In the Kitchen: Crockpot Tikka Masala

I’m a HUGE fan of indian food. Especially in the form a buffet when I can consume copious quantities of a variety of dishes. This recipe is one of my favorites, but even if you haven’t tried much indian cuisine or think everything is overly seasoned with curry, be adventurous and give this a try. Trust me, it’s different! The longer my husband and I are together, the more adventurous he gets with his eating, but even he, who would never willingly go to an indian restaurant, has this recipe close to the top of his favorites list.

The ingredient list may look daunting, but this recipe is easy and I love the flexibility. When the husband is around, I make it with chicken, vegetables and potatoes and that is how I have shared the recipe below. When it’s just me, I typically leave out the meat. You can also make it with just the chicken alone and no vegetables.

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 – 6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T fresh ginger, minced
1 (29 oz) can of tomato puree
1 1/2 C plain yogurt
2 T olive oil
2 T garam masala spice mic
1 T (slightly heaped) cumin
1.5 t paprika
2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t black pepper
1 t cayenne pepper
~
6 skinless chicken tenderloins, cut into large chunks* (optional)
2 -3 potatoes, diced (optional)
2 bay leaves
~
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed, optional)
~
1 cup heavy cream
2 T cornstarch
~
chopped fresh cilantro, for topping

Place the first twelve ingredients (thru the spices) into your crockpot and stir to combine. If making with chicken and/or potatoes, add them now (raw) and stir gently to mix in. Add the bay leaves and push down into mixture.

*The chicken will get very soft while cooking and start to shred apart, keeping the raw pieces a bit large than ‘bite sized’ helps keep them together better. 

Cover and cook for 8 hours on low (or 4 hours on high).

When done, whisk together the cream and corn starch and pour into the crockpot along with the peas and chickpeas and gently stir. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve over basmati rice with fresh cilantro and a side of naan and enjoy!

This meal makes a ton of food, but we eat it two or three times over a couple weeks and I freeze the rest. The consistency is a little different after freezing and reheating, but it doesn’t affect the taste at all.

> Click here for a printable recipe card

Advertisements

In the Kitchen: Caramel Apple Mini Pies

For the past ten years or so, my husband and I have gone apple picking on my birthday. The timing is perfect for us (October 15) because our favorite, braeburn, are pretty much the only thing left on the trees. We pick a lot of apples, so many we can hardly carry them all. I think we usually go back for more, too.

I spend the next few weeks making apple butter, apple sauce and apple jelly (my dad’s favorite), but we’ve actually never picked enough to leave room for making pie filling. Honestly, I’m not really a huge fruit pie fan, will the exception of cold soggy tart cherry pie, which any family member of mine will attest to.

This year we will not be picking apples on my birthday, because I’ve been picking them from my very own trees for the last two months! There are still a few left hanging and I still have buckets around the house and bowlfuls in the fridge, but I’ve already processed more apples this year than the last ten combined. That meant my first attempt at pie filling! It was almost a debacle. Actually, I think it does qualify as a debacle, but a salvaged one. In the end all it meant was the quarts I intended to have became pints. I’ve since been on a mission to come up with some mini dessert recipes that someone could easily make with a smaller amount of pie filling, and here’s my first! Did I mentioned those are marshmallows on top?

Ingredients
pie crust dough (homemade or store bought roll)
apple pie filling (homemade or store bought can)
caramel baking bits (in the baking aisle with the chocolate chips)
mini marshmallows

Aside from being quick and easy, the beauty of this recipe is you can make just a few or a whole baking sheet worth at a time. Leftover dough and filling can be stored in the fridge to make something else or bake more fresh later.

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut 4″ to 5″ circles from the dough, depending on what size you’d like the finished pies (I cut about 4.5″). Spoon one to two tablespoon of filling in the center (you can cut up the apples if you’d like or need to). Sprinkle the caramel bits on top of the filling (as few or as many as you’d like), then fold up and crimp the edges.

Bake for about 10 – 15 min until the crust edges start to brown. Remove from the oven and cover the top with the mini marshmallows. You can also cut up full size marshmallows if you happen to have those. I wasn’t sure if too many would make the pie’s too sweet so I went light on them as you can see in the photo, but they were amazing and next time I’m totally piling them on!

Return to the oven for about 3 – 5 minutes until the marshmallows start to puff and brown.

As hard as it will be, I recommend waiting about 10 minutes before serving for the marshmallows to set and the pies to cool a bit because they will be bubbling!

