I can get pretty stubborn about food. Once I think I don’t like an ingredient or a dish, I will avoid it forever if I don’t make myself, from time to time, retry the foods that I’ve had bad experiences with. Call it a very low-risk act of courage. If I can face cilantro or rutabagas, I don’t have to face my fear of heights or anything that has the potential to result in bodily harm. I’ve learned to like, even love, lots of foods, especially vegetables, just by giving them a second chance. (To be honest, I haven’t re-tried the dreaded rutabaga yet; some experiences are just too traumatic to go through again.)
About 9 years ago, I had a hummus pizza in a restaurant in Estes Park, Colorado, that left me convinced that I just didn’t like hummus that was heated above room temperature. (I wrote a few underwhelmed words about it here.) So, though I’ve recently embraced the joys of hot baba ganoush, I’ve stayed away from any recipe that would have me stick my precious chickpea dip into the oven. But when I saw the absolutely gorgeous Turkish Hot Layered Hummus on a blog called Panning the Globe, I just couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. Go there and look at the photos and you’ll see what I mean.
Lisa, the blogger at Panning the Globe, created her recipe after enjoying a similar dish in Istanbul. She starts with hummus made creamier with Greek yogurt and olive oil–no-no’s for us oil-free vegans. For my vegan version, I could have easily replaced the yogurt with soy or coconut yogurt, but I find even the plain varieties of those to be too sweet, and I wasn’t willing to make my own yogurt just for one recipe. So I did something a little different and used unsweetened cashew milk, hoping that it would add a little creaminess and very few calories (25 per cup). Honestly, I’m not sure it made a difference, so if you’re making my version, feel free to use non-dairy yogurt or even vegetable broth or the liquid from cooking chickpeas.
I made a few other changes to fit my tastes. I’m not a fan of sun dried tomatoes, so I replaced them with fresh yellow cherry tomatoes. And to give it a little of the flavor of olives without olive oil, I added kalamata olives to the salad. I came very close to including the pine nuts from the original recipe, but since I’d already used tahini and the olives, I didn’t want to add any more high-fat ingredients. If you’re not concerned about fat, I think a couple of tablespoons of toasted pine nuts would put this rich-tasting appetizer over the top.
Hot Layered Hummus
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas or 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
- 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used cashew milk)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2-3 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/2 cucumber peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 5 small radishes sliced and cut into 1/4-inch strips
- 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 4 kalamata olives pitted and sliced
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate vinegar or white balsamic or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes or paprika see notes
- Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly oil a shallow baking dish or pie pan.
- Place all hummus ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. Spread into the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
- While hummus is in the oven, prepare the salad topping. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
- Spread the salad over the hummus and serve hot with pita bread as an appetizer.
Aleppo pepper is medium spicy, and it's what I prefer in this recipe. Use red pepper flakes to make it very spicy or paprika to keep it mild.
If you’re wondering, I am now a fan of hot hummus–as is my entire family. Daughter E was initially a little skeptical, but as you can see in the photo above, she couldn’t stop eating it once she got started.
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