Always travel with hummus. That’s my advice to new vegans and to anyone trying to eat healthy on the road.
Having hummus in a small cooler saved us last month when my family went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. With the streets and streetcars closed for parades, we were limited to restaurants we could walk to, and because it was Mardi Gras, all of the vegan-friendly ones that were close enough were closed. So we ate hummus–hummus on carrots, hummus on crackers, hummus on bread. The best meal we had was hummus on a Subway Veggie sandwich; after dry bread and crackers, a sandwich with all those veggies tasted like something from a 4-star restaurant, I kid you not.
The night before my family goes on any trip, you’ll find me in the kitchen making this hummus, which takes about 5 minutes in a high-powered blender. Up until a few years ago, I always used my food processor to make it, but once I tried the silky smooth hummus that a Vitamix produces, I’ve never gone back to the processor. The recipe is basically the same; the blender version just uses more liquid to get the blades moving, but somehow it comes out as thick as the food processor version. And the best part: if you want, you can use whole sesame seeds instead of tahini. The blender grinds them as it makes the hummus.
If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you can make my basic hummus in a food processor. Start by chopping the garlic first, and use only 1/4 cup of liquid. Bryanna Clark Grogan says that you can get silky smooth hummus from a food processor if you start with warm chickpeas, so if you cook your own beans, I recommend that.
I like to make a a mildly-seasoned hummus for general use (and my daughter’s taste), and then scoop out half of it, add additional seasonings to the Vitamix, and blend. Since the seasonings I like to add are usually spicy, I garnish the “doctored” hummus with slices of jalapeno to let my family know which container holds the fiery hummus. The amounts of seasoning in the recipe below are conservative, so feel free to add more to taste.
Hummus in the Blender
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 15-ounce cans, 1 drained)
- 3/4-1 cup water or chickpea cooking broth (or the liquid from 1 can of chickpeas)
- 2-4 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 tablespoons tahini (or 4 tablespoons sesame seeds)
- 2-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4-1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8-1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or cayenne pepper
- Salt to taste
Place all ingredients except salt in the blender in the order listed, using the smaller amounts. Start the machine on low and increase speed to high. Use the Vitamix plunger to break up air pockets and push chickpeas toward the blades, if necessary. (Other blenders: Stop and use a spatula to do this.) If the mixture is too thick, add additional water a little at a time. Turn up to the highest speed and blend for a few seconds until hummus is completely smooth.
Stop blender and taste the hummus. Add additional seasonings and salt to taste and blend briefly to combine.
Store hummus in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It’s best after it’s had a chance to rest for at least an hour, but use within a week.
I often remove half of the hummus to serve as-is and get creative with the other half. Try adding any one of the following during the last brief blending: roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, chipotle chile peppers, green onions, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, jalapeno peppers, black or green olives, balsamic vinegar, spinach, smoked salt or Liquid Smoke.
P.S. I’m on the road again as I write this, so it may take me a little time to approve and respond to your comments. Rest assured that I have a big tub of hummus in the ice chest!