This is a fun and different vegan appetizer. Hummus is an Arabic language word for chickpea, more commonly known in the western world by its Spanish language name, garbanzo. The chickpea or garbanzo bean is part of the pea family and is also known in Italy as the ceci bean. Suffice it to say, this pea/bean gets around! The neat thing is that it’s full of nutritional value.
This recipe takes some prep time because you’ll want to start it the night before to allow the raw chickpeas to properly rehydrate. You don’t have to use raw chickpeas, but I’ve been making hummus for over 20 years and have concluded that despite the temptation to use canned beans, the flavor is much better if you can make time to use dried chickpeas. If you don’t have time to try dried chickpeas, you may substitute 2 cans of processed garbanzo beans (drained) for 1 cup of the dried bean.
1 cup dried chickpeas
3/4 cup tahini
½ cup lemon juice
5 green onions (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (pressed)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (chopped – or substitute chopped parsley)
Put the raw chickpeas in a bowl with cold water to cover and soak overnight.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then place them in a heavy pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, for about an hour or until the chickpeas are soft and the skin begins to separate. Drain the chickpeas, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Mix chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, green onions, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in blender until well blended. If the hummus is too thick, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid (or water if you are using drained garbanzo beans) until you have a paste like consistency.
Using a spatula, scrape hummus out of blender and into a serving dish. With the back of a serving spoon, make a small impression in the center of the hummus. Drizzle olive oil in the middle and sprinkle the cilantro and paprika over the top. Serve it cold or at room temperature. Be sure to offer it with pita crackers or warm pita bread wedges. I also serve it with crostini and a slice (or two) of fresh cucumber on the side.
Here’s a tip: Leftover hummus tends to thicken. To get it back to the right consistency just add a teaspoon of lukewarm water, one teaspoon at a time, until it’s just right.