with some warm whole wheat pita bread or toasted pita chips (something else I intend to experiment with making at home), and enjoy!
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