Hummus has taken the world by storm but there was a time in recent memory when it wasn't as popular as it is today. Nowadays, I know many people, in particular European friends, who would not turn down the offer to snack away at a big tub of the stuff. Can anyone blame them? The combination of chickpeas and tahini makes for a great meze. While these two ingredients are the foundation of a classic hummus, there are so many creative variations that offer different flavors.
Before we delve into the recipes, have you ever stopped wonder what hummus actually means? Well, in Arabic the word literally translates to chickpeas – a topic taken very seriously in the Middle East. One of the biggest points of contention surrounding the controversial chickpea is whether or not the legume should be peeled before blending.
Before diving into some delicious alternative versions, let’s nail the classic. I like to soak and cook chickpeas ahead of time and then throw them in the freezer to make life easier. Hummus is already a very easy dish to make but prepping the chickpeas ahead of time saves even more time and hassle.
Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend well into it forms a smooth paste. Pour the mixture into a pan and bring it to a boil for a minute on the stove. Portion the hummus onto the plates or bowls, or whatever you want to serve them on. Melt the butter with the seasoning and drizzle that over the hummus. Add a few whole cooked chickpeas on top for some extra texture and decoration. Serve warm.
You can skip the sauce entirely or choose to add just a little bit. I personally prefer to drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top, sprinkle a dash of seasoning and call it a day.
If a classic beige hummus won't suffice, this red/pink-colored beetroot variation is sure to liven up your table and be a real people-pleaser. If you happen to have a beetroot handy, it offers a nice sweetness that balances the salty tahini.
Peel the beetroot and cut it into small cubes. Put the cubes onto a piece of baking paper and enclose it in the paper. Bake this for about 20-30 minutes at about 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) until the beet has softened completely. This will vary depending on how big you have cut them. Blend the beets with the cooked chickpeas until it turns into a smooth paste. Add the smaller ingredients and seasoning and blend again. Then all you need to do is put them on serving plates and enjoy!
Don't be afraid to drizzle some olive oil on top after. You can also add a pinch of sugar to the mix to make it more interesting.
After a sweeter, pinky version, you might also appreciate this combination that incorporates another trendy ingredient: avocado. It only makes sense to use this creamy fruit when creating the smooth consistency we want in hummus. Plus, it is an alternative to tahini for those who aren't a fan or just need to use an avocado lying around.
Blend the chickpeas, avocado and garlic and gradually add the lemon juice and olive oil to ensure a smooth mixture. Continue blending until it has turned thick and creamy.
To enhance the green color of this hummus you can add a handful of spinach. It adds both color and more nutrition to the mix. If your avocado is on the smaller side, you can still add a tablespoon or two of tahini to get a buttery texture and add more flavor. Play around with the ratio of the seasoning to suit your tastes.
Who says that hummus needs to be savory? A rather new trend is to turn this meze into a dessert with a kick. Considering that chili peppers pair well with dark chocolate, it was only a matter of time until someone came with the idea to combine chickpeas with some cocoa!
Add all the ingredients into the food processor and blend them until smooth. Do a taste test to see if the sweetness is sufficient and add more honey if necessary. The same goes for consistency. If the mixture is very lumpy, add a few tablespoons more water until the consistency is just right. This hummus can serve as your homemade version of Nutella in a way!
If you want to get even more unorthodox, combine the tahini with some peanut butter. You can also add toppings for more texture after you have blended the main ingredients. Chocolate chips or sesame seeds can make for a great addition.
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