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Monday, October 2, 2017

October 2: Pepita Hummus

Put your hand up on my hip-- when you dip, I dip, we dip!

(Oh please! Don't try to tell me you don't sing that little ditty in your head whenever you hear the word "dip.")

Today we've got hummus on the menu. But not just any old hummus--a special autumn hummus. (I can say that because people associate pumpkins with fall and there's pumpkin seeds up in here.) Pepitas are a type of pumpkin seed and we're going to be putting those in today's recipe.

When my family goes out to dinner (rare these days since I prefer cooking at home), one of our favorite spots is Mad Mex. And we look forward to starting our meal with their pick-a-dippa appetizer. We always get the black bean dip and the guacamole, but for our third dip, we rotate between a spicy cheese, a second serving of black bean dip, and their pepita hummus. It's a tasty way to start a meal. Especially paired with a margarita! Mmmmmm!

Several months back, I thought to myself, hmm...people do meatless meals all the time. I bet I could replicate the pick-a-dippa appetizer at home and turn it into a meal. So I did. I served black bean dip (while I've made my own in life, Wegmans has a tasty organic jarred one that my older daughter loooooooves so I typically use that one), homemade hummus, salsa, homemade guacamole, and queso cheese dip (also from a jar, though I have a couple recipes for homemade that I will get around to trying in the near future). I served them with tortilla chips, pita chips, & Na'an as dippers. (Sliced veggies would also be a good dipper, but I didn't do them.)  

It was a huge hit. For one thing, it's served family style in the middle of the table. (My girls tend to go nuts for any meals I serve that way because apparently it's novel to take what they want and customize their plate to their own personal tastes (even though I know their personal tastes and can do that from my spot by the stove with way less mess.) So, for instance, make-their-own tacos with ingredients on the table > made-for-them tacos already on the plate, even if the ingredients are EXACTLY THE SAME. Secondly, it kind of feels like they're eating an appetizer instead of a classic main dish and that seems to be thrilling, too. 

Since that first time, we've had it a few more times and they're always pumped about it.

This time around, I thought to myself, hmm...I've got some pepitas in the fridge (to preserve freshness) and Mad Mex has that yummy pepita hummus...maybe I'll switch things up and try that as our hummus. (I also made this baba ganoush with an eggplant from our garden!)

I searched online for recipes, but no one stood out to me. So I kind of used my basic method for making hummus and made up my own. I figured plain hummus has tahini in it (made from sesame seeds ground into paste) so I subbed out pepitas for the tahini (since those are pumpkin seeds I was about to grind into paste). While I'm sure you can use them raw, I suggest toasting them first--I did mine on the stovetop-- because most seeds and nuts taste better toasted. It does something with the oils in there. Just be careful not to burn them. You have to babysit them and keep the heat low and the seed/nut moving around. The line between "raw" and "burnt" is a fine one. So don't walk away from them! (I've learned that one the hard way, more than once.)

Now, admittedly, this pepita hummus doesn't taste exactly like the one at Mad Mex -- I don't know what's in theirs--but it's still good and was quite simple to make. I suggest you try it! And if you pair it with a margarita? More power to you!

Pepita Hummus Yield: about 2 cups


15 oz can chickpeas, reserve 2 Tablespoons of liquid, then drain and rinse chickpeas
1/2 cup pepitas, toasted
juice of 1 large lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt (start with 1/4 tsp in step 1. Add more if needed after step 2.)
1-4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Put all ingredients except olive oil in food processor. Pulse until smooth. If the mixture seems too dry, you can add some or all of the reserved chickpea liquid.

2. Turn off machine. Scrape down sides of bowl making sure everything is incorporated. Taste your mixture. Start machine again and drizzle in olive oil one tablespoon at a time, based on your desired consistency and taste preference. (FWIW: I never use more than 2 Tablespoons of oil in any of my hummus recipes, despite most recipes calling for 1/4 cup or more.) Add additional salt to taste.

3. Place into bowl. This is ready to serve immediately, but if you make it ahead, store in refrigerator.

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