Friday, August 13, 2010

Spreading Good Taste

Depending on who's place you're visiting, the "chip and dip" station at a party can be a nutritional minefield... or a tastebud's nightmare. Over the years, I've eaten more than my fair share of over-buttery, over-creamy offerings with enough potential to stop an elephant's heart but posessing a decadent taste to match - while thanking God I was only at that cousin or aunt's house once a year. On the other hand, I've also choked back an equal amount of pureed cardboard masquerading as different spreads or dippers, prepared by well-meaning, waist-watching hosts and served with nothing but celery and carrot sticks, broccoli and (if you were lucky) a few cherry tomatoes. Having gone through that transformative period myself, I'm guilty of doing both to my guests, and though I'm sure I've improved my ability to balance the elements of flavour and nutrition the fact remains that it's always a bit of a crapshoot in that department.

There is one dip that I believe I inherited an innate ability to create: hummus. My grandfather has an uncanny ability to whip up this chickpea spread with his eyes closed (and one hand behind his back), laced with a ton of roasted and raw garlic, a touch of tahini, lemon juice and spices. I've done different versions of hummus over the years, with additions from yogurt to pumpkin to orange zest and honey, but I think this is the first "mostly raw" one I've ever attempted. This dip combines three of the healthiest things I know of in a super-garlicky blend: chickpeas, fresh garlic, and the process of sprouting.

Never sprouted legumes (or anything, for that matter) before? Don't worry. Sprouting anything - provided the seeds or beans are viable in the first place - is incredibly simple. All it takes is a jar, fresh water, a piece of cheesecloth and a cooling rack, and you've got yourself a sproutatorium that rivals the $25 behemoths at the health food store. If you need instructions beyond what I've got written here, there's an incredible resource put together online to peruse at your leisure. Whatever you decide to do in preparation for sprouting  up some hummus, do try it. No, it won't taste like the common tubs of the dip you buy at the store. But that's part of it's allure - it's a fresh, beany, vegetal flavour that gets tempered by the garlic's heat and the bouquet of the ground spices.

There's one other striking difference between my hummus and more traditional recipes - mine has no tahini. None. Nada. Zilch. And because it uses sprouted, rather than cooked or canned chickpeas, it's an almost raw concoction! Why almost raw? Well, in order to replace the tahini (which I didn't have on hand), I settled on an equally flavourful, richer fat for body: toasted sesame oil. Of course, the fact that it's made from toasted seeds pops the flavour to the forefront, but also strips away the "raw" label. No matter - the taste it brings is more than worth any type of category-shuffling it incurs!

Almost-Raw, Tahini-Free Hummus
Serves 8
1/2 cup dry chickpeas
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp full-bodied olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp smoked sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nutritional yeast
  1. In a wide-mouthed jar, soak chickpeas in cool water overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse well, place back into the jar.
  3. Fit jar with a square of cheesecloth and place onto a rack upside down to allow drainage.
  4. After 12 hours, rinse and drain chickpeas, again following the procedure with the jar and cheesecloth.
  5. Repeat the rise-drain operation for 5 days, ensuring each time that you drain as much water as possible before placing back into the upside-down jar. Seeds will start to sprout and split.
  6. In a food processor, combine sprouted chickpeas, garlic and sesame oil.
  7. Process until peas are coarsely ground, then add olive oil, water, lemon juice, smoked salt, garlic powder, paprika, cumin and nutritional yeast.
  8. Process until a relatively smooth puree forms, adding water (or oil) if necessary.
  9. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 302.1
Total Fat: 29.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.3 mg
Total Carbs: 8.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 2.7 g

Hummus on Foodista


  1. This is new to me. You're right, there's always tahini in every hummus and I dont think I've ever had one without it. I'm so excited to try this out! Thanks for sharing hun! I'd love to share this to my friends in Foodista, that's if you don't mind. Just add the foodista widget for hummus at the end of the post and it's all set! Thanks, looking forward to your next recipes ;-)

    Cheers from Australia,
    Amy @ Foodista

  2. Hello Sarah! I found this blog in foodista and followed it here. This is a lovely blog and awesome Almost-Raw, Tahini-Free Hummus recipe. Reminds me of mom's recipe and it was superb. By the way you can place more foodista widget in your past and future blogs so that other foodista readers can follow and see your blog too. Just search for a related recipe or food and use its widget. I hope to read more from you. Cheers!


Thanks for the feedback!