Hummus, a simple chickpea spread, is a traditional Arab dish that has taken hold in United States, thanks in part to brilliant marketing. There is even an international holiday. Hummus preparation varies regionally in the Middle East, preserving the same basic ingredients: chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Dips are a great choice for cooking with kids. They also make the perfect snack, although don’t expect toddlers to grasp the concept of “dipping” immediately. Many will simple stick their hands into the spread– literal finger food. If you don’t have a safety blender like the one pictured below, you can either use a traditional motorized blender or puree the ingredients by hand–placing the chickpeas in a ziploc bag and letting your helper (gently) squash them from the outside.

Here is our recipe for classic hummus as well as a few of our favorite variations:

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HUMMUS

Serves 8

1 15-ounce can chickpeas

1 lemon, juiced

¼ cup tahini

1 small clove garlic, minced

½-1 teaspoon sea salt, depending on taste

½ teaspoon ground cumin

2 to 3 tablespoons water

Dash of ground paprika for serving

Combine the lemon juice and tahini for 30 seconds to 1 minute using an immersion blender to make a creamier hummus. Add in garlic, cumin and salt. Blend for 30 seconds to combine. Add in chickpeas half a can at a time. Blend until smooth, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time to help smooth.  

Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkle of paprika, with sliced veggies or pita chips for dipping. You can also top with a few toasted pepitas or sliced olives if you have them on hand.

 

 

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SPRING PEA & FAVA BEAN GUACAMOLE

Makes 1 cup

¾ cup or so cooked fava beans

½ cup cooked fresh peas

2-3 mint leaves

½ tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon grated pecorino romano (optional)

½ teaspoon lemon juice or more to taste

 

Combine all ingredients except the cheese and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and blend until just pureed- mostly smooth but with a few chunks.

Add the grated pecorino and lemon juice, a little at a time, just before serving.

Serve with pita chips, toasted baguette, or fresh veggies for dipping.

 

WHITE BEAN HUMMUS WITH SPINACH

Serves 8

1 15-ounce can white northern beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic

⅓ cup spinach, chopped into thin slices

½ teaspoon salt

Combine beans, olive oil, lemon, and garlic in food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, stir in spinach and salt.

Serve with sliced vegetables.

 

BEET HUMMUS

Serves 6

1/2 pound beets (about 3-4 medium), roasted, steamed, or jarred (not pickled)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine beets, garlic, lemon juice, mint leaves, olive oil, cumin and salt in a food processor (or use an immersion blender). Blend until smooth. Transfer to serving dish and top with chopped mint leaves as garnish.

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