For early spring, a creamy and bright hummus

For early spring, a creamy and bright hummus

The Westerly Sun

“No matter how you make hummus, it is important to peel and discard the thin white skins of the chickpeas.”

That’s the order from Clifford A. Wright, a James Beard award winner, in “Mediterranean Vegetables” (2001), thus dispelling one of the things I had thought was a novelty in the recipe below.

Wright didn’t elaborate on the necessity of peeling, but Elizabeth Karmel, the Associated Press’ “American Table” columnist, put it to the test in her “Roasted Carrot Hummus,” and tried both skin-on and skinless versions. The un-peeled dish, she found, “was rougher and chunkier and the texture took away from the delicate nature of the hummus,” which ideally should be creamy.

So, skinless it was, entailing a job that Karmel assures us is “not as labor-intensive as it may sound.” I have a suspicion, though, that Karmel, a chef and online entrepreneur, may have delegated at least some of this chore to her staff. The skins are slippery and sticky, and as I found myself multitasking their removal during the Masters, the thought did cross my mind that it was taking a long time.

I have since learned 1) that there are tricks to manual de-peeling (rinse, air dry, gently rub with a towel); and 2) that you can buy pre-peeled peas.

Anyway: Do you like trivia? The skins from two cans of Goya Prime Premium garbanzos weighed in at 2 ounces (the peas were 16 ounces and the liquid 11½). My peels did not go to waste: I composted them.

The rest of the prep was uneventful, although I did chop up the garlic. The essentials of hummus bi’l-Tahini, as it’s known in Arabic, are the peas, tahini, garlic, lemon, and olive oil. But there are many variations and extras, and Karmel’s creation adds roasted carrots, lemon zest, and turmeric to the mix to produce a deep floral hue — “the perfect color for daffodil season.”

This recipe turned out well and makes an attractive and healthy snack, appetizer, or even a breakfast spread. By the way, Clifford’s recipe called for ground sumac as a garnish, and that is an ingredient in za’atar, which Karmel suggests as a seasoning for homemade pita chips.


Servings: 16 appetizer-sized portions. Start to finish: 50 minutes

½ cup well-roasted carrots, cut into small pieces (about 6 small carrots)

Juice of 2 lemons, plus more as needed (about 2 ounces)

Zest of 1 lemon

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnishing hummus

2 generous tablespoons tahini (sesame paste), with some of its oil

2 15-ounce cans drained chickpeas, liquid reserved and skins removed

2 cloves garlic, peeled, or to taste

1 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste

¼ teaspoon of white pepper or pinch of cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Paprika, a sprinkling for garnish

Curly parsley for garnish

Pita chips (homemade or store bought)

Raw vegetables

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Coat carrots with oil and season with salt. Place on a sheet pan and roast carrots. Remove from oven when soft and browned in places, about 30 minutes depending on the size of your carrots. Cut into small pieces and set aside.

Place carrots in a food processor with the lemon juice, lemon zest, tahini and olive oil and process until smooth, about 1 minute.

Put remaining ingredients except the paprika and the parsley in a food processor and begin to process; add a couple of tablespoons of the chickpea liquid and more olive oil as needed to allow the machine to produce a smooth puree. The amount will vary every time you make it based on how much liquid is in the chickpeas.

Taste and adjust the seasoning (I often add more lemon juice).

Serve immediately or chilled in a shallow bowl with pita chips and raw vegetables, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a bit of paprika and some parsley.

Will keep up to five days in refrigerator.

Nutrition information per serving: 129 calories; 81 calories from fat; 9 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 220 mg sodium; 10 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 3 g protein.

Bob Laux-Bachand is a longtime home cook and canner.


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