When you hear the word hummus, you probably automatically picture a bowl full of nice, thick, golden yellow puréed chickpeas and spices.
Totally yummy — if you like that sort of thing.
But what if chickpeas are not your thing? Sadly, you’re missing out. But according to Dunja Gulin, author of Hummus Where the Heart is: Moreish Recipes for Nutritious and Tasty Dips (Ryland Peters & Small, $19.95), there is a whole new and unexpected world of hummus. You’re bound to find something you like.
Gulin (dunjagulin.com), from Croatia, is a vegan chef and cooking teacher of Istrian descent who goes beyond the garbonzo in this book full of creative recipes. She offers many variations for chickpea hummus (including sweet puddings, cookies and brownies), and she also has recipes for hummus made from kidney beans, lentils and even zucchini and pumpkin and for some crackers and other dippers.
Bean dips and spreads are so versatile. In addition to dipping vegetables (dried or fresh), and all sorts of crackers and breads, they make fabulous sandwiches spread on a hearty bread and topped with fresh tomatoes or cucumbers, sprouts, apple slices, crunchy nuts or any other additions that strike your fancy.
Many bean dips can be frozen if you’ve got a large batch and you can’t eat them quickly enough. And leftovers can be added to thicken and flavour soups. (I freeze our leftover refried beans and later in the week add them to sausage and vegetable soups for a spicy hit of flavour.)
For the recipes below, you’ll want to know how to cook beans from dry, so here is a quick soak and cooking method:
— Measure your dry beans. Sort out damaged beans.
— Rinse under running water.
— Place in a large pot. For 250 ml (1 cup) dry beans add 750 ml (3 cups) water.
— Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
— Let stand 60-90 minutes.
— Drain, rinse. Place in large pot.
— Cover with at least 7.5 cm (3 in) water. Simmer gently (don’t boil) until tender but still firm with no starchy taste. Navy beans: approx. 40 minutes. Chickpeas: approx 80 minutes.
— For the recipes below, retain 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the cooking liquid before draining and rinsing.
Here’s a fun fact — Canada is a major producer of chickpeas, beans and pulses. Globally, Canadian production is ranked first for lentils and dry peas, ninth for chickpeas and 27th for dry beans. We export to 129 countries including Turkey, India, China and the U.S. When you consume these foods, you’re doing yourself some good while eating the best in the world. So you can wave your flag while you try these recipes from Dunja Gulin’s Hummus Where the Heart is: Moreish Recipes for Nutritious and Tasty Dips, photos by Mowie Kay, with permission from Ryland Peters & Small.
Makes about 2-3 servings
500 ml (320 g or 2 cups) chickpeas plus 60 ml (1/4 cup) of the cooking liquid, more if needed.
45 ml (3 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) cashew butter
3 garlic cloves
15 ml (1 tbsp) umeboshi vinegar (not essential, but adds gusto) (This is a Japanese plum vinegar which can be found in Asian groceries)
70 g or one handful of raw spinach leaves
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt, or to taste
freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Blend all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, slowly adding the cooking liquid until you reach a thick and creamy consistency; this will take about one minute. (High-speed blenders make the creamiest texture and need less liquid and time but both food processors and stick blenders can be used as well.)
Adjust the lemon juice and salt to taste. Garnish with flat-leaf parsley, if you like and serve with dippers (vegetable crisps, chips, bread, crackers etc.)
For this next recipe, you can get chapatis (Indian flatbread) at most grocery stores.
Makes about 2-4 servings
250 ml (160 g or 1 cup) fresh pineapple chunks
30 ml (2 tbsp) virgin coconut oil
500 ml (320 g or 2 cups) cooked kidney beans, plus 60 ml (1/4 cup) of the cooking liquid
15 ml (1 tbsp) almond or cashew butter
5 ml (1 tsp) fine garlic powder
grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt, or to taste
30 ml (2 tbsp) mango hot sauce
finely sliced spring onions (scallions or green onions) to garnish
Chapatis and lime wedges to serve
In a heavy-bottomed pan or wok, over high heat, fry the pineapple pieces in coconut oil until slightly browned, stirring constantly.
Add the remaining ingredients and mash them together into a chunky hummus, adding enough of the cooking liquid to incorporate. Blending would make a brownish coloured mush and the dip wouldn’t look so appetizing, so leaving chunks of pineapple and bean makes it bright-coloured and interesting.
Sprinkle with sliced spring onion/scallions if you like, and serve with chapatis and lime wedges for squeezing.
For this next recipe, feel free to substitute any small chopped herbs or other greens for the micro greens. You can use celery or carrot leaves, water cress parsley, even pea shoots.
4 orange sweet potatoes
1 ml (1/4 tsp) coarse sea salt
150 ml (130 g or 2/3 cup) cooked chickpeas, well-drained
2 ml (½ tsp) ground ginger
2 garlic cloves
Grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1 ml (1/4 tsp) cayenne pepper
15 ml (1 tbsp) coconut aminos or soy sauce, to taste
60 ml (1/4 cup) full fat coconut milk, or more if needed
shave coconut, unsweetened, to serve
olive oil, for drizzling
mixed micro herbs, to garnish
baking sheet lined with parchment
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C (400 F)
Scrub, dry and prick the sweet potatoes. Rub in the salt.
Place the whole sweet potatoes on the lined baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes or until the flesh is completely soft. Let cool slightly, cut in half and spoon out the flesh into a bowl. Save the skins to serve.
Blend the sweet potato and chickpeas in a food processor or blender with garlic, lemon zest and juice, cayenne pepper and aminos for about one minute, until smooth, adding coconut milk to reach the desired consistency.
Spoon into the reserved potato skins and sprinkle with shaved coconut. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter with mixed micro herbs to garnish.
Updated on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 8:45 AM CDT: Adds photos