This is a meal that lives up to all my weighted expectations of what a meal should be.
My expectations include:
// The meal will be so incredibly tasty we can’t stop talking about that fact the entire meal, and then haughtily compare future meals at restaurants to the divine meal we enjoyed at home.
// The meal will be so wholesome that all my cells will rejoice at the sight of it.
// The meal will have humble origins that I’ve masterfully made sing (since we’re talking ridiculous expectations).
// The meal will create hallowed moments of truly sharing a meal, rather than merely eating side by side.
// The meal will remind my husband how thrilled he is to have married me, she of the near-miraculous supper.
So let me say it again: This meal lives up to all my expectations.
On the tasty front: The garlicky beans drizzled with sour lemon and bitter parsley, topped with salty olives, all on a sea of creamy hummus and crunchy sprouts…this tastes so good.
Last night, we ate a version made with cauliflower and twice while we ate I said, “Brad. Can you believe we’re eating entirely vegetables right now? A MEAL of just vegetables.” It’s so wholesome you could weep.
What is hummus but humble? It’s a gritty bean mashed up with pantry basics: sesame seeds, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil. After that, you just throw things on it and call it dinner.
The best part about this meal: To eat it correctly, you have to get up close and personal with somebody, smearing and scooping torn bits of pita along the same plate together, grabbing onions, scooping up toppling chickpeas, mopping up the olive oil and lemon juice. This is a meal that forces me to commune with my husband. When I’m balancing chickpeas and ferreting around in the hummus to get my perfect bite, I can’t glance at the open book on the table, or think about what’s left on my to-do list. I have to be right there, neck in neck with Brad, sharing (really sharing) our meal.
And finally, after dinner, with no prompting but the near memory of having eaten, Brad said, “This is deluxe. I just ate a deluxe meal, all thanks to my deluxe wife.” Send the troops home, this mission is accomplished.
If you’re able to eat gluten and beans, try the traditional version with pita. If like us and you can’t, try the cauliflower version and use carrots, cucumber coins, and celery for scooping. The cauliflower version is not so totally far off from the original that we felt cheated. In fact, it may have exceeded my expectations. Don’t even think about serving either version without the parsley sauce. Finally, make the sauce first as it only gets better from sitting.
adapted from Honest Cooking
makes 4 to 6 servings according to the link. Maybe I eyeballed it, because we ate off our batch for two weeks.
1 lb. dry chickpeas (or 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 cup tahini (can go up to 1 cup, but then I think it’s too bitter. I frequently substitute an equal amount of sesame seeds)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
olive oil or reserved water from cooking the chickpeas as needed
Place dry chickpeas in a slow cooker, cover with water to about an inch above the beans. Add baking soda (this is supposed to make the hummus more creamy, but I haven’t tested it without it. Why would I risk uncreamy hummus? That would be horrid). Let cook on low for about 8 hours or until soft, adding more water if needed. When the beans are done, drain (reserve some of the liquid) and rinse them, then make hummus or store in the fridge until you’re ready to make hummus.
To make the hummus, set aside about two cups of chickpeas. Place the rest in a food processor or Vitamix, along with the tahini or sesame seeds, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Process until creamy (thin with olive oil and/or cooking liquid if needed). Make sure to taste and adjust the ingredients. I almost never put in enough salt on my first go. And that’s it!
Make the sauce and see assembly instructions below.
Cauliflower Hummus (pictured above)
adapted from Practical Paleo
makes about 6 cups
1 large cauliflower head cut up in chunks (should equal about four cups)
4 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
a generous 1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Steam the cauliflower until soft (mine took about 9 to 10 minutes).
Place in food processor or Vitamix (you’ll need the tamper) with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
See sauce recipe and assembly instructions below.
Lemon Parsley Sauce
adapted from Honest Cooking
makes about 2-1/2 cups
For the love of all that is righteous use only fresh lemons for the juice.
2 cups fresh parsley leaves
3 to 4 cloves garlic (use 2 or 3 if you’re making traditional hummus since it already has garlic in it)
1 jalapeno (I used a dried one)
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon+ salt
Pulse the parsley, garlic, and hot pepper in a food processor until finely minced. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until it reaches a consistent texture. Let sit for an hour or in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors meld.
Traditional Hummus: Smear hummus on a large plate or platter, leaving a slight dip in the middle. Pile reserved whole chickpeas in the middle (you may want to salt them slightly). Spoon the lemon parsley sauce all over. Crowd the plate with sprouts, olives, green or red onions, and torn pieces of pita bread. (We found a sprouted whole wheat version here; Ezekiel also makes a sprouted version I think.) Drizzle the entire plate with olive oil. Finish with a squeeze of lemon.
Cauliflower Hummus: Smear hummus on a large plate or platter. Spoon the lemon parsley sauce all over. Pile on sprouts, olives, pickles, and onions. Drizzle olive oil on top and finish with a squeeze of lemon. Serve with carrot sticks, cucumber coins, and celery stalks.
What else? I like hummus best at room temperature. I’ve read you can also top it with pickled cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs. There’s a hummus place a few minutes from my office. Because I care about you, I’ll go there soon to research other potential toppings and report back.