The superbowl, like many other American events, seems to have become an excuse for indulgence in unhealthy foods. As much as I crave a ‘pig out’ session now and then, I hate to give myself a free pass for the evening- allowing consumption of the kinds of foods I persist to believe against. In other words, I don’t want the superbowl to be reason to buy myself a liter of Pepsi and bag of Doritos and munch away mindlessly.
Traditional superbowl snacks aren’t very vegetarian friendly either. My Google search on the ‘Top 10 superbowl snacks’ included meat in 9 out of the 10 snacks listed (chicken wings, pizza, sandwiches, steak tips, ribs, baked beans, BBQ pork, chili, hot dogs, and sausages) with the category ‘chips, dips and nuts’ being the only meat-free item.
Hence, my blog post on a great tasting healthy alternative to the usual meaty, MSG rich, sugar coated, caloric choices— homemade HUMMUS.
Actually, this is technically not hummus, but rather a ‘white bean dip’. I originally got the recipe from an Italian cookbook and have, of course, modified it into my own. This snack should not be confined to the superbowl only. We eat it a lot around here, and I often pack it to bring to work as part of my lunch. It’s a healthy, delicious, and super easy to make treat.
Yep, that’s right. Just a handful of ingredients. You’ll need… a can of great northern beans, half of a lemon, good olive oil, S&P, fresh garlic, parm cheese, and store bought pita (I guess you could use homemade pita…does anyone know how to make pita?).
Take your Chef’s knife (or a really wide one) and lay it FLAT across your garlic. Use the base of your palm and pound the flat side of the knife(carefully avoiding cutting your hand), smashing the clove underneath. One strong smash will get you this:
As you can see, I have a teeny-tiny $7 food processor….but hey, it works just beautifully for this dip. You should have put half of the clean beans in the processor and now you can layer in your other ingredients, beginning with the garlic.
MMM…lemon. Lemon was one of those things I was scared of as a kid, and grew to love as my tastes developed. Although the little plastic bottle of lemon juice is an acceptable substitute here, if you have fresh lemon on hand it really makes the flavors in the dip stand out in your mouth.
And now for some magic. Olive oil is just one of those -have to have- staples in your kitchen. I rarely go through a day without using some. You especially want to use a good quality oil for things that aren’t cooked….and the flavor of the oil really comes out in this dip…it’s crazy good. I’m really not one for measuring so I just eye-ball this. Glug, glug here…glug, glug, there… you really just want a healthy dose. And once you start processing the first half of the beans you can add more oil until the texture is to your preference.
AAAHHH the beauty of freshly grated parm. Once you break free from the green-shaker thing you keep in the door of your refrigerator you will never go back! Grate some right on top. Once again, I just eye-ball and grate until it feels good… now, it’s time to process. Pulse and grind the mixture until it’s smooth, then throw in the rest of your beans, some more oil, and pulse until it’s emulsified or looks like this:
Freshly toasted pita. I can’t believe I even took pictures to show you how to do this…you probably could have figured it out on your own. But just in case you prefer visuals:
Place the pitas (whole) on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, the sprinkle with S&P. Using your hands, rub the oil, salt and pepper into the pita spreading it evenly over one side. Flip them and repeat!
Then I bring the pita back to my cutting board and cut them up into bite-sized wedges using my big kitchen knife. Waiting to cut the pita until you’ve already greased it up really makes your life easier (following a recipe, I cut it into tiny pieces the first few times and ended up being an oily mess).
Toast the pita in a 450 degree oven for 3-4 minutes, then flip each piece and toast the opposite side for another 2-3 minutes. End result= crispy, warm, salty, slightly chewy on the inside pita to pair perfectly with your creamy and freshly prepared ‘hummus’.
Simple foods make me happy.