I wanted to start off today’s post with a few ingredients, to pique your interest: roasted fennel, garlic, lemon, tahini, chickpeas, olive oil. These are all things I enjoy and even more so when they are blended together into a delicious spread! Today is all about hummus, how to make an easy hummus in minutes, how to create a silky smooth restaurant-style hummus, and most importantly, how to eat hummus.
To make life easier, I use canned chickpeas. You could of course use dried chickpeas, which would require you to soak the beans over night. This is totally encouraged when you have a planned dinner party or are making lunch ahead for the week. But in the case, which I often find myself in, where the craving for hummus strikes, I immediately search the cabinet for a can of chickpeas. The next question is, to peel or not to peel? How intense is your hummus craving? Can you wait an hour or two for the chickpeas to be rinsed then dried, so you use agitate the beans with a towel to remove the outer shell? Or toast over a pan with baking soda, then vigorously rinse the chickpeas? I will get into the particularities of chickpea-peeling below, but ask yourself this: if your need for a silky-smooth hummus is of top priority and you can spare some time, then I would highly recommend peeling the chickpea skins first. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do this individually, but it may take a few minutes.
2. If you are using canned chickpeas, America’s Test Kitchen, came up with an adapted technique that takes less time. This involves mixing the rinsed chickpeas with baking soda then heating the mixture in a pan over the stove then rinsing the beans a few times in water. The shells should come off easily.
3. The non-cooking technique, includes draining, rinsing, then drying the chickpeas (this may take an hour - a few hours) and rubbing off the shells using a kitchen towel. Not all shells are expected to come off at once, you may need to individually help some beans remove their exterior.
4. The last and *least (and not) recommended* is peeling each chickpea by hand, one by one.
Today I’ve made a Roasted Fennel and Garlic Hummus. To start, I began with roasting about 2 fennel bulbs, that were sliced and tossed in olive oil and salt, with some garlic cloves. I popped those in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. Fennel is a bright, fresh, and light vegetable that offers an anise-like flavor.I love adding it to salads or lunch bowls. When roasted, as with garlic, the immediate flavors subside and the deeper, rich, and caramelized flavors start to take hold. Because of this, this hummus has a soft garlic and fennel flavor. It’s not meant to overpower the dish, but to add complexities. I blend these vegetables, along with the excess roasting oils from the pan (that holds all the flavor!), tahini, lemon juice, salt, water, and more olive oil. You can use a blender or food processor. The water adds levity to the hummus so as to break up the oils and dense fat and protein from the tahini and chickpeas. To make a plain hummus, use these same ingredients, except for the roasted fennel, and adjust the amount to your liking! Most hummus recipes have raw garlic in it, and some people don’t like the taste, so roasting it (or leaving it out) can help. To top this spread, I added toasted fennel seeds, celery seeds, toasted pine nuts, and drizzled a little olive oil on top, because why not! The fennel seeds really help enhance the anise-flavor and the celery seeds add a bright freshness. Pine nuts for richness and nuttiness and olive oil for additional flavor. Another thing is to make sure to use good quality extra virgin olive oil. Because you are blending the oil into the hummus, choosing a good olive oil will really help make the difference! Serve with pita bread, chips, bread, vegetables, etc.
I can’t believe this is the first hummus recipe I’ve shared. Be prepared for more, for I love hummus and all its glorious ingredients. This is a recipe that once you start making making it a lot, you won’t need to use a recipe. It’s really a dish meant to taste, meaning taste as you go, as each person’s taste is different. For the tahini lovers out there, add as much as you like. For those who want a more acidic taste, add more lemon juice! Note that as the hummus sits, the flavors start to enhance, so making it a few hours in advance can allow time for the ingredients to settle. With hummus being packed with protein and healthy fats, this makes for the perfect snack. Spread on some pita, place on a sandwich, on top a salad, or just eat by the spoonful (sometimes my favorite way). I hope this inspires you to make some hummus yourself! Once you make it yourself, you might never go back to the store-bought brand. Happy eating!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
On a baking sheet, place the sliced fennel and whole garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to evenly coat the vegetables and place in oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and caramelized. Give a good toss about half way through. Remove and let cool.
To make the hummus, in a food-processor or high-speed blender, pulse the chickpeas until a paste forms. Add the cooled roasted fennel and garlic (along with the excess juices from the pan), lemon juice, tahini, water, and salt and pulse. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste. Store in the fridge for at least an hour to allow all the flavors to marinate. Serve with pita, bread, vegetables, or eat by the spoonful. Enjoy!
Yields: about 4 servings
Total Time: (depends on whether you peel chickpeas) about 1 1/2 hrs
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced in 1/4 inch slices.
6-8 whole large garlic cloves, peeled
about 3-4 tablespoons olive oil for roasting
generous pinch of salt
3 cups chickpeas (2, 15 ounce cans, rinsed, drained, dried) *optional: peeled, refer above
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
a pinch of celery seeds, toasted
drizzle of olive oil