Hummus and its many uses

Hummus and avocado toasts

Summer is here! I am quite pleased. Go jump in the ocean if you haven’t yet.

(Sorry for the avocado toast taking up half that picture. Also delicious though, btw.)

As summer is road trip and picnic season, I thought I’d share with you the classic vegetarian staple, hummus, which is perfect for both activities. Note that the sort you eat has two m’s. The other is great and important to food too, but somewhat less appetizing: humus is dark, organic material that forms in soil when plant and animal matter decays, according to National Geographic. Very important for nurturing the soil, but perhaps less delicious than its name cousin.

I would like to share this video with you all, as it encapsulates a few excellent points written by Nathanael Johnson at Grist over the past couple months. If it doesn’t embed properly here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtFU2_RydcQ

Feeding the world and ending poverty, you know, no biggy.

I’ve discussed this at some length already, because it is often in the news and I am fascinated, but how much do you think technology will help? We discover scientific advances that can help improve the lot of humans everywhere (yes, even controversial developments like GMOs have their uses), although at times science itself can be biased, either from publishing primarily positive results or from industry influence (read: $). I suspect that food will go the way of other tech, with the largest innovations in the knowledge sphere—sensors learning the quality of individual patches of soil, translating that to a nutrient mechanism that can feed and water plants, and an integrated system that indicates when crops are ready and can go straight to consumer’s demanding them. Random cool ideas like underwater farms are possible too. And we might see some new appliances in the kitchen—technology in the kitchen hasn’t really been updated since the microwave, but we are beginning to see computers that create recipes for us, and robotic prep workers. I doubt that the human element will entirely disappear from the kitchen, since we add that creative je-ne-sais-quoi element, but as tech gets smarter you never know.

You do need a bit of tech for making hummus—a food processor—but the human element remains essential at least for determining taste preferences, like how much lemon to add. Fortunately if you add too much of one thing at the beginning you can always supplement with more of the other ingredients, and can prepare as much as hummus you like. It keeps well and while does better refrigerated, can survive a long trip without being kept very cold. Do make sure to put it in a good container though—especially if you put oil on the top, spillage is less than fun to clean up.

Also, don’t feel limited to using chickpeas! Other beans make fabulous dips and can vary the flavor and texture if you get bored with classic hummus. More on that below.

Basic Hummus
2 cups chickpeas, or other bean (I prefer cooking my own but a can works too), with a little of the the juice
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini
Juice from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
Cumin (or other seasonings)
Salt and pepper
Other seasonings (optional; see below)

Put everything in a blender and whir away. Taste and adjust seasoning, especially lemon. You can make it as smooth as you like—I can never seem to get mine to quite the consistency of store-bought hummus, but I’m not sure I’d like to anyway. Add water as necessary to help it blend.

If serving as a dip, I recommend putting a drizzle of olive oil on top and a little paprika for color.

Now the fun part: extras to blend in! This can be almost anything you want. Some suggestions:
-Lots of smoked paprika
-Sundried tomatoes
-Green garlic or garlic scapes
-Roasted garlic
-Roasted beets
-Roasted anything really (nuts, veggies, fruit??)
-Pesto
-Spinach or kale
-Artichokes
-Extra lemon
-Olives
-Go crazy! Tell me your best ones!

Like anything, play around to find out what you like. Start with your favorite kinds of flavors and go from there. Experiment with different beans too—I had an excellent black bean green garlic dip the other day that I aspire to recreate in the near future—probably will skip the tahini and add extra cumin.

Roasted beet hummus sandwich

The other fun part: how to eat it! The classic use is a dip for fresh veggies (carrots, celery, salad turnips, radishes, what have you) and pita chips. I also love it on toast, drizzled with a little extra olive oil (the fancy stuff if you have it) and some smoked paprika. Throw on a couple roasted beets if you like and take it to work as a sandwich. Also good in a wrap with a bunch of veggies (lettuce, tomato, avocado, sprouts, julienned kohlrabi, carrots, radishes, turnips, don’t forget the salt…).

One of my favorites is eating hummus with salad. Put a big dollop on the side of your plate and dip your fork into the hummus before every bite. Adds protein and delicious creaminess but keeps the indispensable quality that salad performs so well of feeling good after you eat it. Excellent with a good vinegar-y balsamic dressing.

Roasted eggplant salad with hummus
Roasted eggplant green salad with gorgonzola balsamic and hummus

Happy eating!

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One thought on “Hummus and its many uses

  1. Looks delicious, Shannon. I love hummus! And remember, even though you and I don’t prefer it, our buddies the worms adore humus!

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