One thing I always have in my pantry: chickpeas. One thing I always have in my refrigerator: tahini. Why? Because hummus is my go-to staple, no matter if I need a last-minute appetizer, a dish to take to a party, or a quick dinner. You just can’t go wrong with hummus. (I omitted garlic and lemon from my pantry/fridge list because those are two ingredients I have on hand no matter what – don’t need to remember to stock those indispensable items!)
Aside from gorgeous flavor and surprising heartiness, another key attraction of hummus is its readiness to be customized. You can blend in anything from herbs to cooked veggies and other beans/legumes. (How about blending in some cooked lentils and white kidney beans for a three-bean dip?) You can also spice hummus to suit your taste buds: add a dash of cayenne if you’re a fan of hot & spicy, add chili powder for a south-of-the-border tinge to your Mediterranean vibe, or sprinkle on some sumac for authentic tang and color.
For this batch, I decided to throw in the bunch of cilantro I had in my fridge that I needed to use. Not only did the hummus turn out to be a beautiful color, the cilantro suited the chickpeas (and everything else) perfectly. I think all my hummuses might be green from now on!
1 sizeable bunch cilantro
15 oz. can of chickpeas (Eden is my favorite), drained but liquid reserved
4 cloves garlic, chopped and sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil for 4 minutes over medium-low heat or until garlic is fragrant and softened
Juice of 1/4 to 1/2 lemon (some lemons yield a lot more juice than others!)
1 T. tahini
1/2 to 1 tsp. cumin (I love cumin, so I use a hearty teaspoon)
Rinse the cilantro very well – dirt loves to nestle into those edged frilly leaves! – and cut off the bunch right above where the stems are tied together, going a bit higher if the bottom leaves are yellowed. You want the nice fresh green stuff. Put the cilantro tops (stems and all) into a food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Process until somewhat smooth, then pour in a bit of the reserved bean liquid and process again. Add more liquid if necessary, tasting the hummus as soon as it gets fairly smooth to see if you want to add a bit more lemon juice.
You could take this same idea and make your hummus with basil rather than cilantro, or you could even throw in some mint for a change of pace. Herbs + hummus = delicious!
Serve immediately with crackers, chips, flatbread, veggies, pasta, chicken, lamb…you name it. Or you can keep the hummus in the refrigerator for up to a week to enjoy as a quick snack or easy meal.
Courtesy ofÂ Cultured Cook.
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