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Dorothy Dean presents: Humming along with hummus for International Hummus Day

UPDATED: Tue., May 12, 2020

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Are you all ready to celebrate? Because Wednesday isn’t your average Wednesday: It’s International Hummus Day honoring the delicious Middle Eastern dish that can be dipped, scooped, slathered or dunked.

If you’re unfamiliar with hummus, which means “chickpeas” in Arabic, it’s a dip or spread made with chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon and spices. It’s commonly served as an appetizer alongside pita bread and a variety of veggies for dipping.

The texture is creamy, and the taste can range from garlicky to tangy and smoky to spicy.

I love this version as I find it to have the perfect balance of flavors: It’s zesty, earthy and bright.

The recipe calls for a few ingredients and is made quickly.

It starts by combining tahini and lemon juice in a food processor and processing it until thick and creamy. Lemon zest, olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, salt and pepper are then added in and whirled, followed by the chickpeas.

It is processed for a few minutes more, then a bit of the chickpea liquid is added to ensure an ultra-lush and smooth consistency. And voila! Your hummus is ready.

When serving, toppings are a must (well, an “optional” must). A drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of paprika, feta crumbles, toasted pine nuts and/or chopped parsley are a few of my favorites.

While typically served as a dip with pita chips and crudités, hummus is versatile in its uses and pairings. Try it as a spread in sandwiches or wraps. Add some to your deviled egg filling. Or blend it with additional olive oil and white wine or balsamic vinegar for a tasty salad dressing.

Also, with this as a base recipe, you can customize it with an endless list of add-ins to suit your tastes: roasted red peppers, Sriracha, avocado, sundried tomatoes, pesto, roasted garlic, tapenade, fresh herbs or spices, just to name a few.

Hummus

1/4 cup well-stirred tahini

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pinch of fresh crack pepper

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained with the liquid reserved

2 to 3 tablespoons chickpea liquid, or more, as needed

Optional toppings: A sprinkle of paprika, a swirl of olive oil, feta crumbles, toasted pine nuts and/or chopped parsley

Combine the tahini and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and process for 1 minute, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and process for 1 minute more, or until smooth and creamy.

Add in the lemon zest, olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, salt and pepper and process for another minute, scraping down the bowl if needed. Add the chickpeas to the mixture and process for 2 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in 2 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid. Process until the mixture is to the desired consistency, adding another tablespoon of liquid if needed. Mixture should be lush and creamy.

Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl and add desired toppings: a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of paprika, feta crumbles, toasted pine nuts and/or chopped parsley.

Serve alongside toasted pita bread, crackers and/or fresh veggies.

Store the hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate for as long as one week.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonandswallow@yahoo.com.

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