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Practicing the basics: hummus

Hummus is an awesome and healthy dip for veggies, crackers, pita, and other snack foods. It’s ridiculously simple to make, much cheaper than buying it pre-made, and you get to customize it to your taste buds.

Hummus is essentially pureed garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), with some garlic, salt, lemon juice, and tahini (sesame paste) to give it some flavor. It will take you longer to gather up the ingredients than to actually make the stuff.

Makes about 2 cups. Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 19-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), NOT drained
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Dash of black pepper

Drain the liquid from the can of garbanzo beans into a measuring cup. It will be about 2/3 cup.

Put the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt and pepper in the blender with half of the liquid from the can (about 1/3 cup). Pulse the blender on low speed until fully combined and there are no visible pieces of garlic left, about 30 seconds. The point of this step is to puree the garlic, and it’s much easier to do with a little bit of liquid in the blender with the garlic cloves than if you try to blend the garlic alone.

Add the garbanzo beans to the blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. If it’s too thick, blend in more of the liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it thins out enough. But the initial 1/3 cup should be just about right.

Transfer to a serving dish; serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tips and suggestions:

  • This is another great recipe to mess with until it comes out the way you want. More garlic — a lot more, if you want. More tahini for an earthier flavor. Add some cayenne pepper or smoked paprika to give it some heat.
  • You can also mix in other flavors; basic hummus has such a neutral taste on its own that it serves as a great vehicle for whatever other flavor you want to highlight. Sun-dried tomatoes. Pine nuts or walnuts. Peppers (both bell and spicy). Look to see what flavors of hummus your grocery store carries in its deli section, then come home and try to make them yourself.

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