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Hollywood Bowl Picnic – Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Posted Jul 28 2010 11:11am

Ah, hummus… the vegan’s best friend.  Hummus tends to be the first thing people choose to serve to vegans when they aren’t sure what else to make for them, and is often the only thing a vegan can eat a a party that’s chock full of cheese and salami plates.  You know, like at all the cheese and salami parties your friends throw throughout the year.

I made this hummus for a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl , and while I kind of like most hummus, I really love a great hummus.  There’s a definite difference, and because it’s such a go-to I’ve had plenty of chances to discern the mediocre from the truly great.  I’m also not a huge fan of tahini , so I tend to prefer a hummus where sesame isn’t the predominate flavor.  One of my favorite hummus recipes is in “The Native Foods Cookbook” .  It’s tahini free and really lemony.

I recently started liking red bell peppers (I used to hate them so much that I couldn’t even eat anything they touched), so I wanted to try to make a roasted red pepper hummus.  As for why I now like a food that I used to hate, I’m not sure what the reasons are apart from the fact that I kept trying them in the hopes that at some point I’d like them.  I’m trying the same thing with beets and olives, but I’m still a long way from liking either one of those.

This recipe is a work in progress, party because this was my first time ever roasting red peppers, let alone adding them to hummus.  The red peppers at the Farmers’ Market looked so good that I couldn’t resist buying three, but I probably could have gone with one.  I ended up making a lot of adjustments as I went along (like adding a second can of chickpeas to balance out the peppers), and as a result this makes a ton of hummus!

Once I made this it seemed like it was still missing something, and I knew it was probably tahini.  Since I don’t ever have tahini on hand I added some sesame seeds, which you can use if you have a high-speed blender. If not, you’ll probably want to stick with tahini so that the finished product is smooth.  I’ll definitely be revisiting this recipe, because while it was really good (Ryan loved it), I didn’t feel like it was quite there.  If you have any tips from your own hummus making adventures, I’d love to hear them!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

3 red bell peppers, roasted (see Notes)
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, or tahini (see Notes)

Place the ingredients in a food processor (if using tahini) or a high speed blender.  Process until smooth, adding more lemon juice or salt to taste.

Serve with pita wedges or crackers.

Notes: I have a ceramic stove-top so I followed the oven instructions in “Veganomicon” to roast the red peppers.  You basically want to half and de-seed them, spray them with olive oil, and lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast them in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes or so.  I’m not sure how much tahini you would use in place of 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds.  I’d start with 2 tablespoons of tahini, and add more if needed.

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