I made a few without the caramel bits and they were excellent as well. You can also drizzle caramel (or butterscotch) sauce over the top in lieu of baking with the bits. Hope you enjoy!

In the Kitchen: One Pan Pasta

My husband recently saw this recipe while browsing my Martha Stewart Living magazine (you can laugh at the visual, I do) and was for some reason obsessed! I could never claim to be mightier than Martha, but I have to admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of her recipes as they are written. I typically find they are missing something or need more flavor, more liquid, a touch of this or that, so I honestly would have passed right over this one if he wasn’t so darn persistent.

It seems to have become quite the rage ’round the interwebs these days and while I read many variations on this recipe, I (more or less) stuck with the original and loved it!

It’s simple (one pan, ten minutes people!) and surprisingly fresh and flavorful. I thought it would be dry, and even looks a little dry in photos, but was pleasantly surprised with the amount of sauciness. The taste was different than I expected (sweeter and spicier), but super delicious and easy to modify to your personal tastes, not to mention a beautiful way to put your garden harvest to use! (And an excitement Mr. Wizard type experience for your children, or husband, in my case…)

Here is a link to the original recipe on the Martha Stewart website and below is how I made it, what I learned and how I’ll change it next time:

Ingredients
12 ounces linguine
12 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered)
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients except the cheese in a large straight-sided skillet or wide dutch oven. You’ll need a pan that’s big enough for the pasta to lay flat and some room for the liquid to bubble.

Bring to a boil over high heat and continue boiling, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, for about 9 – 10 minutes until the pasta is al dente and most of the liquid has evaporated. And that’s it! You’re done! Spoon it into a bowl, top it with loads of grated parm and scarf it up.

I made mini beef meatballs that we mixed in before serving, and husband requested ‘those little balls of fresh mozzarella’, which I thought was a great idea!

Modifications
The original recipe calls for water and about 2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste). I used vegetable broth for some added flavor and a little water to make up the difference. Four and half cups of liquid worked perfect for me, which is what the original recipe called for. I thought being at a high altitude that I would need to boil it longer for the noodles to be done and may need more liquid, but I did not.

I was worried there would be too much onion (and I always cook with onion) or that the thin slices would be too big (as opposed to diced) but they cooked down nicely and I didn’t even notice them.

The 1/2 teaspoon red pepper added quite a kick, so lessen it if you’re not a fan of spice (we are!). If you look at the other photos of this dish, you will see the basil sprigs are whole. Not really sure how that works unless they took them out at the end? I chopped mine up so it could incorporate. You can also save some fresh to add when serving if you like it (yum!).

Next time I cook this dish, I will make a few changes…

I love mushrooms, so will add about 6 – 8 ounces fresh sliced along with the other ingredients at the beginning.

It made a ton! Dinner twice (for two) and then some. I think I will use 8 ounces of pasta instead, but keep the other ingredients the same. Most boxes of pasta are 16 ounces, so I measured out 12 for the original recipe, but will use half a box and save the other half for the next time. We typically eat whole wheat pasta which takes longer to cook, so I used regular linguine the first time around and it cooked well. Next time I will try using whole wheat angel hair. The whole wheat will take longer but the pasta is much thinner, so I think the cooking time to liquid ratio will balance out.

I will also wait to add the basil until about halfway through the cooking. I want it to cook with the dish a bit, but I think it looses too much flavor when cooked for the entire time.

Some other variations I read about on other blogs included using canned tomatoes and dried herbs instead of fresh, using chicken broth for the liquid, sweet or red onion instead of yellow and adding additional ingredients such as bell peppers, parsley and lemon slices.

I recommend trying this one close to the original and seeing how you like the flavors and amount of sauce, how the liquid and cooking time works out with your stove, etc and then start making modifications to suit your preferences.

If this is something you’ve been making for years or have already modified, I want to hear about it! And if its new to you, try it and let me know what you think!

