Food

Med meze: 4 flavor variations for unique homemade hummus

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Sweet, savory and out-of-the-ordinary, try these four tasty homemade takes on the popular Middle Eastern chickpea dip that is hummus

Hummus has taken the world by storm but there was a time in recent memory when it wasn’t as popular as it is today. Nowadays, I know many people, in particular European friends, who would not turn down the offer to snack away at a big tub of the stuff. Can anyone blame them? The combination of chickpeas and tahini makes for a great meze. While these two ingredients are the foundation of a classic hummus, there are so many creative variations that offer different flavors.

Before we delve into the recipes, have you ever stopped wonder what hummus actually means? Well, in Arabic the word literally translates to chickpeas – a topic taken very seriously in the Middle East. One of the biggest points of contention surrounding the controversial chickpea is whether or not the legume should be peeled before blending.

The classic

Before diving into some delicious alternative versions, let’s nail the classic. I like to soak and cook chickpeas ahead of time and then throw them in the freezer to make life easier. Hummus is already a very easy dish to make but prepping the chickpeas ahead of time saves even more time and hassle.

Ingredients

The hummus

  • 300 grams cooked chickpeas
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 180 milliliters tahini
  • 100 milliliters hot water
  • pinch of salt

The sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • a few whole cooked chickpeas

Instructions

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend well into it forms a smooth paste. Pour the mixture into a pan and bring it to a boil for a minute on the stove. Portion the hummus onto the plates or bowls, or whatever you want to serve them on. Melt the butter with the seasoning and drizzle that over the hummus. Add a few whole cooked chickpeas on top for some extra texture and decoration. Serve warm.

Tip

You can skip the sauce entirely or choose to add just a little bit. I personally prefer to drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top, sprinkle a dash of seasoning and call it a day.

Red beet hummus

If a classic beige hummus won’t suffice, this red/pink-colored beetroot variation is sure to liven up your table and be a real people-pleaser. If you happen to have a beetroot handy, it offers a nice sweetness that balances the salty tahini.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized red beet
  • 350 grams cooked chickpeas
  • juice of 1 big or 2 small lemons
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Peel the beetroot and cut it into small cubes. Put the cubes onto a piece of baking paper and enclose it in the paper. Bake this for about 20-30 minutes at about 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) until the beet has softened completely. This will vary depending on how big you have cut them. Blend the beets with the cooked chickpeas until it turns into a smooth paste. Add the smaller ingredients and seasoning and blend again. Then all you need to do is put them on serving plates and enjoy!

Tip

Don’t be afraid to drizzle some olive oil on top after. You can also add a pinch of sugar to the mix to make it more interesting.

Avocado hummus

After a sweeter, pinky version, you might also appreciate this combination that incorporates another trendy ingredient: avocado. It only makes sense to use this creamy fruit when creating the smooth consistency we want in hummus. Plus, it is an alternative to tahini for those who aren’t a fan or just need to use an avocado lying around.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams cooked chickpeas
  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

Blend the chickpeas, avocado and garlic and gradually add the lemon juice and olive oil to ensure a smooth mixture. Continue blending until it has turned thick and creamy.

Tip

To enhance the green color of this hummus you can add a handful of spinach. It adds both color and more nutrition to the mix. If your avocado is on the smaller side, you can still add a tablespoon or two of tahini to get a buttery texture and add more flavor. Play around with the ratio of the seasoning to suit your tastes.

Dessert hummus

Who says that hummus needs to be savory? A rather new trend is to turn this meze into a dessert with a kick. Considering that chili peppers pair well with dark chocolate, it was only a matter of time until someone came with the idea to combine chickpeas with some cocoa!

Ingredients

  • 250 grams cooked chickpeas
  • 5 tablespoons tahini
  • 4-5 tablespoons honey
  • 7-8 tablespoons cocoa
  • 4 tablespoons water, more if necessary
  • vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Add all the ingredients into the food processor and blend them until smooth. Do a taste test to see if the sweetness is sufficient and add more honey if necessary. The same goes for consistency. If the mixture is very lumpy, add a few tablespoons more water until the consistency is just right. This hummus can serve as your homemade version of Nutella in a way!

Tip

If you want to get even more unorthodox, combine the tahini with some peanut butter. You can also add toppings for more texture after you have blended the main ingredients. Chocolate chips or sesame seeds can make for a great addition.

Courtesy: (Dailysabah)

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