Ask my family what their favorite dip is and they are sure to answer “hummus”. It is one of those foods that we are hardly ever without, and we never seem to tire of. Maybe because hummus is so versatile; you can use it in place of mayo in a sandwich, spread it on a tortilla and roll it up with alfalfa sprouts and slices of avocado, use it as a dip for veggies and pitas, add it to your grilled cheese sandwich (trust me on this), or, if all else fails, eat it with a spoon.
The only downsides to hummus is that it can be EX-PEN-SIVE (especially the good stuff), and the commercial brands are pretty high in the sodium department, and shockingly low in their calcium and protein content. I choose to make my own hummus because I can monitor what goes in it – Chickpeas, Tahini, Garlic, Olive Oil, and what stays out – corn syrup, preservatives, excess salt, any other type of legume posing as a hummus ingredient – black bean hummus? I think not, that’s called bean dip…not hummus! Get it right people!!
“But making hummus takes too much time, you say…and cooking beans is haaaardddd! Not so! First off, if you don’t want to cook the garbanzo beans yourself, you can buy them canned. This is super convenient, but if you are trying to limit sodium content, or are concerned about consuming canned goods because of BPA and other icky stuff in the lining of the cans, then buying dried garbanzo beans may be the best fit for you. If your imagination conjures up images of soaking and rinsing beans, of pots boiling over on the stovetop, and of cleaning scalded bean bits from the bottom of a pan, let me introduce you to a better way…There is a new-fangled contraption out in them-thar stores, and they call it a crock pot, or a slow cooker. These crockpots are not just for pulled pork and overcooked pasta, no sir! They are the best danged bean cookers mankind has ever known! I kid you not! These little appliances can change your bean cooking life!
Here’s what you need to do. Take that bag of dehydrated beans that you bought on a whim about a half a century ago. Carefully pick through them to make sure there are no stones, give them a thorough rinse or two. Dump ’em in the crock-pot and fill the crock-pot with enough water so that the beans are covered by about two inches of water. Place the lid on, and turn the crock-pot to high. Check the pot every few hours to be sure you have enough water to cover the beans. I find that black beans and pinto beans generally cook in about 3 – 4 hours on high, 6 – 7 on low, garbanzo beans cook in about 4 – 5 hours on high, 7 – 8 on low.
Now, this may seem like a lot of time still, however, there is very little maintenance, just checking to make sure there is enough water in the pot. And the best part is that you can cook a few batches at once, then cool them, and put them in freezer safe containers. Yep, beans freeze beautifully! I pull them out of the freezer the day before I need them, or, if I forget, soak the unopened container or freezer bag in warm water until thawed.
And now for the hummus recipe….