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It was just too hot, and I couldn’t be bothered to be cooking hot meals in the kitchen twice a day. So I called on a standby that could be made quickly, tasted great and could be eaten with different things.  Best of all it would keep in the fridge for a few days and with some fruit and bread, provide a light, cool, quick meal when needed.

Hummus to the rescue.  A spread or paste made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, hummus has been popular in the mediterranean region and the middle east since ancient times.  It’s great as a dip with a flat bread like pita, with fresh cut vegetables sticks;  or as a spread for a more substantial sandwich, for example, with falafel, tomatoes, pickles and lettuce.  The chickpeas in the hummus make this a protein-rich food, and it’s also rich in Vitamin C, folate and iron.

You can use canned chickpeas for convenience, but dried ones are easy to prepare too, are more economical, and taste better.  If using dried chickpeas, soak them for 12-18 hours in twice as much water and in a big bowl, as they will expand a lot.  Drain and rinse the soaked peas, and cook in a pot with more fresh water to cover generously for about 40 minutes to an hour.  A cup of dried chickpeas will expand to about 2 to 3 times its volume when cooked.

Pre-cooked chickpeas

Lemony, Garlicky Hummus

2-3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

3 Tbsp. tahini

2 cups pre-cooked or canned chickpeas

Juice of 2 lemons (this is very lemony! start with one if in doubt)

1 tsp. salt or to taste

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Sumac (optional)

Process the garlic in a food processor or spice grinder until minced. Add the tahini, chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, olive oil and process until pureed.  Transfer to a bowl, and pour a little extra olive oil on top.  Sprinkle with sumac.

Notes:

  • I have sometimes used fresh, lightly toasted sesame seeds in place of the processed tahini. In fact I prefer this method as I can be sure my “tahini” is fresh.  I also find it less bitter. Here’s how to do it: after processing the garlic, pour in about a quarter cup of toasted sesame seeds and process until creamy and it starts to release its oil.  Add the rest of ingredients.
  • Sumac is a mediterranean spice that gives a lemony tang to the hummus.
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