Monday, April 23, 2012

Roasted Garlic Hummus

I love hummus. Really anything this versatile with golden roasted garlic, protein and fiber that I can eat with a spoon, veggies or on wraps and sandwiches is a magical ingredient in my opinion. Put it on fish, chicken or toasted bread! Use it in sandwiches instead of mayo- it would go spiffily with bean sprouts, turkey and spinach. Schmear it on a wrap filled with chicken, lettuce, black beans and cucumbers. Dollop it on a salad with tomatoes, carrots, celery and radishes. The possibilities are ENDLESS!

I should be a spokesperson for hummus. I'll be the Vannah White of hummus- pointing to different dishes in which hummus can be used. That would be the best job, as long as I could get paid in hummus.

I might be exaggerating, but only slightly.

The hummus sold here in the military grocery stores is awful. Previously frozen, only in flavors of roasted red pepper and plain, it's just boring. So, shortly after arriving to Okinawa and immediately feeling the deficit of variety and fresh food, I decided to make my own.

I was impressed at how easy it ended up being. A lot of the recipes I started out with called for almost 1/3 cup olive oil, which I thought was way too much and definitely defeated the purpose of a healthier snack dip. Over the months, I formulated my own recipe, using NO OLIVE OIL at all, and to me it actually tastes better- lighter. It's not pasty, which one of my friends said was a turn-off for her, "it tastes like poi," she said. My recipe is smooth and creamy- not at all poi-ish. It's also not too thick, which means it's not overwhelming.

Like it's many uses, the flavor possibilities for hummus is also endless. Right now my favorite is roasted garlic, but on my to do list to try includes: pesto, tomato basil, sun-dried tomato, spinach, cilantro/lemon, black bean, chipotle/cilantro, sweet potato, toasted pine nut, and zucchini. Any of those listed could easily take the front runner spot for favorite flavor of the month. Garbanzo beans are like a blank canvas- you can basically do what you want with it, which just makes hummus that much cooler.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

a Butter Than Toast original

1 can garbanzo beans, drained with liquid reserved
3-4 cloves garlic, skinned
3 heaping tablespoons tahini
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
heavy pinch of kosher salt (to taste)
red pepper flakes for garnish

Heat oven to 375ยบ. Roast as much garlic as your taste buds prefer in the oven until the cloves are a caramel color (about 45-60 min, depending on your oven). Toss them in a food processor with the drained beans and turn processor on. Drizzle in tahini, paprika, pepper and lemon- combine well, scraping down the sides occasionally. Taste, add salt if you want some, and add a tablespoon or two of the reserved can liquid to thin the mixture to your liking. Transfer to a bowl or storage container, and resist the urge to delve in immediately and let the hummus chill for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and chow down!

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