There are certain food items a person can get used to purchasing pre-made at the store, like, oh, say, hummus, for example. I prepare most things from scratch, but somehow had this mental block when it came to hummus. In the end, purchasing hummus in one easy ready-to-go tub just seemed so much more convenient. It certainly wasn’t cheaper, though, and I disliked having a plastic tub at the end of each hummus adventure that then had to be recycled. I wanted to be eating whole foods and foods from nature – and that plastic tub seemed an ugly reminder that my hummus wasn’t quite what it could, or should, be.
And so I thought, on the one hand, if I am going to make hummus, I might as well go all the way and make even the beans/lentils from scratch, to enjoy the full experience. And then I thought, on the other hand, cooking garbanzos from scratch ain’t no quick activity. They take a loooong time. Enter the humble red lentil. Fast cooking, full of protein and fibre, and cheap. And bonus: if you think your family might scorn a hummus that doesn’t look like ‘regular’ hummus, fear not. Red lentils kind of lose their colour once cooked, so basically the hummus is indistinguishable from the version made with its chickpea cousin. Sneaky.
And the process is pretty simple. More involved than using one hand to pick up a tub at the grocery store, yes, but also way more rewarding. And WAY cheaper. Basically you cook your lentils, roast some garlic (optional), add the garlic and a couple other items to the cooked lentils, blend it up with an immersion blend (oh yes, that handy little device strikes again!), and then eat it up. Once you conquer hummus, you’ll be unstoppable. Ice cream will be next, then crackers. You’ll feel like the coolest and most capable modern pioneer ever. You know, the kind of pioneer that ate hummus, that is.
Red Lentil Hummus
- Author: Backyard Owl
- Recipe notes: vegan, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free, oil-free (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
- 3 cups water or vegetable broth
- 6 cloves roasted garlic (or less, if you aren’t a major garlic fan) – if you don’t want to roast the garlic, test with 3 cloves of raw garlic and go from there (according to your tastebuds).
- 6 tablespoons tahini
- 5 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more, to taste)
- pinch smoked paprika (oh yeah!)
- ground black pepper, to taste
- extra virgin olive oil, optional, for drizzling on top before serving
- If roasting garlic: cut off top of garlic (so cloves are exposed), drizzle with a bit of olive oil, wrap in foil, and roast in oven at 400F for about 30 minutes or until cloves are soft. Let cool slightly, then squeeze cloves from garlic. Squishy, but flavourful.
- While garlic is roasting, put lentils in pot with water or vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and then simmer (typically with a lid on the pot) until water is absorbed and lentils are soft and really mushy.
- Once lentils are done cooking, remove from heat and let cool slightly. In the pot with the lentils add the tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Grab your trusty immersion blender and cream that stuff together. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let cool completely, and blend in a food processor.
- Store in glass jars – whatever suits your fancy – and finish with smoked paprika, black pepper, and olive oil (optional).
NOTES: This recipe might be nice with some nutritional yeast, too, or, if you aren’t oil averse, a few tablespoons of olive oil for extra smooth creaminess. Also, I think it is best made with the vegetable broth, which acts as a kind of “flavour guarantee” – ensures the results will be tasty. As with all foods, though, customize to your palate. If you taste after blending and want more zip, add more garlic or lemon juice (or both). If you want it creamier or thinner, add some olive oil or water. If you can cook lentils, use a blender, and have tastebuds, you are pretty much guaranteed to find some combination that will appeal to you.
© 2014 Backyard Owl