Monday, May 21, 2012

Red Lentil Hummus

The Gurgly family is moving. Soon. Like in three weeks. I feel a tremendous sense of urgency (as evidenced by my taking time out to blog, hehe) about this. We have lots of food still in the pantry and freezer. It's a bit like an episode of Chopped, as there are some things I am trying not to buy any more of (like butter...we are down to less than one stick!)while trying to use other things as much as possible (like grains and frozen vegetables). It is going to be an interesting three weeks of menus, especially with the things I can't donate because they are already open. Hopefully I have some local friends that are interested in open containers of non-perishables. It is with this in mind that I post today's recipe: Red Lentil Hummus. I goofed not too long ago and bought a bunch of stuff when a local grocery store had a moving sale. They pretty much put the whole international aisle on clearance. For Mrs. Gurgly, this is like Christmas. I bought several bags of red lentils and a jar of tahini (if you're not familiar, imagine peanut butter made of sesame seeds instead of peanuts). I bought other things too, but they are mostly gone. The lentils and tahini remain. I kept intending to make Egyptian Red Lentil soup like my mother-in-law taught me, but we have had a really hot spring and I don't feel like eating hot lentil soup. So basically, I made hummus but subbed in lentils for the chick peas. And it is delicious. It turns out, the taste of the bean isn't really the flavor profile of hummus. The stuff you add is what gives it the flavor, and that didn't change. Although I think I might try a more Indian-inspired one next time...garam masala, coriander, etc. A few advantages of lentil hummus: 1. Nutrition (as per 1 cup of red lentils contains 60 fewer calories, 14 g fewer total carb, 2 g fewer fat than chick peas. They also contain 6 g MORE protein (12 vs 18 g) and 5 g MORE dietary fiber (11 vs 16 grams). Lentils are packed with nutrition. 2. Quick cooking in raw form. My red lentils boiled for less than 20 minutes. Try doing that with chick peas! And if you would use chick peas from a can as I typically do, add a huge difference in sodium to the nutrition advantage (something like 700 mg per cup vs 4 mg per cup in lentils). 3. Smoother texture. Unless you have a really great food processor, it's hard to attain the "store bought hummus" smoothness with chick peas. Lentils (slightly overcooked) made a very smooth hummus. So here is the recipe. I hope you enjoy as much as I did! Red Lentil Hummus 8 oz dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed 1/4 c tahini (sesame paste) Juice of 1/2 lemon 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1 Tbsp. ground cumin 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped Put lentils in a saucepan and cover with water by about 1 inch. You can add some salt if you like (I didn't salt until later but they will turn out fine). Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer. Check them periodically starting after ten minutes. You want them to be soft but not completely falling apart. Red lentils don't take long to cook and it varies depending on how much heat is on, so just watch them and judge by taste test. When they are done, scoop them into a food processor with the garlic. Pulse them a bit to break down the beans and garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients, and salt if you haven't yet. If you know you'd like different/more spice, more lemon juice, add now. Pulse again until a smooth paste forms (about 30 seconds). Taste and adjust seasoning. If it feels a bit dry to you, you can add more lemon juice or a bit of water. Some olive oil would also loosen it and lend some more richness, but will also add to calories and fat. Mine was the perfect texture while warm but seemed to dry out a bit as it cooled, so I might add some more liquid next time. Mix-ins would be great here, too. I really like hummus with red roasted peppers blended in, or chopped Greek olives. I think both would be delicious here. Serve with pita chips or soft pita triangles, crackers, crudités, or as a sandwich spread. Since I have a bunch of corn tortillas, I will cut them in fourths and bake them dry on a cookie sheet or about 15 min on 400 degrees F for a quick baked tortilla chip, also out of the pantry!

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