Call it what you will: hummus, hummous, hummos, or even حمّص بطحينة (that’s chickpeas with tahini, in Arabic, as translated by the wonderful contributors at Wikipedia). But whatever name you choose to embrace, this dish — with the addition of marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers — is something you’ll want in your entertaining repertoire going forward. Trust me — we’ve made this once so far this season and have already been asked to share the recipe!
Yes, it’s easy enough to buy hummus at the grocery store. But if you’ve never made it fresh, you don’t know what you’re missing. You have total control over flavors and ingredients. It’s super easy, too, and our Stout Sprouts really enjoyed all the measuring, pouring and blending that went in to making this.
For the uninitiated, hummus originated in the Middle East where chickpeas are still a dietary staple. Egyptian cookbooks show that tahini (a pureed sesame seed spread) was added to cooked and mashed chickpeas in the 13th century, though the origins of this dish may predate that considerably. In our version, we use additional and complementary ingredients indigenous to the Mediterranean, including garlic, lemons, artichokes and red peppers. Gotta love that maxim “what grows together, goes together.”
There’s no denying that something special happens when you marry creamy chickpeas with nutty tahini. Add to that the mellow sweetness of roasted garlic, the tang of marinated artichoke hearts, and the complexity of fire-roasted red peppers and you’ve got a magical dip that is perfect when served at any party or gathering.
Dietarily speaking, hummus is a snack food you can feel good about. The amino acids found in tahini paste help the body process the high amount of protein in the chickpeas, which are high, as well, in folate and minerals like manganese and iron. Chickpeas also have high amounts of dietary fiber while being low in fat. Add the lemon juice, artichokes and the red pepper and you’re adding vitamins like A, C, K, and B6.
Serve your hummus with some fresh veggie crudité and you’ve practically reached nutritional nirvana with a vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free appetizer. Or break out the pita chips — nothing to feel too guilty about there, unless you or your guests are avoiding gluten. Give this a try using either dried or canned chickpeas. They are both great, though the canned version — while being hyper-convenient — has more sodium. Speaking of which, I grabbed our marinated artichoke hearts and roasted red pepper from the deli counter at the grocery. Very easy, but be aware of the salt content of these convenience items. You could roast your own pepper, or even use your own steamed baby artichokes (they won’t be marinated) if you want to avoid added sodium.
We most recently served this hummus at a picnic to rave reviews. The fact that it’s a food that can be enjoyed by people with wide-ranging dietary restrictions makes it a great party choice. Plus, I personally don’t feel too bad if our Stout Sprouts load up on this in place of other dinner offerings — they are getting plenty of good stuff into their bodies even while snacking, and I don’t have to police their meal choices. Adults and kids alike dug right in.
Let me know how your family and guests enjoy this!
Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Roasted Garlic
5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed*
5 tablespoons tahini paste
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on finished hummus
Juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup of lemon juice)
1 whole roasted red pepper, skin and seeds removed
4 ounces deli-style marinated artichoke hearts, drained (or a 6 ounce jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained)
Up to 1/4 cup tap water, to thin the hummus to the right consistency
Pinch of Kosher salt, to taste
Begin by roasting the garlic cloves, which you can do one of two ways. The fastest way is actually braising them in a little olive oil on the stove top: place about a teaspoon of olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the whole peeled garlic cloves. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and allow the garlic cloves to braise until lightly brown and soft — about 20 minutes — checking on them sporadically to make sure they don’t scorch. Alternatively, you can wrap the peeled garlic cloves, lightly oiled, in aluminum foil and roast them in a 375 degree F oven for 30 – 45 minutes, or until softened. Allow the roasted garlic cloves to cool slightly before proceeding.
In the jar of a blender, combine the garlic cloves, drained and rinsed chickpeas, tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice, roasted red pepper, and drained artichoke hearts. Begin to blend, working from a slow speed up to one of the highest settings, adding water as needed to make sure the hummus blends to a creamy smooth consistency. When well-blended, taste the hummus and add salt as needed. (The artichoke hearts — which are normally marinated with added water, oil, salt and spices like oregano and black pepper — may have added enough flavor, but if you prefer more salt, add a pinch).
Transfer hummus to a serving bowl and drizzle with just a little more olive oil before serving.
Serve your hummus with pita chips (fresh or toasted), tortilla chips, bagel chips, or crudité like fresh broccoli or cauliflower florets, celery or carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber spears.
Serves: 8 – 10 as an appetizer
* If you would prefer, use 1/2 cup dried chickpeas and follow the instructions for reconstituting and cooking them until soft that we posted in our recipe for Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables with Chickpeas. This will yield about 1 cup of softened and cooked chickpeas. Reduce the amount of baking soda used when soaking to 1/4 teaspoon if you follow this method.
Kid rating: four-and-a-half stars. Daughter 1 — who is not my usual hummus-lover — couldn’t get enough. She even started to talk to me about making a hummus taco…hmmmm. Daughter 2, surprisingly, had to be cajoled into trying it. Maybe it was the orangey color, but she didn’t quite believe it was her usual and adored hummus. When we served this at one of the first picnics of the year the son of a close friend of ours literally spooned the hummus into a bowl and enjoyed it that way — which, I’ve got to say, is pretty inventive…it’s good enough to have on its own, without the chips and other dippers to get in the way.
Parent rating: five stars. I love this hummus, as did other parents to whom we served it. Both the artichoke hearts and the roasted red pepper bring a complex sweetness that balances beautifully with the roasted garlic and traditional hummus flavors. The lemon juice brightens the dish considerably, so make sure to use fresh. (Another shout out to my uncle and aunt, who sent us those lovely lemons we used here and in our Brown Rice, Wheat Berry and Quinoa Salad!)