Sunday, June 17, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Today, I am posting from a family reunion in Erie PA.  As I'm posting this early, and I'm away from my kitchen, this will probably not be what I bring, but it would be a great idea if I had the facilities for it.

I love hummus.  I had eaten it for a long time, never having a clue how to make it.  A roommate of mine from seminary, Ryan, had lived in the Middle East and was (is) an awesome cook of Middle Eastern food.  He tried explaining Hummus-making to me once, but I didn't even know what some of the ingredients were.  After a while, I started looking up various recipes, and began picking and choosing things I liked about each one.

Then, I started to experiment.  Hummus is great on it's own; however it turns out, you can add all kinds of things to it to make it EVEN BETTER.  My favorite addition to Hummus is Roasted Red Pepper.  While the Red Pepper is completely optional, and you can use this recipe without it, it does give it a nice savory smoky flavor.

So, here goes:

1 Red Bell Pepper (Again, optional to Hummus, and can be left out.)

2 c. Chickpeas - drained and rinsed

3 Garlic Cloves

4 T. Tahini Paste - Preferrably Raw
*It's a paste made from Sesame Seeds.  You can find it in Organic and International food aisles.

1 T. Olive Oil

1/4 c. Water

3 T. Lemon Juice
*If you use Lemon Juice from a bottle, only use 2 T, and add Water to it.  If it's fresh Lemon Juice use the full amount, and keep them separate.

1/2 t. Ground Cumin

1/2 t. Sea Salt
*Don't use Table Salt, or it will be too salty.


1. Cut the Red Pepper into quarters.
*To cut up a Bell Pepper, I find it's helpful to cut the raised part off the top, first, being careful not to cut below the stem.  Then you can clear the insides and seeds out before quartering it.

2.  To roast the Pepper, put the Pepper quarters on a small grill, and broil them on high.  Check them occasionally.  When they start to blacken on the tops, take them out, and turn them over.  Broil the other sides until just beginning to blacken.  Then, take them out and put them aside.  You can roast the Peppers while you are doing the following steps.

3.  While the Peppers are roasting, put the Garlic and Chick Peas into a food processor.  Process them until they are granulated.  You may have to stop the food processor and scrape the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula occasionally.

4.  With the food processor running, add the Tahini and Olive Oil.  If you have fresh Lemon Juice, add it now.  If you are using the bottled kind, mixed with water, hold off until after the next step.

5.  Add the cumin and Sea Salt.

You see how I use a very precise measuring spoon

6.  Gradually add the Water or Water/Lemon Juice Mixture until the hummus reaches the desired texture.  As before, you will probably have to stop the food processor and scrape the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula at least once.

7.  Once the Hummus is at the right texture, with the food processor running, drop the roasted Pepper pieces in, one at a time.  Let it run until the Pepper pieces are completely blended into the Hummus. 

*A note about Raw Hummus:
If you are a Raw Foods person, you can make Raw Hummus.  Chick Peas require little cooking to begin with, and can be eaten after just soaking overnight without boiling them at all.  Raw Chick Peas can be bitter, so I recommend using a little more Salt, Cumin, and Lemon Juice.  Also, make sure the Tahini is raw and obviously don't do the roasted Pepper.