I have two standard Halloween recipes in my, ahhem, repertoire. One of them involves baking the equivalent of a 4-layer chocolate cake in the shape of a pumpkin; it contains a gazillion calories and takes most of an afternoon to make. As you can probably guess, I don’t make that one very often. When I need a Halloween-themed food for a party, I’m much more likely to whip up this black bean dip, which takes about 10 minutes and, if you scoop it up with carrot sticks or rice crackers, is one of the lighter dishes you’ll find at most parties.
I vary the ingredients every time I make it. Sometimes I treat it as a regular hummus, with lemon juice and a pinch of paprika; other times it’s more of a Southwestern bean dip, with chili powder and even tomatoes. I took the middle road this time and used lime juice instead of lemon and chipotle pepper instead of paprika. Unfortunately, I went a little overboard and added too much chipotle, resulting in a dip that was overly smoky and too spicy to serve to unsuspecting party-goers.
To balance out the heat and smokiness I started adding soy yogurt by the tablespoon. As it turns out, I like the creaminess the yogurt imparts, so I’m leaving it in the recipe. My advice is to add the chipotle a little at a time; if you add too much, its smoky flavor borders on bitter.
Spooky Black Bean Hummus
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper -- to taste
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened soy yogurt optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- For Design: additional plain soy yogurt or tahini
- With food processor running, drop in the garlic cloves and process until finely chopped. Add the black beans, and process until pureed. Add the remaining ingredients (use the lesser amounts) and process until smooth. Taste and correct seasonings, adding more as needed.
- Spoon the hummus into a serving dish, smoothing the top. Using a pastry bag and either soy yogurt or thinned tahini, pipe on the design. Place a plastic spider into the web, or make one yourself from black olives. Refrigerate until ready to serve.