Monday, July 9, 2007

Rattle and Hummus

Last week’s falafel sauce recipe, though delicious, featured an ingredient that’s a bit more expensive than the average bear: tahini paste. And if you’re just becoming acquainted with this high-fat, peanut butter-esque sesame concoction (as am I), you’re probably wondering what the hell else to do with the leftovers (as am I).

Fortunately, hummus, one of the world’s great dips/fillings/playthings uses tahini paste as a main component. It lends a nutty flavor and creamy consistency that gives depth to the humble chickpea. On the flip side, lots of hummus recipes overload on tahini, which means scrumptious sesame flavor, but middlin'-to-serious fat content.

So, to find a delectable, healthier hummus, I started with the bible: Cook’s Illustrated. Captious Vegetarian has their recipe, but suggests halving both the water and salt while leaving out the olive oil. Captious’ mom comments that she substitutes reserved bean juice for water, and slugs in more garlic, as well. Finally, Southern Living proposes adding cumin (yay!) but leaving out the tahini (boo). I would have strongly considered this last version if it wasn’t for that fateful lack of sesame. Seed-omitting miscreants.

The final product of these compromises was a light, lemon-y hummus with more than enough taste to compensate for the reduced tahini. Eat it, love it, live it:

Lemony Light Hummus
6 servings – ¼ cup each

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 Tbs. bean juice reserved from can
3 Tbs. juice from 1 large lemon
2 Tbs. tahini
½ - ¾ tsp. salt
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1) Stick everything in a food processor. Process for one minute, until desired smoothness is met. Add more bean juice if you’d like a creamier consistency.

2) Eat immediately, or refrigerate to let the flavors come together.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
96 calories, 4 g fat, $0.28

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas: 350 calories, 7 g fat, $0.79
3 Tbs. bean juice reserved from can: negligible calories and fat, $0.00
3 Tbs. lemon juice: 30 calories, 0 g fat, $0.50
2 Tbs. tahini: 190 calories, 18 g fat, $0.25
½ - ¾ tsp. salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press: 5 calories, 0 g fat, $0.05
dash cayenne pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin: negligible calories and fat, $0.05
TOTAL: 575 calories, 25 g fat, $1.66
PER SERVING (TOTAL/6): 96 calories, 4 g fat, $0.28

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