In the Kitchen: Ricotta Zucchini Fritters

Chances are that you, like me, are always looking for new ways to use ALL THOSE ZUCCHINIS you have this time of year, whether from your garden or picked out of the overflowing baskets at the farmers market. I’ve been wanting to try something like this for awhile now and am so glad I finally did because seriously people, I’m tooting my horn over here on this one.
Ingredients
About 1 pound zucchini, shredded (2 medium or 1 large)
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 large scallions, sliced (green and white portions)
zest of one large lemon (about 2 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 scant cup flour
Oil (for frying)
In a large bowl combine zucchini, garlic, scallions, lemon zest, salt, pepper, ricotta and egg and mix well. Add flour and mix until just combined.
Heat 1/4″ oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Use about 2 T batter for each fritter, using the back of your spoon to spread into a thin cake once dropped in the pan.  
Fry for about two minutes on each side, or until golden brown. The middles will stay slightly mushy, which is ok! Set on paper towels to drain excess oil. Serve warm with lemon wedges and sour cream, if desired, and eat your brains out! 
This recipe makes about 12 three inch fritters and can easily be halved. You can keep fritters warm in a 250° oven while cooking if needed, but I have yet to try reheating any leftovers (because I ate them ALL, of course). 
I hope you enjoy these as much as I have (with every meal for the last two days), and let me know what you think!

In the Kitchen: Ham and Broccoli Shells with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

I’ve been hoarding recipes. I know, it’s so selfish of me. My husband teases that I never learned to share because I was an only child, but what does he know. He is a boy, after all.

In all honestly, I’ve been trying to wait (impatiently) until I was out of my dark, poorly lit apartment kitchen and into my new, bright airy naturally lit kitchen so the photos could actually look appetizing, but it’s just taking too long!

Since we’re stuck here, packed and ready to go, with nothing else to do for the next three weeks, I thought I would put the time to good use and do a little much-overdo blogging! So, allow me to apologize for the ugly photos you are about to see, but I promise the deliciousness of the recipe will make up for it all.

This is one of those you-can-use-cauliflower-for-anything kinda recipes. Are you into those? You know, cauliflower rice, cauliflower tortillas. It seems to be the new world’s most versatile food, but I might just be behind on the times as I usually am!

The sauce for this easy, oven-baked casserole is made rich and creamy without having to use tons of cream, sticks of butter or tubs of cheese, but by using pureed cauliflower. I personally guarantee (should I create my own seal of approval?!) that no one (especially your kids!) would ever guess what it is made out of.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 head cauliflower, chopped
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
4 teaspoons flour
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces pecorino or romano cheese, grated
1/2 lb pasta shells
1/2 – 1lb ham, chopped
1 – 2 bunches broccoli, cut into florets 
Preheat oven to 400°. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cauliflower, garlic, onion, salt and pepper and cook until slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with flour, stirring to coat, then add milk and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until cauliflower is very soft, about 15 minutes. Be sure to heat slowly and stir often to avoid burning the milk on the bottom of the pan.
Remove from heat and stir in the nutmeg (don’t leave this out!) and half the cheese. Puree until smooth in the pot with an immersion blender, or carefully transfer to a blender or food processor.

In the meantime while preparing the cauliflower sauce, cook the pasta until slightly tender but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Mix the pasta, ham and broccoli in a large deep casserole dish. I use about one full pound of ham cut into bite sized cubes and two good sized bunches of broccoli. 
Pour the sauce over top and stir gently to mix evenly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake until bubbly, 20 – 30 min. Broil for 2 -3 minutes to brown top and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

As I make it, this dish will easily feed six people (with a side dish) or a family of two to four at least twice. We have it with a side salad, if I’m feeling healthy, or cheesy garlic bread, if not 🙂

Though I have yet to try either, I see no problem with making this ahead and leaving it in the fridge for a day/overnight or freezing before baking.

Enjoy!

