Ah, January. The time when countless individuals begin the New Year’s resolution to drop a few pounds. Well, I can’t say that I am completely uninvolved in this cult, because I am pretty sure if you look in my “New Year’s Resolution Diary” you could find this as my number 1 resolution each and every year. There’s always 5 lbs. to lose, right?
Here’s the problem: I ADORE food. That’s actually an understatement. There isn’t really a word that adequately describes how much I love food. And I’m not ashamed to admit that. As a result of this adoration, my healthy recipes are created with a sense of serious determination. I want to eat foods that are nutritious but also full of flavor. This hummus is one of those great snack foods that is unique, bursting with taste and very easy to make.
There are several components of this hummus that bring it to the top of my list when I really want to watch my weight: #1- Garbanzo beans have an insane amount of protein, which helps to curb my gargantuan appetite, #2- Preserved lemon and sun-dried tomatoes bring a flavor boost that is unexpected, leaving my cravings for other foods sufficiently curbed, #3- In less than 10 minutes, I can have a week’s worth of hummus to have on hand in the refrigerator for emergency purposes.
I actually made my own tahini paste (first time ever!) for this recipe, but store bought works just as well and is much more convenient. Tahini paste (made from sesame seeds) can be kind of expensive in grocery stores in the U.S., but it is sold in relatively large quantities so you can justify spending the money if you will use it. Here in Japan, it is difficult to find Tahini paste but easy to find sesame seeds, which is why I went with the homemade route (and included the recipe below).
Preserved lemons, an ingredient typically found in Moroccan cuisine, are actually very easy to make yourself, so if you can’t find them at the store, follow my recipe below for those as well. Wow! Three recipes in one post! What WILL you do with yourselves? I should have made three separate blog posts…
The preserved lemon and sun-dried tomato provide flavor and texture contrasts without taking away from the classic flavors in the hummus. I especially enjoyed the chewy, sweet, full-flavored sun dried tomato in addition to the beautiful presentation they helped to create. Well, here come all three recipes! Enjoy!
Hummus with Preserved Lemon and Sun-Dried Tomato
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 preserved lemons, rinds only, chopped, plus 2 teaspoons juice from the jar (recipe below)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup Tahini paste (recipe below)
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In the bowl of a food processor, add the garbanzo beans, tahini paste, preserved lemon rinds and juice, and garlic. Pulse to combine. With the food processor running, stream in the olive oil until the hummus is creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle extra olive oil over the top of the hummus if desired. Eat with sliced vegetables, pita chips, or whole-wheat crackers.
Makes 1 jar
10 lemons (Meyer if you have access, but if not regular lemons are fine)
1/2 cup sea salt
Scrub the lemons clean and dry them with a paper or kitchen towel. Cut the lemons into quarters, then into eights. Begin fitting the lemon wedges tightly into the jar, pressing down to release a bit of the juice. When the jar is packed full, pour the salt over the top of the lemons and seal. Keep the jar sealed for 10 days, turning the jar each day to evenly distribute the salt and the lemon juice. Store the preserved lemons in your refrigerator for up to 1 year.
Makes about 1 cup
1 cup white sesame seeds
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry, non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Stir the seeds constantly to prevent burning. When the seeds become fragrant (which should take 3-4 minutes) remove them from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
When the seeds are cool, move them to a food processor. With the processor running, stream in the vegetable oil and allow the processor to run until a smooth paste forms. It should be thinner than peanut butter. Transfer the finished paste to a jar or bowl and store in the refrigerator.