It is not rocket science that eating healthy is a lot harder when you are traveling. Finding Michelin-rated restaurants that serve healthy five-star dishes is often “mission impossible.” Especially if you are dining outside of California.
Coming back from vacations is somewhat bitter-sweet for me. A flight home is often accompanied by nostalgia… and a huge tummy ache.
Last week, when I was in Boston, my healthy eating was compromised. The food in Boston was absolutely spectacular … but very VERY rich. After a week of gnocchi, canollis and bellyache, I started dreaming of Quinoa, Brussels Sprouts and Hummus.
Our first family dinner at home was veggies with Mezze Hummus. A silky smooth dip with a lemony tang instantaneously cured all of my travel-related tummy ache… Comforting, creamy, luscious, with a little bit of “bite,” this Greek adaptation of a popular Mediterranean staple is also healthy and filling.
A couple of pointers. I suggest starting out with dried garbanzo beans and boil them yourself. Yes, it takes time to soak and cook them but you end up with beans that contain no added salt or preservatives. Plus, when you begin with warm, freshly cooked chickpeas, you end up with a much tastier hummus. The reason is that the steam helps cut the acidity of the garlic to allow all the flavors to combine.
Hot Mezze Hummus
Adapted from The Spice Kitchen.* This recipe is for you, Kira
- 2 cups dried chickpeas, cooked (see recipe below) or 4 cups cooked/canned
- 2/3 cups olive oil
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 15 oz thick Greek-style yogurt
- 3 tablespoons Tahinin
- 8 cloves garlic
- 3 teaspoons toasted and finely ground cumin seeds
- 3 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground
- 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped almonds (I sometimes use more)
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons ground sumac
- Juice of 1 lemon to serve
- Cook the chickpeas (see recipe below) or use 4 cups cooked/canned beans.
- Preheat over to 400F
- Transfer chickpeas to a food processor and process with the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, tahini and yogurt. If you aren’t using Vitamix, you may need to process in batches. Add the garlic, spices, salt and pepper and process until well mixed and smooth.
- Spoon the hummus into a shallow oven safe dish
- Quickly toast the almonds and sesame seeds in a dry pan until just brown, then add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the sumac.
- Pour the nut and sumac mixture over the hummus evenly.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until most of the butter has been absorbed.
- Squeeze over the lemon juice. Serve with plenty of flatbread for scooping up the creamy hummus
Cooking Garbanzo Beans
Recipe yields 6 cups of cooked chickpeas
- 1 lb chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Soak chickpeas in a large pot with 10 cups water for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain, rinse and drain again.
- Place in large pot with 10 fresh cups water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer 60 minutes.
- Add baking soda and simmer for 30 more minutes.
- Remove from heat, cover pot and let stand 30 minutes.
- Skim off any chickpeas that have floated to top, drain and reserve a little bit of warm liquid for hummus (in case you will need it.)
Pairing wine with hummus is not a task for the weak! I’ve tried Gewürztraminer and Fumé Blanc, but neither felt like a perfect match. Pinot Grigio seemed like the most fitting choice as white wine pairing while Pinot Noir was a perfect red.