Let’s take a journey into the way back machine.
Back back back, far beyond when I first had a blog. Or the blog before this blog. I bet you did not know that I had a blog before this blog, did ya? I started it between my junior and senior year of college. The Cutting Veg name has always stuck along, but that blog had the funniest attempts at photos. We’re talking photos on the floor to catch that lighting. And the recipe that started it all was a smoothie bowl!
I hope you guessed right, cause that smoothie bowl was INSANE! Ice ream for breakfast insane!
No we’re going far beyond those times to 11 year old Sarah. That year, dear friends, was the first year that my love for cooking started. You see, before then, I was not really interested in cooking my own food. I mean, sure, I helped my mom and dad in the kitchen, but it was probably worse than pulling teeth.
The first recipe I remember making with my dad was hummus. We took a Palestinian cooking class together. I was exposed to so many different types of food I had not seen before! What the heck was kibbe anyway? Being there with my dad and concocting some amazing fare was one of the fondest memories I have. I am very grateful that my dad has always been a curious cook. If you wonder where my creativity comes from with my recipes, you can thank him for that.
Let us just say I learned a lot about hummus during that cooking class. You would be surprised that, depending on the region, hummus can vary WIDELY. In the United States, we usually only think about one flavor profile when it comes to hummus. However, how people make their hummus across the Mediterranean varies from country to country. People will even turn against each other if a chickpea/tahini/olive oil/lemon concoction does not meet their definition of hummus. There have been threats of war between countries (I’m looking at you, Lebanon and Israel) about who is the true creator of hummus. If you MUST know about my dad’s hummus preferences, it is a lot of garlic, a lot of lemon juice, fresh parsley, and a bit of mint.
You can tell we don’t skimp on the flavors.
Now, this recipe is definitely NOT the hummus that I learned how to make in that cooking class. For one, it is not even made of chickpeas. I like my hummus smooth and, to do that, you need to peel the chickpeas. And it’s a lot of work, but it makes it SO worth it. However, I find that, when I am in a pinch, white beans straight from the can are just as good (without the peeling!). There’s plenty of garlic and lemon thrown in here (a homage to my dad!) And, for a one two punch with the flavor, I throw in some jarred pickled beets. I just love the sweet and sour tang in here! If you are wondering where in the world you can buy pickled beets that don’t involve pickling your own, I HIGHLY recommend the Trader Joe’s pickled beets. You can also substitute plain, cooked beets, if you are not entirely down with the pickled thing.
But, you know me, I’m always down with the pickled thing.
This makes for the perfect snack with some sliced cucumber or toasted pita. I love using it to top my salads or grain bowls for a dressing of sorts. You can even do what I do and eat just hummus for lunch with a little salad on the side. It is the perfect thing when you are so hot you can’t stand it.
- 1/2 cup chopped pickled beets, thoroughly patted down to dry (or plain cooked beets)
- 3 tablespoons well-stirred sesame tahini
- 1 tablespoon reserved bean liquid (either from the can or cooking from scratch)
- juice of 1-2 lemons (I like mine extra lemony)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (I like mine extra garlick-y)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- handful of parsley, roughly chopped
- huge punch of salt and pepper
- 1 14 ounce can of white beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked white beans)
- olive oil, to serve
- za'atar, to serve
In the bowl of a food processor, add pickled beets. Pulse until only small bits remain. Add sesame tahini, bean liquid, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, parsley, salt, and pepper. Pulse until the tahini is aerated and mixture is combined. You might need to add cold water to the mixture to get it to blend. You want the tahini sauce to be very smooth.
Add the beans and blend for about 2 minutes. You may need to add a little cold water to get the beans to move, but you want the mixture to be super creamy. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, cumin, or salt, if needed.
To serve, spread hummus on a plate. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with za'atar and extra chopped parsley. EAT
Yay for not cooking!