Sunday, August 5, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Cashew Hummus

Believe it or not, until a year ago, I had never tasted hummus let alone tried to make it. I'd heard about it of course, but for most people it seemed to be either a love it or hate it thing. The store bought versions of hummus got mixed reviews and many critics said they were bland in comparison to making it from scratch.

Making it seemed like a lot of work for something I didn't know if I'd even like. I'm not a huge fan of chick peas (although I do generally add a can to my chilli recipe) and I'd never bought tahini so didn't see the point in even trying it. Why waste my time, and money on ingredients?

But, eventually my curiosity got the better of me, so I went hunting for variations of the recipe. I hoped I'd find something with flavours that I'd enjoy - that would also pretty much erase the thought that I was really eating a glorified bean paste.

There are many recipes for hummus. To my surprise, there were also several variations that didn't even call for tahini! That was good for me as I also didn't want to buy a jar of it only to use a couple tablespoons. I'd have had to find a friend to pawn the rest of the jar off onto.

Luckily for me though, one of the first recipes that I came across was for a Roasted Red Pepper and Cashew Hummus! I LOVE red peppers and I LOVE cashews! It also had garlic! Sounded like a great combo to me!

Like all of my other recipes, I made a few adjustments from the original recipe. I'd never actually roasted a red pepper before but the instructions seemed easy enough. It didn't specify how large a pepper to use but I happened to have a fairly large one on hand so used it. The only cashews I had, were salted so I omitted the salt that the recipe called for. If you have unsalted cashews, then you will need to add salt but know that you can do it either way - just don't use salted cashews AND the salt! A 14oz. can of chick peas was used in the original which was smaller than the one I purchased so I adjusted the quantities slightly - including adding more garlic!!!

The result was a truly delicious and flavourful blend of ingredients that was perfect for dipping veggies or crackers in! I've made this several times now and it always gets rave reviews!

Roasted Red Pepper and Cashew Hummus

1 large red pepper deseeded and cut into 3 or 4 pieces
3 large cloves garlic - roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup water
1 19oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) - rinsed and drained
1 cup unsalted roasted cashews*
1 teaspoon salt*

Place the red pepper (skin side up) under a hot oven broiler (griller) for around 10 minutes or until the skin blackens all over. Remove and cover the charred peppers with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap for 5 minutes to allow the steam to loosen the skin from the pepper flesh. Peel off the blackened skins and discard. Roughly cut the pepper flesh into pieces.
Place the roasted pepper, cashews, and remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally.

*If you only have salted cashews, omit the salt.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups. Serve with raw veggies, crackers or pita chips. Cover and store any leftover hummus in fridge for up to 1 week.



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