Who wants hummus?!
Lately I’ve been expanding my list of “Things I’ll Never Buy Pre-Made Again.” Seitan is on that list, and so is hummus. Really, it’s so much cheaper to make hummus at home, especially if a) you use dried chickpeas, and b) you find a recipe without tahini (though using canned beans and/or tahini barely raises the cost). The main upside is that homemade hummus recipes make SO MUCH! It costs maybe $2 to make a batch of about a cup or two at home, while a $3 container of hummus at the store is maybe half a cup. Rip-off! I’ll take mine homemade, please.
My personal preference is to use dried chickpeas, because it’s even cheaper this way, and it does make the flavor a bit better. Canned beans will do in a time crunch; however, I find that preparing the chickpeas from scratch isn’t too time-consuming, especially since they’re largely unattended and you can make them while doing other things. Multi-tasking!
If making dry beans, you must soak them! Fortunately this is the easiest step – measure out a cup of dry chickpeas, put in a bowl, cover with water, cover the bowl, and stick in the fridge for at least eight hours. You can do this overnight, or while you’re at work so you can make them at night. The latter is my preference since I can simmer the beans while I surf the web, then store them in the fridge for later use.
Onward to cooking! I use Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s Veganomicon as a reference for cooking beans. They recommend adding three cups of water per one cup of beans, and recommend 90 minutes of simmering time for garbanzos in particular. I usually add seven cups of water when cooking one cup of dry beans (better too much than too little), and only need to simmer them for 60 minutes. Per Moscowitz and Romero, you can also add a teaspoon of sea salt to the beans 20 minutes before they’re done. To cook, bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, opening the lid partially to allow steam to escape.
Before cooking the beans, I recommend saving the soaking liquid after you drain them. Some of the garbanzo goodness is now in the liquid and you can use it in recipes, particularly ones that ask for chickpea liquid reserved from canned beans. I keep my soaking liquid in a glass tea bottle in the fridge.
Now, let’s make some hummus! I used the hummus recipe found in Isa Chandra Moscowitz’s Appetite for Reduction, a must-have for anyone looking to cook more with whole foods! It’s probably the cheapest homemade recipe since it calls for minimal olive oil and no tahini, two of the priciest ingredients in hummus. The recipe calls for one 15-oz can of chickpeas and three TB of reserved chickpea liquid – I used two cups of cooked chickpeas, plus 3 TB of reserved soaking liquid as subs.
But what makes it Golden Pizza Hummus? Basil and Yellow Sun-Dried Tomatoes!
I first discovered hummus with basil and sun-dried tomatoes at Whole Foods, when I bought the variety on a whim and subsequently became addicted. It really does taste like pizza! And fortunately for me, Appetite for Reduction has a variation which calls for these additions, having you add 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 1 cup fresh basil leaves. Marvin got a hair cut for the basil, and I used the yellow sun-dried tomatoes from Eataly, which gave the hummus a nice golden tint (hence the title Golden Pizza Hummus).
The recipe is very simple in that it’s just chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, chickpea liquid, salt, and paprika. I also added a dash of cayenne and some cumin to up the flavor a bit. The basil is added at the end and pulsed in finely. The result? Hummus that’s easy, pretty, and tasty!
Just a quick note if you’re new to making hummus – it’s never going to taste very good straight out of the food processor. It needs to chill and have a chance to let the flavors meld before it really sings. So don’t be disappointed if you try some right away and it’s not quite up-to-par!