In the Kitchen: Stuffed Poblanos


Yeah, they’re kinda messy, but that means they’re good, right? I’ve made these three times now (so am finally confident that the recipe is ready to be shared), but have never had a chance to take good photos of them. They just get eaten too fast! Seriously. They are best right out of the oven, bubbly and hot. No time to find good light, pose my pepper and shoot. So, this is what you get. Take it or leave it.
I suggest you take it.
Ingredients
6-8 poblano peppers, depending on size
3 large or 4 medium tomatoes
1/2 medium white onion
2 large garlic cloves
2 tsp dried oregano
2 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
15 oz corn, fresh (cooked) frozen or canned (drained)
4 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins or equivalent
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
To prepare the filling, in a food processor puree the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a simmer in a large, deep skillet and cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat until some of the liquid evaporates and the mixture is thick and pulpy.
In the meantime, cook and shred the chicken, cook the rice and prepare the corn. If using fresh, boil the cob and cut off the kernels. If using canned, drain well. If using frozen, no need to thaw.
Once the mixture has thickened, add the corn, rice and chicken and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro, lime juice and 1 cup of the shredded cheddar.
To prepare the peppers, place them on a foil lined baking sheet and broil them on high, turning every few minutes, until they begin to blacken and the skins begin to bubble all over. Remove them from the oven and wrap them in the foil. Let them sit for a few minutes and then unwrap and let them cool.
Now you can easily peel off the skins. Be sure to handle the peppers carefully though, as they will be soft and can tear apart easily. Cut a slit up the middle of one side and cut out the seed core, scooping out any excess seeds, leaving the stem in place. I often rinse my peppers under light running water, I find it’s the easiest way to get all the seeds out!
Now you’re ready to stuff the peppers. Be generous! Don’t worry if it’s mounding up and over a little bit. Top with the remaining shredded cheese and bake at 350° for about 8 – 10 minutes. Broil for 2 -3 minutes to brown the cheese, serve with a side of black beans and enjoy!
This dish makes quite a hearty helping. Since it’s just my husband and I, I usually make the filling and then prepare, stuff and bake half the peppers, using half the filling. Then we’ll have it again later in the week or early the next. I reheat the filling a bit, prepare the peppers and pop them in the oven!
If you’d like to see step-by-step photos of this recipe, just leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to take some next time I make it. You can see some pics of broiling and skinning peppers in my previous Cinco de Mayo recipe post from last year here. Only difference is you’re keeping the peppers whole, rather than cutting them into strips before broiling.
I’d love to hear what you think of this one, it’s a new favorite in our house!
p.s. I’m just too busy this week to get a recipe card done up for this right now, but I should have it up by early next!

In the Kitchen: Spicy Black Bean Pizza


Phew! It’s been a crazy few weeks. Don’t you hate when those paying jobs have to get in the way of the fun stuff, like blogging? Geez. I’ve been talking about this pizza for at least a week and here it finally is. Since I first made it about a month or so ago, it’s been on our menu three times and has become a household favorite. I’m just gonna simply say yummmmm. Yep, five m’s worth. Maybe even six.


Ingredients
Whole Wheat Crust:
1 envelope dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 – 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
Pizza:
15 oz black beans*
1 cup prepared salsa (homemade or store bought)
2 jalapenos or 1 serrano chile, cut rough chunks
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup diced bell pepper (red, green, yellow or mix)
1 cup fresh (cooked) or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 avocados, diced (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
*You can use dried or canned beans for this recipe. If using dried, soak about 200 grams and cook according to package directions (1 – 1.5 hours). If using canned, drain and rinse well before using.
To make the crust, combine yeast and sugar in water. Stir until dissolved. Add salt, oil, whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour. Stir well.
Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 – 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 – 30 minutes.
If using a metal pizza pan, lightly grease it, or you can use a pizza stone. Stretch and pat or roll dough to a 15″ round. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes, until crust is dry and lightly browned. Set aside.
While the dough is rising and prebaking, you can prepare the pizza topping. In a blender or food processor, combine the beans, salsa, chile and garlic, and puree until smooth. Dice the peppers, green onion and cilantro and shred the cheeses.
Spread the bean puree over the prebaked crust and top with the diced peppers, corn, green onions, cilantro and cheeses.
Bake at 400° for 7 – 12 minutes until cheesy is bubbly and crust edges are browned. Allow pizza to cool for 5 minutes before cutting. I know, it’s very hard to wait…
Top with cubes of avocado and a dollop of sour cream, if desired, and dig in!
This pizza is perfect for the vegetarians in your life. It’s rich and hearty and the carnivores at the table won’t even miss the meat. However, chicken does pair perfectly with the other ingredients in this dish and gives this pizza a new life for the meat-eaters. Just add bite-sized chunks of cooked chicken on top of the bean puree with the other ingredients and bake as directed.
And find more delicious recipes here.

