Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I ate Muhammara for the first time 2 years ago, and I’ve thinking of trying out the recipe ever since then. It’s a Syrian red pepper dip that has a nice, nutty flavor to it from walnuts and is really versatile and can be used as a smear or a dip. Unfortunately, that thought totally skipped my mind while roasting some red peppers and I decided to go with roasted red pepper hummus. This recipe is perfect for eating with pita chips, or what I did – stuffed into some cucumbers. These make for some amazing party appetizers, look good and taste great. Plus, they’re gluten-free, which is good for those who can’t dip pita bread or crackers into this hummus. This recipe can be easily adjusted depending on your preference, so go ahead and experiment with the amount of salt, paprika and cumin you want in your hummus.

Cucumber rolls stuffed with roasted red pepper hummus

Cucumber rolls stuffed with roasted red pepper hummus

Recipe adapted from Crepes of Wrath

Ingredients

  • 3 large red bell peppers or 1 jar roasted bell peppers
  • 1 15 oz. canned/rinsed/drained garbanzo beans
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Directions

1. If you have fresh bell peppers, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Cut your peppers in half, removing the pith and seeds, and place skin side up on a roasting tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until nice and charred. Allow the peppers to become cool enough to handle, then simple peel away the skin and roughly chop the peppers so that they will all fit in your food processor.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

 

2. Add the chopped roasted red peppers, garbanzo beans, tahini, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, cumin and salt to your food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. This keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Gazpacho

It’s been a pretty hot week here on the East Coast (dashing my hopes of cooling off after a hot summer in Delhi!) and I’ve been looking for some appropriate recipes for this weather. Gazpacho, a cold tomato soup, is a light and nutritious soup and gives you the perfect excuse to use some of those ripe, juicy tomatoes that are in this season. The healthiest of this soup was definitely appealing to me after pigging out at the Charlottesville Restaurant Week last week (details to follow!), where I discovered another great restaurant, Horse and Hound.

Raw vegetables are blended together in this soup with some bread, using sherry vinegar, which exaggerates the tomatoes’ acidity, giving the soup its characteristically zesty flavor. It is a raw soup in the sense that none of the vegetables used are first cooked, which is why the fresher your ingredients, the better the soup is going to taste.

Recipe adapted from Monika Kotus of Crumpets and Cakes posted at The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 2 thick slices of day-old country bread, crusts removed and cut into small pieces (I used French bread)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds ripest, sweetest most flavorful tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 1 firm medium-sized cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped

Directions

  1. Place the bread in a large bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and squeeze out juice from one tomato over it. Add 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar and mix it well with your fingers. Set aside, for at least 10 minutes gazpacho1_opt
  2.  Transfer the bread mixture to a food processor and add minced garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Process until very smooth.
  3.  Add half of the tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, generous pinch of salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil; process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Repeat with another batch of vegetables, remaining tomatoes and olive oil.
  5. Add some of the remaining sherry vinegar and salt. If, after adding these, your gazpacho is still too thick, you can add the bare minimum of water needed to thin it out. Taste and adjust amounts of each to your liking.
  6.  Mix the two batches together. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving and serve with some toasted bread if you want to add that extra crunch.

gazpacho2_opt

Black Bean Hummus

If you’re looking to branch out of the traditional hummus recipe using chickpeas, black bean hummus is an easy and delicious option. I originally got the the idea from Positively 4th Street in Charlottesville, VA, which has an excellent, spicy black bean hummus on its appetizers. This one is really easy to make – just throw all the ingredients in a food processor and you’re ready to serve in 5 minutes!

If you find it getting drier than what you’d want, then throw in some extra lime juice (if it’s too salty for your taste), or some olive oil to make it smoother. I used paprika, but you can also use jalapeno peppers if you want more of a kick.

bbhummus

Recipe adapted from MyRecipes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons paprika

Directions

  • Place 1/4 cup cilantro, and the rest of the ingredients into a food processor; process until smooth.
  • Spoon into a bowl; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro.

Want to make homemade pita chips to go along with this hummus? Click here

Also, see Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for White Bean and Roasted Eggplant Hummus

Cheaper Pesto: Multiple Ways!

I’ve been wanting to make pesto for a while now, but I kept forgetting to buy pine nuts. When I did realize how expensive pine nuts were, I figured it would be worth trying to make pesto with other kinds of nuts. So I tried toasted walnuts and the pesto came out just as perfect! The following recipe makes 3-4 servings and creates a really rich pesto. So if you don’t like your pesto that rich, you should probably try and substitute some of the olive oil with some other liquid.

Ingredients

2 and 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

2 cloves garlic

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions

1. Heat a skillet and toast the chopped walnuts for around 3-4 minutes.

Toasting the walnuts before putting them into the food processor

2. Put the basil leaves, toasted walnuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon in a food processor. Pour in olive oil as the ingredients are getting mixed. Put in salt and pepper to taste.

And the pesto’s almost ready!

Pesto Recipes

Pesto Pasta

Pesto Pasta

Boil some pasta of your choice according to package’s directions. Toss it in some pesto and cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes on the vine. Enjoy!

Caprese Pesto Sandwich

Caprese Sandwich with Pesto

Take a loaf of French bread and cut it in half. Having rubbed butter on both sides of the load, lightly toast it on the skillet. After lightly toasting it, rub pesto on both sides. Cut some fresh mozzarella slices. Top it with fresh chopped tomatoes and basil leaves and oregano. Enjoy!

For more suggestions on what to make with your pesto, check out Food Network’s link. It has some great ideas including Pesto Pizza, Pesto Potato Salad, Pesto Frittata and a Pesto-Tomato Soup

Easy Summer Pita

Besides mangoes, tomatoes, fresh basil and berries, my other summer favorite is avocadoes! (Do I just have way too many favorite summer foods that it’s become pointless to have a list of favorite summer foods? Maybe) This easy pita can be whipped up in 5-10 minutes and is really healthy and filling! Feel free to experiment by adding other things like feta cheese, other kinds of hummus and so on.

This recipe creates 2 servings (1 pita per serving) – recipe idea from Will Nomikos

Ingredients

2/3 cup red onions, chopped

1 small avocado, chopped

1 cup cucumber, chopped

1 cup hummus (I used classic chickpea hummus, but feel free to experiment)

1 cup tomatoes, cored and sliced (I used tomatoes on the vine)

2 whole wheat pitas

1 cup lettuce, chopped

Directions

1. Take a pita and slice it from the middle to create a pocket or just 2 separate halves to get 2 slices

2. Spread hummus on both sides of the pita

3. Put the onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado and lettuce on one side of the pita

1. Take the pita 2. Spread the hummus 3. Fill with veggies

4. Put the other slice of the pita back on and your meal is ready!

Put the other half of the pita back on and your pita sandwich is ready!