Shauna’s Classic Hummus
Make Your Own Dips And Spreads
By Shauna Lindzon
Making dips and spreads is the perfect way to play in the kitchen with flavour combinations. When I am thinking about creating a recipe, I first think about what the base should be and then I imagine flavours that will elevate it. Think about sweet, salty, spicy, and acidic dips. What comes to mind? What about: hummus with roasted red peppers, eggplant dip with garlic and zaatar, white bean dip with wilted rapini and shallots as a topper. The list of possibilities is endless.
You can really punch up the flavour and nutrition by using fruits and vegetables as the base for dips. If you start with a base of squash, tomatoes, or beets you are not only adding healthy plant chemicals, but you are also adding fibre and a variety of nutrients, including antioxidants. Another base that works really well includes beans, lentils, and chickpeas. These are neutral in flavour and will bring it to the next level in terms of protein, fibre, and extra nutrients. Once you have the base, if you add in heart-healthy olive oil, you are helping your body absorb the nutrients in the base that you use. Depending on your taste, you can then add a variety of fresh herbs and dried spices. You can also add flavour enhancers like citrus zest or juice, olives, capers, and garlic.
I find that when you buy the store-bought version of a dip or spread, you can’t control the balance of flavours, or the texture. So, why not make your own! A perfect example of this is traditional guacamole. Do you like yours smooth or chunky? I personally think that the smooth version works well as a spread and the chunky version is perfect as a dip. When I make hummus, I like it really smooth. The secret to an extra smooth texture is to first boil the chickpeas with baking soda. Try this recipe:
CLASSIC HUMMUS – Makes 2 cups
14 oz can (398 ml) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 cups water
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup tahini
2 tbsp ice water
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Optional garnishes: drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of zaatar or sumac, chopped parsley
- In a large saucepan add the chickpeas and baking soda. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Strain and run cool water over them for 30 seconds. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor or high-powered blender, add garlic, salt and lemon juice and process until combined. Let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes.
- Add tahini to the garlic mixture and blend until the mixture is thick and creamy.
- While running the processor, drizzle in ice water and blend until mixture is very smooth.
- Add cumin and drained chickpeas and blend.
- Pour olive oil through the top of the processor and process for about 2 minutes until mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Top with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of zaatar or sumac and/or chopped parsley if desired.
- Serve with whole grain crackers, pita and/or raw vegetables.
- Store leftovers for up to a week in the fridge.
Shauna Lindzon is a dietitian and nutritionist. She is a program developer and nutrition leader at Wellspring Cancer Support Network and enjoys doing virtual nutrition cooking classes and corporate wellness lectures. For more information about Shauna visit shaunalindzon.com and follow her on Instagram @shaunalin.