Simple Hummus: An Ode to the Garbanzo

May 3, 2010


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There are few things that make me full after a few tastes, but hummus is one of them. It’s so filling, I can only eat it at lunch, with most of a day’s digestion ahead. I’m no good at a bite or  two, you should know: when I say “tastes,” I mean generous spoonfuls. Mystery solved? Not really… I’ve been known to eat a 4 pound papaya in a single sitting.

But it’s a funny thing, the bean. So many legumes satisfy me in ways that nothing else can—refried, they fill me in a ½ c flat. In soups, I need a scant cup. Just a few pods of edamame and my belly swells. But no humble bean can match the might of pureed garbanzos, swirled with sesame paste. The rich, nutty combination puts my gut at ease—and keeps it there for a long time, which is a good thing when you’re hearing stomach rumblings at 10:30am (as I often do), but not so pretty when you’re preparing dinner for company and are looking forward to dessert.


I’ve mastered the art of hummus making, I dare say, largely because of my friend Carlos, who whips his up with some garbanzo juice (whether from boiling or from the aluminum jar) to lighten the oil load. The dip is no less satisfying, just slightly less unctuous. Throw in some garlic, roasted or raw, a lot of lemon and a generous scoop of tahini, and you’re on your way to healthful satisfaction. I’ve found—gasp—that a tablespoon or two of humus even kills a chocolate craving.

Because I don’t have a lot of self control, and making a batch of anything involves innumerable licks of the spoon, I try to make this on an empty stomach and around mealtime. I’d say I lose a conservative ¼ cup during the hummus making process, which is a guaranteed appetite-spoiler. I might have room for a small salad or a soup after that, but certainly nothing substantial. The point is, this is an extraordinary little dish—an energy powerhouse. When people try to argue that vegetarians don’t get enough nourishment, I wonder if they’re crazy—or if, perhaps, they’re not so well acquainted with beans.

On another note, we planted garbanzos in the Rodriguez Elementary school garden, and guess how? By opening a bag of dried beans! They’ve since grown into the most exotic, majestic looking plants, and have dropped fuzzy pods, each one suspending its very own shriveled chickpea, soon to be a glorious garbanzo.


Simple Hummus

4 c cooked chickpeas (or 2x 15 oz cans)
½ c cooking liquid (or juice from can)
1 ½ large lemons, juiced
2 raw garlic cloves, minced
3 ½ tbsp tahini
3 tbsp olive oil

In a food processor or blender, combine the beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and tahini, adding chickpea liquid a tablespoon at a time to loosen the mixture.
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

*If you’re not sure what kind of hummus you like, you can add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil in small doses and taste along the way until you’ve reached the desired thickness. NOTE: If you do this, you will quickly become full. Goofy, but true.

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