Hummus has been around for a long, long time. It was the ultimate “fast” food that was easy to carry. When Bedouin tribes traveled with their herds from place to place, carrying dried grains that were ground up was a lightweight and economical option. It also was a great source of protein. I am so glad that it has become one of the “in” foods. High in protein, good quality monounsaturated fats and delightful flavor…what’s not to like? Here’s a fast, easy and very budget friendly version.
What makes it especially economical is the use of whole sesame seeds instead of Tahini in a jar. Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds that adds tremendous flavor to this dish and It’s rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron, not to mention essential amino acid Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification. It is also high in Vitamin E and a host of B vitamins and calcium. It’s the ultimate brain food.
So let’s get to the recipe.
2 cans (15 oz) of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds
juice of half a large lemon
2 cloves of fresh garlic, roughly chopped
kosher salt to taste
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
In a food processor, dump in the garbanzo beans and pulse a few times. Add the sesame seeds (you pulse the garbanzo beans first so the sesame seeds don’t fall to the bottom of the processor) and garlic and pulse 3 or 4 times. Add in lemon juice and turn on the food processor. As the processor is doing its work, begin to drizzle in the olive oil through the lid opening until the mixture begins to get nice and smooth. Add salt to taste and pulse a few times. Pour into a bowl and drizzle a bit more good quality olive oil. Serve with Pita bread, vegetable strips or Pita chips and enjoy. Makes 2 1/2 cups. Serving size 1/2 cup. Cost per serving 48 cents.
There are days when things get super hectic. Today was one of those days. Time got away from me and I had to prepare dinner quickly. This is one of those dishes that packs a punch nutritionally along with exceptional taste and all that under 30 minutes. I had picked up some great food bargains at the grocery earlier which included gorgeous red, yellow and orange bell peppers and fresh flat leafed parsley. Armed with all these colors and textures I was ready for a quick meal of pepper pesto. “Pesto” in Italian means to pound or crush, basically what you’d do with a mortar and pestle. You can make a “pesto” out of a myriad of combinations not just the traditional Basil Pesto. Roasting the vegetables intensifies the flavors and makes the pesto a rich and delicious delicacy. This one was definitely a winner!
Here’s the recipe:
Roasted Sweet Pepper Pesto and Chicken Pasta
5-6 variety of red, orange and yellow bell peppers cut into large chunks
1 large red onion, cut into chunks
6 whole cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup rough chopped flat leafed Parsley
16 oz Fuscilli, bow tie or a curly noodle
1 cup cooked chicken, cut into small pieces
In a large 5 quart pan bring water and salt to boil for the pasta. In the meantime cut the bell peppers and onion into large chunks, toss with salt and pepper and a little drizzle of olive oil and place in a large cookie sheet. In a small ramekin or oven safe bowl, place the whole, peeled cloves of garlic and pour in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Place ramekin in the corner of the cookie sheet filled with the peppers and onions and roast at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Take out the roasted peppers and onions and place them into a food processor, add the whole garlic cloves and the Parmesan cheese. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the garlic flavor oil, reserving a couple of tablespoons. The peppers and onions should get blended well. Add in 1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leafed parsley and pulse a few times to incorporate.
In a large skillet heat the reserved garlic flavored olive oil and add the pesto mixture and stir for a few minutes. Add in chicken and cooked pasta and toss together. Serve immediately and enjoy.
It’s Spring Break time. My house is full of 8 hungry college students who arrived famished from a road trip. I decided to use the Spinach Basil Pesto http://kolpona.com/2012/03/17/spinach-basil-pesto/ I just put together to come up with a pasta dish. It turned out great if the empty plates were any indication.
Here’s the recipe:
Spinach Chicken Alfredo
16 oz of Fettuccine
3 whole cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
4 tablespoons of Spinach Basil Pesto (see recipe)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons of flour
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken cut into pieces
large handful of fresh Spinach leaves
1 pint of Heavy Cream
2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of Parmiaggiano Reggiano Cheese
1/2 cup of Mozzarella cheese
In a 5 quart pan boil water with 5- 6 tablespoons of salt (should be like sea water) and cook pasta for about 8 minutes. In the mean time, in a large skillet heat olive oil and butter. Add salt, fresh cracked pepper and minced garlic and sauté about a minute until garlic releases its fragrance. Add spinach pesto and stir for about 30 seconds. Add flour to the mixture and cook for about a minute to get the starchy flour smell out. Slowly begin to add heavy cream and whole milk and stir until mixture begins to thicken. This should take about 3-4 minutes. When mixture has thickened nicely, add parmiaggiano Reggiano and mozzarella and stir until melted and incorporated into a smooth sauce. Add chicken to the mixture. Add in cooked pasta and toss. Serve warm with fresh grated cheese on top.
I was recently at Whole Foods and I couldn’t believe how much they were charging for a 6 oz container of pesto. I am NOT about to pay almost $5 for something that can be made in seconds and taste so much better fresh. I love fresh Spinach and since today also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to make my version of fresh pesto. After all its so green!! Spinach and basil makes a great combination. So delicious, so versatile!
Ingredients at a glance
Toast the Pine nuts in a dry skillet
Mix all ingredients in food processor
This is the glamour shot.
I love to store the pesto in individual packages, usually in a 1/2 cup or 1 cup servings along with the date.
Then I put the individual packs inside a bigger ziplock bag and freeze them. They keep for 3-4 months in the freezer and you can just heat it up to use it with pasta, as a pizza sauce, with chicken dishes. The possibilities are endless.
Here’s the recipe:
Spinach Basil Pesto
4 cups tightly packed fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup of fresh basil
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup olive oil
½ cup Parmiaggiano Reggiano cheese
In a dry skillet add the pine nuts and heat over medium high heat until lightly brown and toasted. Should only take about 4-5 minutes. Let cool.
Place all ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor and turn it on, in a slow drizzle begin to add olive oil through the dispenser until mixture is well incorporated. Take out and serve immediately with any type of pasta, with chicken or pizza sauce or can put in individual ziplock bags and freeze for up to 4 months. Cost per 1 cup serving (8 oz) is only 50 cents. A far cry from the price of $5 for 6 oz.