Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hummus with Roasted Red Pepper

        Ah the holidays- this time of year is for sweet potatoes, pumpkin and turkey but it is also a time of many social gatherings and there is a need for party food. Really--there is always a need for party food!  I love to make all kinds of appetizers, tapas or small plates, and snacks.

       I like to have thanksgiving dinner a bit later in the day and put out some appetizers earlier on to tide people over. I often make appetizers from various cultures because I think it highlights our cultural diversity in America, for which I am thankful. It is nice to serve something that might stretch someone’s idea of regular Thanksgiving Day fare and give a little pizazz to a sometimes predictable meal. A note on Thanksgiving day menus—you may want to talk with your family before you change too much about the main players on your menu since family members may be very attached to particular dishes. I try to find out what special dish each one is expecting to find and try to make at least some of their wishes come true.  But for appetizers, I think anything goes!

            We have hosted several gatherings just this week so I made a large batch of hummus to help sustain our guests.   Hummus is so easy to make and  when you make it yourself you can decide on what you would like to add in—lemon juice and garlic are favorites, but I love to add roasted red peppers! It really gives hummus a nice, sweet flavor. I know some purists may cringe but I like roasted red pepper hummus better than any other. The recipe I use is easy since I use canned chickpeas, but if you have time, try cooking up dried chickpeas and using them.

I am not sure where I learned to make  hummus since I have been doing it for quite a while and tweaking it as I go. However, I got the idea of the red peppers from a hummus I buy that is made in Boulder; I think it is called Blue Moose. This is my go to if I don’t have time to make any hummus.

I usually have all the ingredients for hummus in my kitchen except for tahini. But making tahini is easier than making hummus! I usually do have some sesame seeds on hand and that is all you really need with just a bit of oil. Tahini that is made at home is different than store bought. It has much more texture. I think this texture actually improves the hummus but if you have store-bought tahini feel free to use that.

So here is my little recipe for red pepper hummus, adapt as you please :-) I sometimes add other things too such as artichoke hearts or green olives--see note.

I am off to prepare the first of 4 thanksgiving type dinners. My mom and my son and his girlfriend will all be traveling this Thanksgiving so we are having a vegetarian thanksgiving together tonight.

Hummus with Roasted Red Peppers

25 oz can of organic garbanzo beans *

¼ cup tahini (may use more, home made or store bought)

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed, ( or about2- 3 tsp)

1/3 to ½ cup or so fresh lemon juice

2 tsp olive oil

1 cup roasted red peppers, jarred or homemade

5 drops hot sauce, sriracha or tabasco

Pinch of cayenne pepper and sprinkle of lemon pepper, optional

1 tsp salt. Kosher or sea salt

Rinse canned chickpeas well. Put them together with tahini into food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes. Add everything else and process for at least 2 minutes, stopping a few times to stir
Garnish with paprika, olive oil, parsley. Serve with vegetables, cucumbers esp., pita chips, tabouleh salad, tomatoes, lettuce and pitas.
*If you can only find 15 oz cans, use two and just up the other ingredients a bit
Note: You can also add other flavors such as 1/3 cup artichoke hearts, 6 green olives, 2 tsp capers or roasted garlic
Tahini recipe
1 cup sesame seeds
  1/3 cup olive oil

Heat oven to 350 and toast seeds for 5-7 minutes till just starting to turn golden. Cool slightly and  add to blender or food processor and blend for about 2 minutes until it is paste like. Refrigerate left overs for 2 months or so.

Here are some pictures from some of our recent gatherings. We all enjoyed the hummus and other appetizers and the wonderful company!


  1. We are spending Thanksgiving with my in-laws and the snack food there is just as important as the main meal. Dips, crackers, veggies and chips are must-haves! We love hummus too!

  2. I hope you have a delightful thanksgiving!!

  3. Looks wonderful! I love the addition of a bit of sriracha, mmm :)

  4. Looks great. The best part of hummus is the constantly changing nature of the ingredients. I try to add grated lemon peel as well to give it a smooth citrus hint.

  5. You're so right about the need for yummy appetizers and snacks! This hummus looks delicious and would be a great healthy snack amidst all the other heavy foods we tend to eat!