I love hummus. This healthy Middle Eastern dip is so versatile, delicious and such a good source of plant protein, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients! Its main ingredient, chickpeas - also known as garbanzo beans -, are nutrition powerhouses. According to Megan Ware, RDN, LD from Medical News Today, "Chickpeas contain vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, choline, and selenium. Besides being an excellent vegan and gluten-free source of protein and fiber, chickpeas also contain exceptional levels of iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium."
As tempting as it is to grab prepackaged hummus at your grocery store or deli, I think everyone should learn how to make their own at home, from scratch. The flavor and ease of preparation is unbelievable! You won't go back to buying pre-made. The basics of it is just blending together chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste) and lemon juice, that's it!
Plan ahead if you are using dried chickpeas as you will need to soak the dry beans for a few hours or overnight before cooking. A cup dried will yield about 2-3 cups of cooked beans. I like to add a teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water, then draining and rinsing well before cooking until very tender. If using canned beans, make sure you rinse them really well. Also, look for BPA-free cans and use organic beans if possible.
Make sure you save the cooking liquid (or canned liquid if BPA-free and organic), as you will need it for the hummus recipe. And here is a little secret - this golden liquid can also be used as a substitute for egg whites to make vegan meringues, mayonnaise, granola and mousses like this Vegan Cholocate Mousse.
Classic Hummus Bi-Tahini (yields 2 cups)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Add the cooking water (or regular filtered water) as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can also let it rest for about 20 minutes so the flavors can blend and develop a richer, more complex flavor profile before seasoning again.
For a more rustic texture, you can mash the chickpeas using a mortar and pestle and gently add the other ingredients one by one.
Reserve a cup of this mixture inside the food processor if making the variations below. If ready to eat as is, transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the chosen topping(s), if using. Serve with warm pita bread and raw vegetables.
Cut beets in quarters and arrange them inside a piece of aluminum foil, closing the ends to make a small package. Roast at 400-425 F degrees for 30-40 minutes or until tender (pierce with a fork or the tip of a knife to test for softness) and allow it to cool until safe to handle. Keep the nutritious peel on or remove it if using non-organic beets.
Go back to your reserved regular hummus in your food processor and add a few beet cubes at a time. Pulse until well chopped and throughly mixed. Adjust seasonings and taste for flavor. Add more beets if needed (the more, the brighter the pink!.)
Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil and add toppings, if using. Serve with warm pita bread and raw vegetables. Beets are high in flavonoids (known as 'nature's biological response modifiers'), cleanse the blood, are beneficial to eye health and nourish the liver. Enjoy your fun and healthy pink hummus!
Bring a cup of the basic hummus back to the food processor and add the cilantro, half of the jalapeño and coriander. Pulse until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, coriander and jalapeño if desired.
Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil and add toppings, if using. Serve with warm pita bread and raw vegetables. Cilantro aids digestion and calms the immune system. It also lends a fresh and cooling taste to this hummus, while the jalapaño adds a bit of spice and pungency.