Meatless Monday: Homemade Hummus

There are about a million hummus variations, pick one or go classic this Meatless Monday.
By: Michelle Buffardi
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Once a mispronounced hippie food, hummus is now so mainstream that there are several competing brands in the dairy aisle. It's so ubiquitous that even babies and grandmas love the stuff. But for good reason. It's vegetarian but not weird, so even carnivores love it. (In fact, you can spread it on meat; if you don't believe me, smear some on your next grilled chicken sandwich.) It's packed with protein and healthy fats so you don't have to feel guilty about eating a bunch of it at a party, the way you would with, say, spinach-artichoke dip. And hummus is really versatile; it's a dip for crudites and pita, a sandwich spread, you can use it to make not-so-dry turkey burgers, add a dollop to grilled portobello mushrooms or use it as a salad dressing, thinned with some fresh lemon juice. When you need a break from traditional hummus, start adding extra stuff in, like sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts or chopped dill.   And you don't even have to stick to chickpeas when you're making hummus -- try white bean hummus, black bean hummus or Ellie Krieger's Edamame Hummus.

No matter how many brands show up at the grocery store, homemade always tastes best to me. If you've never made it before, don't be scared. All it takes is 10 minutes and a food processor -- you basically throw everything in, press a button and wait, with a pita in hand, for it to be done.

Dave Lieberman's Hummus Dip is a good, easy recipe to start with. When you master that, start mixing in other ingredients, like roasted red peppers, different fresh herbs or the aforementioned sun-dried tomatoes. Dave adds dark sesame oil to his hummus to give it a deeper flavor, but if you don't have any of that on hand it will be just as good with just olive oil.

Dave Lieberman's Hummus Dip

Makes 2 cups
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed, plus more for garnish

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dark Asian sesame oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 to 15 grinds black pepper
1/4 cup water
Paprika, for garnish

In a blender combine all the ingredients except the parsley and paprika to be used for garnish. Blend on low speed until smooth. You'll have to stop the blender often to push down the ingredients. If the mixture is too dry and you're having trouble blending it, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to help things along.

Scrape the hummus onto a plate. Sprinkle the paprika over the top, drizzle lightly with olive oil, scatter some parsley on top, and serve. You can make the hummus up to a couple of hours before you serve it. Cover the top with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature.

Per Tablespoon: Calories: 57; Total Fat: 4 grams; Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams; Protein: 1 gram; Total carbohydrates: 5 grams; Sugar: 0 grams; Fiber: 1 gram; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 96 milligrams

In Meatless Monday News:

Are we still the land of meat and potatoes? America eats more meat than any other country, but still, meat consumption is on the decline. In an interview with Marketplace, Mark Bittman discusses the reasons why. It's not because everyone is becoming vegetarian, more Americans are adopting a flexitarian diet, comprised mostly of fruits, vegetables and grains with the occasional meaty indulgence. For those still skeptical, he asks, "Do you know anyone eating more meat than before?"

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