Hummus is pretty popular in the States. When I was home this summer, I went to the supermarket and was amazed by all the different blends and varieties of hummus. And some of them were advertising it as a Greek product. That seems a little funny to me since in the whole 2 1/2 years I have lived in Greece, I have only found it once in a Thessaloniki shop (and probably in Athens too). It is not common to find pre-made hummus packages, and it is has also not been popular among the Greeks I have been sharing a table with.
Hummus is much more commonly found in Greece’s more middle eastern neighbor, Turkey. A typical Greek recipe using chickpeas is called “Revithia” and is a soup like dish that is slowly cooked in the oven for many hours. I first tasted this from my mother-in-law during fasting times, and I was completely astonished how delicious this turned out. No cheese, no meat, no oil even – simply some water, salt, tomatoes, and a couple bay leaves. That is why I am constantly amazed by Greek cuisine, the most simple and humble meals come to life and nurture you to the bone!
I do like hummus however, and I came across this recipe a while back that made hummus out of navy beans. This recipe claimed to be better than the traditional method of using chickpeas/garbanzo beans.
Hummus is a pretty healthy snack filled with protein and fiber; it is also very filling even when eaten with just veggies. I wanted to find out if this recipe was all that it claimed to be: smoother, creamier, and easier to make. You see, chickpeas have a skin that should be removed while boiling, but navy beans (that for some reason are actually white) do not need to shed their coat, skipping one less step in the process. Of course many steps can be skipped if you live in America and can find canned beans! Here in Greece, we have only canned kidney beans and on the occasion you can find canned black beans or pinto beans for around 3 euros a can = $4.68 I say you are better off to boil the crap out of your own beans and save the extra money for a coffee. Am I right or am I right?!
White “Navy” Bean Hummus Recipe: Makes 3/4 cupPrintable Recipe 1 cup cooked navy beans 1-2 T. tahini (sesame seed paste) 1-2 T. fresh lemon juice 1 T. olive oil + more for garnish 1 small garlic clove, pressed or minced dash of salt dash smoked or spicy paprika, optional pita wedges and veggie slices (carrots, cucumber, celery, ect) Add beans, tahini, lemon juice, oil, garlic, and salt to a food processor. Blend until smooth and well combined. Spoon out on a serving plate, drizzle with a little oil and top with paprika or other herb of choice. If you are going to use fresh beans, you will need to either soak your beans overnight (4-8 hours, or until doubled in size) or quick boil them. To quick boil, add your washed and sorted beans to a medium pot with a tight fitting lid and cover at least 2 ” with boiling water. Place lid on pot and let rest 1 1 1/2 hours. Replace the water and boil again, reduce to a simmer, and cook until soft. It is best to use fresh, dried beans. The older and drier your beans are the harder and longer they will take to cook. If you suspect that you have older beans, add some baking soda to the boiling water. I also like to add a bay leaf sometimes while boiling, it gives a nice, subtle flavor. Of course you can substitute the navy beans for the traditional chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and following the same recipe accordingly. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to try them both! You can also substitute for canned beans, just be sure to rinse them really well, you may also consider adding less salt since canned beans already contain sodium.
Hummus is one of those recipes you can make your own very easily. If you like it spicy, add more garlic; if you want it more nutty, add more tahini; if you want it richer, add more olive oil, ect. I would personally suggest to go easy on the tahini at first, it can really over power the flavor.
Also try adding some roasted red peppers, chipotle seasoning, cilantro and tomatoes, or any other flavor buster you think sounds good!
It is such an easy and quick go to snack to have on hand for a pick-me-up or a last minute party tray idea!