Super Simple Hummus + Sweet Potato & Lemon Salad

Super Simple Hummus + Sweet Potato & Lemon Salad

Hummus is one of those things- once you make it yourself, you’ll never want to buy it off the shelf again.  The thought of making hummus might be a little overwhelming, but it really is the simplest thing to make.  Take my word for it!  I love having hummus on hand in the fridge, it’s a simple way to brighten up any meal.  I love a big dollop on my salad for lunch, dunking a lamb cutlet into it with dinner, or simply eating it on toast and flatbread or crackers when entertaining.  It’s such a versatile thing!

I have read and made many hummus recipes to try and work out my favourite combination of ingredients and balance of flavours.  There are ongoing feuds over which ingredients go in (and when) to this popular Middle Eastern dish.  Each city from Istanbul to Jerusalem has a different idea of how it should be done! 

Hummus is delicious with almost anything, and it’s pretty good for you too.  There are very few ingredients used, chickpeas being the base of this almighty dip.  The chickpea is rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, which helps with digestion.  They are high in protein, with levels comparable to that of meat and dairy, making hummus a great addition to any meal for vegetarians and vegans.  Chick peas are low GI, packed with iron and manganese, the list goes on!

So for this week’s post I thought I’d team the hummus with a lovely winter salad, to give you a recipe that can be eaten as a complete meal after you make the dip.  Sweet potatoes are plentiful and reasonable at the moment, and are great roasted for a simple easy dinner or lunch.

INGREDIENTS
Hummus-
1 cup dried chickpeas
½ tsp bi carb soda
6 tbs tahini
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
Juice of 1 ½ lemon
2 generous pinches sea salt

Sweet Potato Salad-
4 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 tbs olive oil, to roast the sweet potatoes
3 shallots, finely chopped
¼ bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 ½ lemons
1 tsp sumac
2 tbs olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

HOW IT'S DONE
Hummus-
The key to making a good hummus is in the quality of the chickpea used.  It’s best to buy dried, organic chickpeas from your local markets or grocer.  It’s a must!  I promise the difference between using canned and dried is similar to the flavour difference between canned and fresh tuna.  You’ll end up with a fuller flavoured, creamier and an all round better hummus. 

The first thing you need to do is soak the chickpeas for 12 hours.  So if you’re making it for an occasion be sure to begin the night before.

In a large bowl completely cover the chickpeas with water and make sure they have another 2 inches of water above them.  Add the bi carb soda to the water, this helps the chickpeas to soften.  After soaking for 12 hours rinse them thoroughly with cold water.  In a large saucepan boil the chickpeas like you would a pot of pasta, however for at least 45 minutes or until the chickpeas begin to fall apart in the pan.  You may need to top the pan up with water during this process so make sure you keep an eye on them.  Once the chickpeas begin to fall apart, drain the remaining water into a bowl and set aside.  You may need this starchy water when blitzing up the chickpeas a little later.

Using a food processor, blitz the cooked chickpeas for 2 minutes or until they turn into a paste.  Add the tahini, lemon, salt, cumin and olive oil and blitz again for 2 minutes.  If the hummus is a little stiff add a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid to help thin it out.  Blitz until completely smooth and velvety.  At this stage it is up to you if you want to add a little more lemon or tahini.  I find this recipe works for me but feel free to add a little more of anything to suit your tastebuds!

The hummus will keep in the fridge for around 7 to 10 days.  This recipe makes quite a bit so I always end up sharing it with friends and family!

Sweet Potato Salad-
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Peel the sweet potatoes and quarter lengthways.  Toss them in olive oil and place on a baking tray in the oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through and a little crispy.  On a large serving platter spread approx. 8 tablespoons of the hummus using the back of a spoon.  Lay the sweet potato on top and scatter with parsley, shallots and sumac.  Peel the whole lemon and slice into segments, scattering over salad.  This adds a lovely zing to the dish.  Squeeze the remaining half of the lemon over the salad and finish with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  This is great by itself or served with grilled fish, chicken or lamb.

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