Monday, July 23, 2012

5 Star Makeover: Hummus Trio (Spicy, Tomato-Za'atar, and Black Bean)


Another month, another 5 Star Makeover. With brilliant timing, our hosts Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks have come up with the theme of Greek Meze. With the Olympics nearing at the end of the week, this Greek inspiration seems perfect! I was elated to start my Olympic celebration early by creating a hummus trio for the challenge.


Although seemingly simple, the threesome shine individually and together. I started out by making a spicy hummus featuring the traditional chickpea base. In addition to plenty of tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, I softened it up with a touch of plain yogurt as well as two different kinds of dried crushed chiles. The first was dried Aleppo chili, commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking, about 10,000 on the Scoville heat scale with a similar flavor to an ancho chili. The crushed flakes of this variety of chiles yields a slightly less spicy kick than commercial crushed red pepper. The second was dried Urfa chili, a spicy, earthy and smoky pepper that is purplish in color when dried. It is also featured in Middle Eastern cooking.


I continued to explore more Middle Eastern flavors with my hummus-making by creating a tomato hummus (also chickpea based) with za'atar, a citrusy Middle Eastern spice blend containing dried za'atar herb, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. Not only did this yield a bright orange color, but the flavors were well balanced and slightly tart from the tomato, lemon juice, and za'atar combination. This was perhaps my favorite of the three.


Finally, I traded in the chickpeas for black beans and made a simple black bean hummus with a kick of ground cumin and coriander, giving it almost a Southwestern feel. The color of this hummus was also quite untraditional (a pale grayish purple), rounding out this trio for the Greek Meze challenge. What are your favorite flavors for hummus? Are you a traditionalist or do you like to think/eat outside the box?





Spicy Hummus
Makes about 2 cups

1 (15.5 oz can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 T. plain yogurt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried Aleppo chili flakes
1/2 tsp. dried Urfa chili flakes
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Puree all ingredients (minus olive oil) in a food processor until smooth, seasoning with salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch or two of either variety chili flakes.

Tomato-Za'atar Hummus
Makes about 2 cups

1 (15.5 oz can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. za'atar
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Puree all ingredients (minus olive oil) in a food processor until smooth, seasoning with salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch or two of za'atar.

Black Bean Hummus
Makes about 2 cups

1 (15.5 oz can) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Puree all ingredients (minus olive oil) in a food processor until smooth, seasoning with salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch or two of ground cumin, or a few reserved black beans.

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