Sometimes it takes a little stroll in the grocery store to get a bit of inspiration. It just so happens that the grocery store by my house has just been remodeled so I really had no choice in the matter. Since all of the items in the store had been reshuffled, I found myself wandering up and down every aisle and surprisingly discovering tons of new products, well new to me anyway. On my walk down the kosher/ethnic food aisle I stumbled upon a can of tahini. If you are not familiar with this ingredient, you might want to think again. Tahini is actually used in many commonly used spreads and sauces. More specifically, tahini is what gives hummus its distinct flavor and creaminess.
In its natural state it is a kind of thick and smooth paste similar in consistency to peanut butter. Tahini is made from sesame seeds and oil. This ingredient is frequently seen used in middle eastern dishes. It is nutty but does not taste like almond or peanut butter. The can of tahini I found in the grocery store was more of a tahini sauce. It contained some chickpeas in it already to give more of a dip consistency, however, when I saw it I was inspired to make hummus from scratch.
Now granted, it might be cheaper to just purchase already prepared hummus but it is always fun to make it yourself. This dip is high in protein, low in fat and very versatile. When I was on my vegan kick, hummus became a staple in daily diet. What’s funny though is that I never made my own hummus despite its prevalence in my diet. It was this jar of tahini that gave me the inspiration I needed. Since I was making it myself, I could have a little fun with the flavors. I used some fresh basil from by thriving basil plant, a little cayenne pepper, garlic, lemon juice, really good olive oil and of course tahini. I topped my hummus creation with some good olive oil, pine nuts and some paprika. It is important to use good extra virgin olive oil because the sharp olive flavor really marries well with the chickpea and tahini flavors. Below is the recipe, enjoy and have some fun!
1 15oz can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1/2 cup of this particular tahini sauce(if you are using tahini in its paste form you will need much less, only a few tablespoons)
juice from half a lemon (it depends on how much lemon flavor you like)
1/4 cup packed basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (might need more)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
a pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
pine nuts for garnish
paprika for garnish
Combine garbanzo beans, 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon juice, 1/3 cup of tahini, garlic, basil leaves and cayenne pepper in either a blender or food processor. pulse until smooth. If you need more liquid feel free to add more tahini, lemon juice and/or olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. place hummus in a serving bowl (or Tupperware). Top with a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil and a handful of pine nuts. Finish with a pinch of paprika sprinkled over top.