Hummus is a dip made from chick peas (garbanzo beans). You can either buy canned chick peas – an option I nixed after finding a bug in a can of blueberry pie filling – or you can buy bags of chick peas and cook them yourself. Lots of recipes call for tahini – processed sesame seeds, as one of the ingredients. (Click here for an extended definition of tahini and its uses. ) I found a creamy substitute that I like better.
Cashews! Did you know that you can soak raw whole cashews in water for about 4 hours and then process them with chickpeas for a smooth and creamy hummus dip? Or that if you use less liquid, you can whip up a cashew cheese ball that mimics the traditional so well you won’t feel deprived? (Click here for a cashew cheese ball recipe) You can find bulk cashews or a large bag of whole raw cashews at any Whole Foods Market.
And now, here’s a great recipe for hummus. Have fun and enjoy!
1 bag of chick peas (or three cans if you dare!)
one-to-two cups of raw, whole cashews
Seasonings to taste: red pepper flakes, cumin, salt (omit salt if you use canned chick peas)
two limes or one lemon, peeled
Crockpot: Rinse one bag of chick peas in a collander. No need to soak the peas overnight. Fill the crockpot with water halfway; then add the peas. Turn the setting on low if you want the chick peas to cook overnight, or high if you want the peas cooked in 3 to 4 hours.
Soak cashews in water for at least 4 hours to soften them.
On the stove: For a faster cook time, you can soak the chick peas overnight. Then fill a large pot with enough water to cover the chickpeas and let cook until peas are tender – about 4 to 5 hours.
Canned chick peas don’t need warming.
A food processor is ideal but a blender will work just fine. Add chick peas, cashews, lemon or limes, seasonings and some of the cooking liquid. Process until smooth and creamy. Add more of the liquid if needed to adjust the consistency to your taste.
Use as a dip with: crackers, pretzels, tortillas, carrot stix, celery, or broccoli florets.
Tip: Create your own version by adding various ingredients during the processing stage: chopped onions, green peppers, red peppers (roasted in the oven), green chiles or whatever you like. Hummus easily absorbs flavors.
Hummus is also delicious as a flavorful, yet low in fat spread on sandwiches in lieu of mayonnaise.