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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

August 3, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

In my book, hummus is pretty hard to argue with. It’s inexpensive to prepare, healthy, and can be tailored to reflect loads of different flavors. It requires no heat to make (a definite plus if your neck-of-the-woods is as toasty as ours) and can be thrown together on the fly if you’ve got a blender/food-processor and a few simple ingredients on hand.

After you make the initial investment in tin/jar of tahini (maybe $6 for good sized container) and stock up on chickpeas, you’re all set for a hummus-filled summer. These two ingredients, blended with salt, pepper, and perhaps a drizzle of olive oil, are a blank canvas for whatever flavors you like. Throwing a clove or two of chopped garlic into the blender would yield a pretty classic version. How about a bit of lemon zest and fresh basil, for a pesto hummus of sorts? Hot peppers? Pine nuts? Kalamata olives? All would be delicious.

The recipe below, utilizing roasted red peppers as the key flavoring, is getting some serious play on our summer menu. Beyond its obvious role as a dip for chips and veggies, I’ve been slathering it on all sorts of sandwiches and simple made-in-the-toaster pizzas. The tasty triangles shown below are a particularly delicious triumph over some recent lunchtime doldrums–a pita pizza with hummus, feta, thinly sliced red onions and torn basil.

pita pizza

As I mentioned before, all sorts of ingredients can be blended into the basic chickpea/tahini combination. If roasted red peppers aren’t your thing, feel free to omit them, or to replace them with something more your style. Keep in mind that depending on you ‘add-ins,’ the consistency of the hummus will vary, so err on the side of caution as far liquid goes. Start with a tablespoon or two of liquid (roasted red pepper brine could easily be replaced with lemon juice, water, or olive oil if you prefer a richer hummus), or just enough to get the mixture going in the blender. You can always add more to tweak the consistency.

Anyway, here’s a place to start:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
The roasted peppers give this hummus a gorgeous color and obviously, some great flavor. Instead of using water to thin the mixture, the brine from the pepper jar works beautifully. I’m convinced that any homemade hummus is better after it’s been refrigerated overnight – the mixture typically thickens up a bit, the flavors have a chance to meld, and the garlic will mellow out nicely.

1 15.5oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp. tahini
1 good sized clove of garlic, chopped roughly
1/2 of a 12oz. jar of roasted red peppers
3 tbsp. roasted red pepper brine (or water if you’re short on brine), plus more if needed
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
ground pepper

Combine the first five ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process mixture for several minutes or until very smooth and creamy. If mixture seems dry, gradually add few teaspoons more brine or water. Season to taste. Serve immediately, or refrigerate overnight if time allows.

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