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….