sun dried tomato hummus

chickpea I’m dying for picnic season. I’m craving sunshine. I’m trying to be patient, and I know I have no other option, but how much longer do I have to wait to pack up some snacks, some wine, a deck of cards and an obnoxiously bright floral blanket and trek on over to the park for the day? The countdown is on, only 5 more days until spring is officially here. I hope Punxsutawney Phil was right and an early spring is on the way!

Hummus is a great snack for all seasons. Serve it warm with fresh pita on cold winter afternoon, or chilled with fresh, crisp vegetables on a breezy summer evening. This time around, as you know, my craving for hummus accompanies my craving for sunshine on my face and sandals on my feet. This is a great recipe that you can quickly whip up and stores for about a week in your fridge.

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Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a great source of protein and dietary fiber. They are high in iron, potassium, zinc and folate. They are a great snack on their own and are great for dips such as this hummus because they blend into a rich,  creamy paste.

Sun dried tomatoes were originally preserved in Italy as a means to store them through the winter. Like their fresh counterpart, they are packed full of lycopene, a carotenoid that is responsible for their vibrant red color as well as providing powerful antioxidants that are associated with lowering incidences of cancer and heart disease. They are also full of antioxidant rich vitamins A and C and valuable minerals such as calcium.

hummus

Ingredients

You can easily replace the dried chickpeas with canned if desired, just be sure to rinse them before use. If using dried beans, soak for 8-12 hours. I like to add a strip of kombu while I soak the beans, which adds minerals, flavor and makes makes beans more digestible. Remove the kombu before pureeing the chickpeas.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight ½ cup sun dried tomatoes 3 cloves garlic 2 tablespoon tahini ½ cup olive oil ¼ - 1/2 cup water juice and zest of 1 lemon pinch of cayenne salt and pepper

Soak chickpeas for 8-12 hours with a strip of kombu. Rise, add fresh water to cover by several inches and simmer for approximately 60 minutes, or until the chickpeas are very tender. Do not add salt while cooking, as salt often hardens beans during the cooking process.  Drain and remove kombu.

If using dehydrated sun dried tomatoes, soak in water for about 20 minutes to soften. I prefer to use sun dried tomatoes in oil for this recipe as the oil adds extra flavor.

Place garlic and tomato in food processor and pulse to chop a little. Add all remaining ingredients except the water and puree until smooth. Add water slowly until desired consistency is reached.