Thursday, February 17, 2011

MMMMediterranean Munchies

We love to snack on hummus at our house.  I like to make it at home and have played around with different versions.  This one is a little healthier because I didn't use the tahini (sesame paste) and I used very little oil.  I read a trick once where you reserve some of the liquid from the can of beans and use it to thin the hummus.  It kind of grossed me out, but I tried it to cut calories.  It worked and it was great, but I do have to drain the liquid into a cup, not a glass.  I don't like the looks of it and the cup keeps me from having to see it.  I just set my colander right over a cup and dump in the beans.  All the liquid goes into the cup and I can use what I need and dump out the rest.  Using this liquid instead of olive oil means you aren't getting much flavor, so you have to add more to the dip to get a flavorful punch.  I came up with this roasted red pepper and sun dried tomato version that was really good. 
Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato "Hummus"  
1 can Garbanzo Beans (sometimes called chickpeas)
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon
2 T Mediterranean seasoning (*see note)  
2 pieces of the roasted red peppers from a jar
About 2 T of julienne cut sun dried  tomatoes and about a T of the oil from the jar
2 whole garlic cloves
1/4-1/2 c of crumbled feta ( I used fat free)
salt and cracked pepper to taste
*NOTE: I picked the McCormick Mediterranean spice mix up on a whim and it's good, but if you don't have it or can't find it, just throw in some red pepper flakes, oregano, rosemary, thyme and paprika.  The seasoning really is to taste so use what you have and skip what you don't.
Put all ingredients except feta into food processor.  Pulse until thoroughly combined.  It will seem a little dry; this is where you want to add the olive oil OR reserved liquid a little at a time and pulse until you like the consistency.  I used about 2 T oil and a little less than 1/4 c of liquid.   Once you get it how you like it, add the feta and pulse a couple of times to distribute it throughout.  You want to still be able to see the cheese, so don't get carried away.  I actually had some flat leaf parsley that needed to be used and I threw it in with the cheese.  Delicious, but not necessary.

This dip is great with celery sticks, baby carrots, pita chips, or warm pita bread.  I used it as a spread on our Mediterranean chicken pitas the night I made it and that was delish!  I hesitate to share the picture with you because it really didn't photograph well, but it'll give you some idea of what it should look like. The color from the peppers and tomatoes is great and you can see little flecks of color from the seasonings and the parsley. The feta is still visible since we didn't pulse it to death, remember?  So, don't judge this dip by it's poor picture.  Whip up a batch so you can see it (and taste it) in real life.

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