Is hummous still hummous without the tahini? I asked myself this question recently, when I had an urge for hummous but found that there was no tahini in sight (thank you, baba ganouj, for demanding all the tahini, a few days earlier). What to do in the evening on a small island where food shops are closed by 5 or 6 pm typically?
I had a big jar of almond butter in the fridge, so I thought that this substitution could work. As I always cook with sesame oil for various Asian dishes, I added a bit to impart that essential open-sesame flavour to this adaptation of hummous.
My hummous allegiance goes back to my vegetarian youth, yet it took me years – and a food processor – before I actually made it. Hummous is so easy to make and versatile as a spread, filling, or a dip. It works equally as an appetizer, condiment (instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich, for instance). or main course,
David Lebovitz, he of the Parisian-pastry-chocolate-sarcasm fame, has the best recipe for hummous. It came from a restaurant, Cabbagetown Cafe, at which he worked in Ithaca, while at Cornell. I use his version these days, after previously relying on Ina Garten’s recipe for some time before (in the original Barefoot Contessa); Ina’s is also very good.
The almond butter provides a satisfying nutty quality, yet there is still the sesame oil for a hint of tahini’s traditional sesame flavour. In a pinch or for a variation on a great classic, this version fills the bill for any desperate hummous-cravings.
For the recipe….
Hummus with Almond Butter, Liberally adapted from David Lebovitz who adapted it from the Cabbagetown Café Cookbook by Julie Jordan
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 3 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3/4 cup (180g) almond butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/3 cup (80ml) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups (350g) drained canned chickpeas, (reserve the liquid)
- 1 cup (15g) gently-packed parsley leaves, preferably flat-leaf
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 6 tablespoons (or more) of chickpea liquid
1. In a blender, whiz together the garlic, salt, almond butter, olive and sesame oils, and lemon juice until the garlic is finely-chopped.
2. Add the chick peas, parsley leaves, chili powder, and 6 tablespoons of chick pea liquid, and pulse until smooth. Stop the machine a couple of times during blending to scrape down the sides to make sure everything gets well-incorporated.
3. Taste, and add more lemon juice or salt if desired, and more of the chick pea liquid until it reaches a thick, but spreadable consistency. You can make it as smooth, or as coarse, as you want. I, like David, prefer mine mid-way between ultra-smooth and chunky-coarse.
Storage: Hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days. You can also freeze hummus, well-wrapped, for up to two months
Note: If cooking your own dried chick peas: it takes about 1 cup (140g) of dried chickpeas to make 2 cups (350g) of cooked ones.