March 19, 2014 in Food

Hummus, using black beans, creamy good

By The Spokesman-Review
Adriana Janovich photo

This black bean hummus, flavored with nutmeg and smoked paprika, is velvety smooth and reminiscent of Mexican mole. Sprinkle red chili pepper flakes on top for a little color and spicy kick.
(Full-size photo)

The cupboard was down to a bare minimum – basically, rice and beans – and the fridge featured a few half- or near-empty condiment jars.

It was time for major grocery shopping. But everybody knows it’s a terrible idea to go to the food store on an empty stomach. I needed a snack, something to get me through the ice cream aisle and around the case of gourmet cheeses without completely filling my cart.

I had a hankering for hummus – that classic, creamy Middle Eastern spread traditionally made with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Of course, I didn’t have the main ingredient: chickpeas, or garbanzo beans.

So, I thought, why not experiment with another staple like the two cans of black beans I had kept on the shelf as “emergency food”?

Black beans, like chickpeas, are a good source of protein. They’re dense and meaty, but low in calories.

Most of the recipes I found during a quick Web search for black bean hummus called for other ingredients I didn’t have: cumin, coriander, cardamom.

I also found many variations for reinventing the traditional dip, which reportedly began appearing in cookbooks in Cairo as early as the 13th century.

Modern takes feature additions like roasted red peppers, eggplant, carrots, parsnips, jalapeños and beets. Others include white beans or a combination of white beans and chickpeas, pesto, feta and fresh dill.

I managed to scrape 2 tablespoons of tahini from a nearly empty jar, spooning them into the blender along with the beans, a little lemon juice, roasted garlic and spices – including nutmeg and smoked paprika.

The result was velvety and smooth, with a texture almost like chocolate mousse, and a flavor reminiscent of Mexican mole. I sprinkled the finished product with red chili pepper flakes for a little color and kick.

Traditional hummus is often topped with pine nuts, whole chickpeas, parsley, paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s typically served with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and pita bread.

I enjoyed my spicy black bean version with sea salt-covered corn chips that I made from frying triangle pieces of corn tortillas in extra virgin olive oil.

The snack sustained me through my trip to the store. There were no spontaneous splurges in any aisle, let alone the ice cream and cheese.

And my concoction was even creamier after an overnight in the fridge.

Spicy Black Bean Hummus

From Adriana Janovich

2 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons tahini

3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, peeled and roasted

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 to 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes, extra for garnish (optional)

Drain beans and combine them and the remaining ingredients though the nutmeg in blender or food processor. Blend for 3 to 5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Place in serving bowl and garnish with red chili pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate. Hummus can be refrigerated for up to three days or stored in the freezer for up to one month. Add a little more olive oil if it seems too dry.

Note: For a spicier version, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes to the mixture before blending. For a milder version, halve the amount of cayenne and top with 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds instead of red chili pepper flakes.

Classic Hummus

From Ina Garten’s “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook,” 1999

4 garlic cloves

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/3 cup tahini

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas

8 dashes hot sauce

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Beet and Lentil Humus

From Vegetarian Times, June 2013. Serve this colorful hummus with raw vegetables, such as carrot or celery sticks, red bell pepper, cucumber or broccoli.

1/2 cup black beluga lentils, rinsed and soaked overnight

2 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks

1 clove garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon sea salt

Drain and rinse soaked lentils. Bring lentils, beets and 1 cup water to a boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.

Drop garlic into food processor while running to finely chop. Add tahini, oil, lemon juice, zest, and salt; process until creamy. Add lentils and beets, and blend on high until smooth. Season to taste.

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