In the Kitchen: Chicken and Mushroom Macaroni and Cheese

I won’t try to tell you this is one of my ‘healthy’ meals because… not so much. I mean, it is macaroni and cheese, after all. I will tell you that it’s darn delicious though, unless you don’t like shrooms, or butter, or cheese. But if that’s the case, we may need to end this friendship now.
Ingredients
6 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni
Approx 1/2 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I use 4 tenderloins)
1/4 of a large yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, diced
6 – 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
3 Tablespoons butter (divided use)
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (divided use)
1 3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided use)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and spread in an 8×8 baking dish.
In a medium skillet, heat 1 T butter, onion and garlic over medium high heat until it begins to sizzle. Add the chicken and continue cooking. When the chicken is about halfway done, add the mushrooms and heat until they are soft and chicken is completely cooked.
Add the chicken mixture to the noodles in the dish (including any pan juices) and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 T butter over medium heat until melted, add 2 T flour and stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups milk, paprika, salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently until slightly thickened. Lower heat to a simmer and add 1 1/4 cups cheese, stirring until melted.
Once melted, remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup milk. Pour sauce over chicken and pasta and mix gently to combine. Cook at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spread remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Return to oven and cook an additional 10 minutes. Broil if desired to brown cheese. Serve and enjoy!
This recipes makes a hearty, but not ridiculous, amount. It will serve 2 – 4 people twice or 6 – 8 once, depending on how much you like to eat and what you serve with it. If you don’t like mushrooms, just leave them out! The cheese sauce is easy and delicious and can be used with anything you like. You can also easily double the recipe (entire thing or just sauce) which makes a perfect amount for a potluck!
And find more easy and delicious recipes here.

In the Kitchen: Gooey Peanut Bars

Today I have a simple treat that’s as easy as it is delicious. Three ingredients and 15 minutes is all you need to make these sweet and salty peanut bars.

Ingredients
2 cups coarsely chopped salted peanuts*
14oz caramel squares (about 50 pieces)
1 cup mini marshmallows
*Did you know that if a word such as chopped, diced, sifted, etc comes before the ingredient, you are to measure the ingredient after you prepare it as directed. If it comes after the ingredient, you first measure the ingredient, then prepare it. So in this case, you are measuring out 2 cups of already chopped peanuts, rather than measuring two cups of peanuts and then chopping them, which would read ‘2 cups peanuts, chopped.’

Lightly coat an 8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Line the baking dish with parchment paper, letting it hang over two sides, then lightly coat the parchment with the cooking spray. Evenly spread 1 1/4 cup peanuts across the pan.
In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 tablespoon water, the unwrapped caramel squares and the marshmallows. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the caramels and marshmallows melt and become smooth.
Pour the caramel mixture over the peanuts in the baking dish, then top with the remaining 3/4 cup peanuts, lightly pressing them down into the caramel.
Let cool until solid, about 2 hours. Remove the entire square from the pan using the parchment paper flaps and cut into bars. Store leftovers in a airtight container between layers of parchment or wrap individual bars in professional grade plastic wrap for a delicious grab & go snack!
p.s. The pot you melt the caramels in will be really sticky and the caramel hardens quickly on the sides after you pour it out. You may think that you’ll never get the pan clean, but just fill it with hot water, let it sit in the sink for about 10 minutes and it will all rinse right away!

In the Kitchen: Hummus

Chances are you fall into one of three categories when it comes to hummus — you love it, you hate it or you’re too freaked out to try it. I know, the consistency can get to some people. That’s why I never loved guacamole, until I made it myself and left it chunky. But hummus, I dig me some hummus. I eat it almost everyday, in fact.

What’s so great about hummus anyway, you ask? I’ll give you three simple reasons, it’ll make you healthy, wealthy and wise. Really, it’s true! Let me break it down…

Healthy: The two main ingredients in hummus, chickpeas and tahini, are both good for you. Chickpeas do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fats and they are rich in protein, making hummus a favorite among vegetarians. Chickpeas are also known to be effective in preventing build up of cholesterol in the blood vessels. Tahini is also high in protein and is an excellent source of calcium.

Wealthy: Ok, so it won’t technically make you money, but it will save you money! Buying hummus at a grocery store can add up quickly, but if you make it yourself using dried beans and fresh ingredients, it’s insanely inexpensive!
Wise: Two more ingredients found in most hummus recipes are garlic and lemon juice. Both are filled with antioxidants that reduce stress in the body. They also work to improve immune functions and fight off bacteria and viruses. Hummus contains plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for improving intelligence and maintaining a healthy heart. On top of that, it also has iron, vitamin B6, manganese, copper, folic acid and amino acids that can promote good quality sleep and uplift one’s mood.
Ready to give it a try? Here’s the recipe…
Ingredients
15 oz chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cooked & chilled*
1/3 cup tahini (ground sesame paste)**
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (soybean or canola will work, too)
You’ll also need a large food processor to make this. And by large I don’t mean gigantic, I just mean bigger than those mini cuisinart choppers. I imagine you can also use an immersion blender or Vitamix, if you have one. In fact, the Vitamix would probably work best of all!
*I generally always cook with dried beans. Aside from being super cheap, I like that they are naked — no added salt or any other funny business. You can find dried chickpeas at most grocery stores and will pay about $1 for a one pound bag, which will make you about two batches of hummus.
**You may be wondering what tahini is and where the heck you can find it. This is the only ingredient you may have trouble locating. You probably won’t find it at most local grocery stores, though you should be able to find it at any whole foods or natural grocer. You can also find it at a mediterranean market, which is where I purchase mine. It looks like natural peanut butter, with the separated oil sitting on top. Just be sure to stir up it really well before using it.

