Friday, February 8, 2013

Superbowl Party Recap, Part II. The No-oil, Tahini Free Hummus Diaries.

I've never been a fan of the store bought no-oil, tahini free hummuses. I confess that I have only tried a few, and not the Engine 2 brand yet (it has sesame seeds in it, so I'm not sure if it would be considered oil-free anyway).

But what I have tried left me thinking that I would rather not eat hummus. What a bummer, because I love hummus! When I tried making tahini-free hummus myself (that one time) I was no more impressed with my own results and I gave up on it entirely for many years.

Fast forward to when I wrote my first post about our plans for this year's Plant-strong Superbowl Party. I received a lot of reader suggestions about how to make the perfect oil-free hummus. Thank you D'Ann and Sara! Here's a summary of the suggestions, including my own thoughts based on the experiment:

(1) Make your own chickpeas for proper consistency. Sara M said, "I am in love with slow cooking the chickpeas (I think the secret is the baking soda), I do 4 hours on high with great success. I think the result is much creamier than canned chickpeas."

(2) Prepare the hummus while the chickpeas are warm.

(3) Customize your hummus. More on that below.

(4) If possible, prepare the hummus the same day you will eat it or serve it to guests. If you must refrigerate it, let it come to room temperature before eating it so that some of the creaminess will return. Cold tahini-free  hummus just isn't very, well, hummus-like! I learned this the hard way. I served three variations of tahini-free hummus at our Superbowl party straight out of the fridge and none went over well. Needless to say, we are still eating them as leftovers almost a week later.

Hands down, I have never had a more successful attempt at preparing beans. Not on the stove top or in the pressure cooker. Alton Brown is a food science genius and I'm not surprised that his method rocked!

Slow Cooker Chickpeas from Alton Brown.

7 cups water
1 pound dry chickpeas, sorted and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Special equipment: a 2 1/2-quart slow cooker

Place the water, chickpeas, and baking soda in a 2 1/2-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat for 4 hours, or on low heat for 8 to 9 hours, or until tender. Drain and serve immediately, or use in desired dish.

The Basic Hummus Recipe from E2

1 1/2 cups cooked chick peas or 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2–3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low-sodium tamari
3 tablespoons water or vegetable broth

Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

How to Customize Your Hummus
(Again, special thanks to D'Ann Martin and Sara M for loads of inspiration!)

Add one or more of the following:

  • roasted garlic, instead of raw garlic (this can be added to any and all of the following variations)
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • jarred  jalapeño
  • 1 roasted, seeded, and chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup dark or Kalamata olives
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup cooked eggplant
  • Chipotle Chili in Adobo Sauce to taste
  • Franks Red Hot Sauce to taste
  • Cilantro, lime (swap for lemon juice), jalapeno hummus 
  • 1 or 2 roasted red peppers
  • fresh spinach
  • caramelized onions
  • re hydrated sun dried tomatoes (not the oil packed kind), basil optional
  • pumpkin
  • sweet potato
  • a dash of red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • Za'atar (just sprinkle this stuff over the top)
  • snickerdoodle dessert hummus

And if you don't have a heart condition, consider adding:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Here's a unique variation on hummus that caught my eye:

Dr. Fuhrman's Artichoke Hummus

1 (12 ounce) bag frozen artichoke hearts
1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans or 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt added garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons raw tahini or unhulled sesame seeds
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest, or other no-salt seasoning blend, adjusted to taste
2 tablespoons chopped onion
6 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons water

Cook artichoke hearts according to package directions. Drain.

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add additional water if needed to adjust consistency.

I'll tell you what did come out fantastic and is always a crowd pleaser. This dip from Terry Walters!

What's your hummus story? Got any tips of your own to add?
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