Lentil Hummus

Lentil Hummus

Lentils are a great protein source. They are inexpensive and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Their creamy texture makes them an excellent alternative to chickpeas when making hummus.

There are many different types of lentils, so you can use your favorite for this recipe. I almost always have brown lentils on hand, so that is what I use. Red lentils would be perfect too.

Lentil hummus is great as a dip with pita bread or chips and/or fresh veggies. It is also wonderful as a spread for veggie wraps or sandwiches. I like it on a flour tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and black olives.

Lentil Hummus

1 cup dried lentils (your favorite kind), picked over and rinsed
at least 2 cups water
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Cook lentils (according to package directions) in the water until they are very tender, almost mushy. The cooking times will vary depending on the type of lentil you are using. The brown lentils I used took about 35 minutes. You may need to add water to the lentils as they cook. Keep an eye of them. Towards the end of cooking, season the lentils to taste with salt. Once done, take the lentils off the heat and drain off excess cooking liquid. Let the lentils cool.

In a food processor, blend the cooked lentils, garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne until very smooth. You may need to add a little water, about 1 tablespoon at time, to help blend the mixture. I let the food processor run for several (4 – 5) minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and check the consistency of the lentil hummus. Blend in the desired amount of salt. Taste the hummus and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

Beet Hummus with Bleu Cheese and Pecans

Beet Hummus

I’ve been experimenting with some different hummus recipes lately. So far, this one has been my favorite. The color is gorgeous and the beet flavor is subtle. The addition of the bleu cheese and pecans brings this hummus to a new level. I think goat cheese instead of bleu cheese would rock too. I adapted this recipe from one I found in the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light.

Beet Hummus with Bleu Cheese and Pecans

1 beet, peeled and chopped
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
bleu cheese
pecans pieces

Place the chopped beet in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the beet is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Save the water the beet cooked in to add to the hummus.

In a food processor, add the chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, kosher salt, and cooked beet. Add about 3 tablespoons of the water the beets cooked in and process, stopping to scrape down the sides from time to time, until smooth. This may take up to 5 minutes. Spread beet hummus in the serving dish and top with crumbled bleu cheese and pecans.

Jalapeno Ranch Dip/Dressing

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One of the things I miss most about Texas is the food, especially brisket and Tex-Mex. One of my favorite Tex-Mex places in Texas is Chuy’s in Austin. Chuy’s is a mini-chain now and I was able to eat at one in Plano when I was there this past September. It was wonderful! Of course Chuy’s serves up tortilla chips and salsa as soon as you are seated at your table. If you ask nicely, they will also bring you a little bowl of their Creamy Jalapeno dressing. It’s so yummy. I could seriously just eat spoonfuls of that stuff, but it’s also good as a dip for tortilla chips (or potato chips), as a salad dressing, or drizzled on anything (tacos, enchiladas, chimichangas, etc…).

Here’s my attempt at a copycat recipe of Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno dressing:

Jalapeno Ranch Dip/Dressing

8 ounces sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 package dry Ranch dip mix (I used Hidden Valley Original Ranch)
1/4 cup prepared salsa verde (I used Herdez – it’s in a can)
pickled jalapenos, to taste (I used about 3 tablespoons of sliced pickled jalapenos)
fresh cilantro leaves, to taste (I used about a handful)

Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

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