Sunday, March 1, 2009

Creamy Hummus

I'm a huge fan of hummus and I used to buy it weekly when I first discovered it a couple of years back. After tasting many different brands, I could never find a hummus that had all of the flavors I was looking for, so I decided to make my own. Since then, I have based my homemade hummus off of Cooking Light's Creamy Hummus recipe.

I used to use canned chickpeas, but since I've finally been able to locate dried chickpeas, I decided to attempt my first truly homemade hummus (well, truly homemade if you don't count the fact that I don't make my own tahini, nor do I harvest any of the ingredients, but I digress ... ;) )

Since we've transitioned to all dried beans because they are cheaper and healthier, I've been doing a lot of research on the rehydrating and cooking of dried beans. My research revealed that the quick soaks we had been doing -- bringing the beans to a boil in water and then turning off the heat and leaving the beans sit for 2 to 3 hours to reduce the soak time -- actually causes the beans to lose more nutrients. So I've eliminated the quick soak and replaced it with a long soak that requires the beans to be placed in a pan full of water for 10 to 12 hours with no heat used. While this method takes a little more planning, it's definitely more beneficial in the long run.

In the cooking realm of my research, I've learned that there are more cooking options for beans than boiling. Instead, I decided to try to steam the chick peas, and luckily it produced perfectly cooked chick peas after about an hour.

Although the bean preparation can be time consuming, hummus is a quick and easy snack to throw together. All it takes is a good food processor with a pulse button.

While there are hundreds of varieties of flavored hummus available, I will admit that I am a bit of a purest. All I require is the right amount of lemon juice, garlic, cumin and tahini and the recipe above provides the perfect jumping-off point. But it's very important to flavor it according to your taste as the recipe above has provided very garlicky hummus when followed precisely.

BTW, for those counting points on WW, this recipes works out to be about 1 point per tablespoon. And with the olive oil, it can also count toward your healthy oils, something I tend to not get enough of!

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