Hummus is delicious – but the lovely subtle chickpea lends itself to all sorts of flavor combinations. Nothing could be easier than to whip up a chickpea dip, and it’s a wonderful recipe to have on hand to feed unexpected guests. In the summer, when it’s too hot to cook, or after work, when you just don’t have the time or energy to cook, this makes a nice dinner with some good bread and a good salad. Hummus, french fries and red wine is actually a favorite meal of ours! Store-bought hummus is surprisingly expensive. But a can of chickpeas is very cheap, and dried chickpeas are even cheaper. I tend to use canned – I do for most beans. I like to cook them from dried, but I don’t always decide what I’m going to make early enough to provide for soaking & cooking time. I’ve found that the secret ingredient to making a hummus with a light pleasant consistency is … water! A little bit of water added at the end and blended in really pulls everything together in a surprising way. Yup.
Here’s Hank Mobley’s The Dip, to listen to while you decide what to add to your chickpeas.
A basic recipe for hummus involves chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, tahini & lemon. Smash it all up in a blender or food processor, adjusting ingredients to suit your taste. I almost always toast my garlic first – I use the toaster oven, but you could use a regular oven. Toss the whole clove in there, skin and all, but pierce the skin so it doesn’t explode. Cook until the skin is brown and papery and the garlic is soft and fragrant. And always finish with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.
Here are some variations I like to try…
* Chickpeas, herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, or whatever you like), toasted garlic, smoked paprika, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
* Chickpeas, olive oil toasted garlic & chermoula spice – cumin, smoked paprika, lots of cilantro & lemon juice.
* Chickpea tapenade – chickpeas with black olives, olive oil, balsamic, thyme & rosemary
* Chickpeas, olive oil, tarragon, parsley & lemon juice
* Chickpeas, olive oil, toasted garlic, lemon juice & a tasty spice mix…garam masala, ethiopian berbere spice, or Moroccan Ras el Hanout
* Chickpeas romesco, with olive oil, toasted garlic, smoked paprika, roasted red peppers and roasted tomatoes, and balsamic
* Spicy chickpea dip, with chipotle puree, toasted garlic, and olive oil & balsamic
* Peppery chickpeas – with green peppercorns, white pepper, black pepper and cayenne pepper (plus olive oil, balsamic, toasted garlic…)
The varieties are endless!