I’m sure most of you are familiar with hummus — the Middle Eastern dip made of pulverized chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), tahini (sesame seed paste), and olive oil. It’s quite popular these days and you can find it in a multitude of flavors in the grocery store, from roasted garlic to spinach and artichoke.
If you’re a hummus fiend (like me), you probably go through at least one tub of hummus a week. Each tub costs about $3-4, so you’re spending upwards of $12 a month on your hummus addiction.
Stop the insanity and make it yourself. You could be making your own delicious hummus for at least half of what the pre-made brands charge.
Here’s a recipe for hummus that you’ve probably never had, let alone seen on store shelves: Baba Gha-Hummus. Baba Gha-what? It’s a combination of classic chickpea hummus and Baba Ghanoush — another Middle Eastern spread, this one made of roasted eggplant that’s also been blended with tahini, oil, and spices.
Even if you’re not a big fan of eggplant, trust me on this one. The roasted eggplant makes the dip creamy and adds a hint of smokiness. I also like to throw in a little paprika to amp up the smokiness and some lemon juice to add zing (the acidity enhances the other flavors).
The recipe calls for olive oil — healthy in moderation, but containing about 120 calories per tablespoon. To lighten the recipe up a little, substitute water for half of the olive oil.
Baba Gha-Hummus (Eggplant-Chickpea Spread)
Makes about 3-4 cups
1 medium-sized or 2 small eggplant
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame-seed paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced (or to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the sheet pan
Optional garnish: Chopped cilantro and/or parsley, drizzle of olive oil, pinch of spices
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut off the top of the eggplant and cut it in half lengthwise. Drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of a baking sheet pan, place the eggplant halves face down on the pan, then spread some oil on top of the eggplant skin.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the eggplant is tender (press down on the skin with a spatula to check; it should slightly cave in).
Remove from oven, turn eggplant over and let sit at room temperature until they’re cool enough to handle. When cooled, scoop out the roasted flesh and discard the skin.
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the chickpeas and pulse a few times to chop them up. Add in the eggplant, tahini, spices, garlic, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down the bowl once or twice. With the motor running, drizzle in the 3 tablespoons olive oil, adding more oil (or water) to smooth it out further.
Taste and season with more spices, lemon juice, or salt and pepper if needed. Keep in mind, the flavor will enhance after it sits in the fridge for a few hours, and it tastes even better the next day.
Serve with toasted pita, pita chips, or vegetable crudités.