It’s easy to skip meals or to make ‘quick fix’ choices about food when there’s so much going on in our lives, but ultimately we all function better when we eat regularly and choose healthier options.
How can we make time for it all and still enjoy some variety? The humble hummus is one of the secrets I’m going to share with you today.
Starting with the basics
This is a great recipe for a super quick snack, which can easily be modified to add to salads, sandwiches or a mezze platter to share with friends – whatever fits into your day!
2 cups canned chickpeas
3 tbsps tahini paste (store bought)
Juice 1 large lemon
3 cloves crushed garlic
Large pinch of salt
½ tsp ground cumin
A few tbsps water
Add the tahini paste and lemon juice to a blender or food processor and blend for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas and blend until smooth. Add the garlic and olive oil and blend, adding a little water until the mixture is the consistency you prefer. Add salt to taste. Don’t forget to scrape around the blender to catch any lumps (make sure the power is switched off while you do that!).
Serve in a dish, topped with a little paprika and a little glug of good quality olive oil.
Bring on the changes
This amazing homemade hummus is great to eat as it is with crudites for lunch or a snack whilst catching up with friends over a glass of wine (and they will definitely be impressed that you’ve made your own dip). But too much of even a good thing can become a little boring, so here are some of my favorite additions to the basic recipe.
Beets are a great superfood. They contain betaine which relaxes the mind and trytophan (also in chocolate) which contributes to a sense of well being, and they also taste good.
Take of the leafy tops of 2 or 3 beets (small to medium size) and wrap in aluminum foil. Pop into a moderately heated oven for an hour to 90 minutes (depending on size) until a sharp knife slips easily into the centre of the beet. When cool enough to handle, take off the skins (these should come away easily) and process until smooth. Stir into your basic hummus recipe for a stunning purple colored dip which teams well with broiled goats cheese and salad for a lunchtime treat.
Bring on the sun
It’s the easiest thing in the world to slice up a few pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes and lay the slices onto cookie trays in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt (to taste). Add a little oregano and bake them in the oven at 200F for 3 to 4 hours. Place in a sterilized Mason jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil, they’ll keep indefinitely and are great as a topping for your hummus, in salads or any other recipe.
Ok, so they aren’t exactly ‘sun’ dried, but I think they taste great!
Just add vegetables
Chargrilled roasted vegetables in a sandwich or a salad with hummus is so quick and easy.
Take a thick sliced red onion, some chunks of bell pepper (whichever color makes you happy), slices of courgette and eggplant, maybe some sliced sweet potato and washed baby leeks. Drizzle with olive oil, season to taste and grill on the bbq, or pop onto a ridged griddle pan on the hob.
Roast/griddle until nicely charred (but not burnt), turning frequently. If the peppers are too charred, simply rub off the skins, taking the charred bits with it.
Add as a topping to your hummus or sandwich the hummus and vegetables in a toasted ciabatta roll. Sooo delicious.
Basil and pine nuts
I just love the fresh smell of basil, such a versatile herb that brings out the sweet flavor of tomatoes and is a basic ingredient of much italian cooking.
To save on time, you can buy really good green (basil) pesto from the supermarket or from the deli if you have one nearby and stir into your hummus (a couple of tablespoons is about right, but whatever suits your taste). Top with a handful of toasted pine nuts and a squeeze of lemon to lift those continental flavors.
My final suggestion to bring on the changes to your basic recipe is to bbq or broil some sweetcorn cobs until cooked and a little charred. Once cool, take off those yellow kernels with a sharp knife and blend with a tablespoon of softened cream cheese and ¼ cup of half and half heavy cream. You can blend until smooth or leave a little chunky for texture. Either top your hummus or stir in, it’s up to you.
I hope you have fun with these recipes and tips, and do remember to share your own ideas and photos with me on Instagram.