If you are using dried beans, soak and cook them according to the package directions, then weigh out 15 oz. I’m kind of a nut about weighing food and a little kitchen scale is really a very useful tool. When I’m trying a new recipe or baking something precise, weighing helps you get exact amounts or help you judge amounts that you can later eyeball. I meant to measure 15 oz chickpeas in cups for those without a scale, but I forgot, so I’m sorry! I’ll update the post next time I make a batch (which will be soon, Im sure).
If you are in a hurry, just can’t deal with dried beans or can’t find them, you can use canned beans. Just be sure to drain and rinse them well before using. I’ve never weighed a 15 oz can after it was drained and rinsed, but it should be close enough to 15 oz to do the trick.
A couple things to note for those using dried beans. I always soak them overnight, as opposed to a quick soak method, and I also add a little baking soda to both the soaking and the cooking water. It allows the water to penetrate the chickpeas more easily, which reduces the cooking time and produces a better hummus. I also find that chilling the cooked beans, as opposed to pureeing them warm, makes a big difference in the creaminess of the finished product.
Another element that affects this is the chickpea skins. Did you just imagine yourself sitting around peeling popping hundreds of chickpeas out of their skins just pop into your head? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. It takes a little time and patience, but the result is worth the effort. After cooking the soaked beans, chill them until cold and the skins will just pop right off most when you squeeze between your fingers. This is not a mandatory step, just one that creates a smoother, richer and better tasting hummus.
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
I’ll continue now by saying this is one of those flexible recipes. Aside from the chickpeas and tahini, the other ingredients can be adjusted to suit your personal taste and texture preferences. And really, even the tahini is adjustable. A little more will give you a little creamier result, but also more of a sesame taste. Adding additional lemon juice will help balance this out.
I’ll tell you that I like my hummus pretty middle of the road when it comes to flavors. I’m not a huge fan of garlic, I don’t love it too lemony and I definitely don’t love spicy foods. Perfecting hummus to your taste preferences is kind of an art. The measurements I provided here are how I love it, but they can all be adjusted. If this is your first time making hummus, I suggest you stick with the recipe and then add more or less of any seasonings to suit your taste. Other spices you can include or swap out for the cayenne are cumin, coriander and paprika. There’s lots of flexibility!
Start by blending the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper in the food processor until well mixed, but not entirely smooth.
Next add the water and blend until smooth. If you’d like it thinner, you can add more water. This is also when you can give it a taste and decide if you’d like more lemon or other spices.
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
You can get creative and add other flavors when pureeing, such as hot sauce, green onions or fresh herbs like parsley. Pine nuts and pureed roasted red peppers are also popular additions to hummus. You can buy jars of roasted red peppers packed in oil at most grocery stores. Simply drain the oil, reserving it, and puree the peppers in a food processor or blender until smooth, adding oil as needed/desired. If you want to make your own (which I recommend!), quarter red peppers, discarding seeds and stems, and place them skin side up on a baking dish lined with foil. Place them under the broiler until the skins begin to blister and peel. Remove them from the oven and wrap them in the foil or seal them in a zip top bag. Once cool, the skins will peel off easily leaving you with roasted red pepper flesh which you can then puree (add your favorite oil when processing if needed).
However you like it, humus is a delicious and versatile snack that is loaded with nutrients. Serve it as a dip with pita, flatbread, crackers or veggies such as sliced cucumbers, carrots and baby romaine or bok choy leaves. It’s also delicious as a spread on sandwiches and wraps or for topping a salad.
If I’ve inspired you to try hummus for the first time, I’d love to hear about it! Alternatively, if I’ve inspired you to make it homemade for the first time, I’d love to hear about that, too. If you’re still scared of it, well, better luck next time.
And find more easy and delicious recipes here.