Perfect Hummus

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Jennifer Pallian
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Hummus is a fantastic potluck bring-along, great for picnics and BBQs, an easy weekday lunch, and a super party appetizer served with rice crackers or baked pita crisps and lots of colourful veggies. It is also ridiculously easy to make. I'm talking two-steps easy (1. ingredients go in food processor 2. Press "go"). Creamy and nutty, with a kick from the garlic and lemon juice, it is a delicious staple of middle eastern cuisine.

It also happens to be virtuous... lots of fibre, protein and healthy fats.

Hummus is a staple in my summertime lunch and snack rotation, usually accompanied by crisp, refreshing veggies like cucumber, celery and red pepper. It is filling but not heavy. Perfect beach food.

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Speaking of beach food, last weekend marked the arrival of sunshine and with it, the first major flocking to the beach. It also happened to coincide with my sprained ankle. Sadness. But I was determined.

If you have never seen what getting undressed at the beach with a sprained ankle looks like, let me paint you a picture. There's a lot of hopping in a circle, bent over, shorts around your knees. There's likely a large expanse of butt on display, sparsely clothed in the little fabric bits you spent way to much money on (in terms of dollars per square inch - bikinis should be make of gold). There's quite a bit of grunting and trying to pull/shake your shorts off in a way that doesn't inflict serious pain. One wrong move could cause a loud cry, and that could draw more attention than your spastic movements are already attracting.

Maybe it's just me, but I find that hopping and grunting with your snow-white ass out is not an ideal way to nurture the confidence needed to enjoy the season's initiatory visit to a Vancouver meat market beach.

In news not unrelated, I read in a fashion magazine that you can feign abs with fake tanner! Apply one coat all over, then when it dries, paint on a second layer - one straight down from your sternum, and then diagonally across your obliques. Tempted?? Eh? Eh? Please test this and let me know the results. I will trade you hummus for information. Imagine... if it works, you might never do another sit-up...

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Anyway, I digress. Hummus. You can play with this recipe to make lots of variations. You can adjust the lemon and garlic to your tastes and make it thicker or thinner by using more or less water. You can use any nut butter (almond butter is one of my favourite substitutions) instead of the tahini, which is just sesame seed butter. You can add herbs like cilantro, parsley or chives, and/or add some heat with a touch of cayenne, chipotle powder or even a jalapeno pepper. You can play with Indian flavours, like cumin and/or curry powder. You can add some sundried tomatoes and feta for a hummus-inspired Mediterranean dip. You could even swap the chickpeas for another bean!

Happy hummus making. And take my advice, ladies: if you sprain your ankle, wear a sundress to the beach.

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Hummus

  • 1 large can of chickpeas (about 2 cups), drained and rinsed

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • salt, to taste (I use 1 to 1-1/2 tsp of sea salt)

  • water, as desired

Combine all ingredients in the food processor and puree, adding water as needed to reach desired consistency.