One of my co-workers belongs to the same CSA as the Gent and I do, and we greet each other every Tuesday with the same gleeful phrase, “Happy CSA Day!” It’s amazing how much we look forward to Tuesdays now that they mean a tote bag full of delicious, fresh-picked, locally grown vegetables. While I am constantly compiling lists of new recipes to experiment with our CSA haul, sometimes I’m inspired to enjoy the bounty as simply as possible. Sometimes, whipping up a bowl of fresh hummus to accompany a pile of sliced, raw veggies feels like as much of a treat as cooking an elaborate entree.
Hummus makes a great canvas for experimentation. Really all you need are chickpeas, a bit of nut or seed butter for creaminess, a bit of acid, a bit of oil, and flavorings. Traditionally, the seed butter is tahini (sesame seed paste), the acid is lemon juice, the oil is olive, and the flavoring is garlic, but the possibilities are endless. If you don’t regularly stock tahini in your larder, there’s no need to make a special trip to the market. This recipe tastes great with either peanut butter or sunbutter (and no doubt another nut butter would do the trick just as nicely). In place of lemon juice, I used a sweet and sticky fig balsamic vinegar from Vom Fass. I love garlic and peanut butter together, and both garlic and olive oil are powerfully anti-inflammatory foods, so I stuck with a little bit of tradition there. Finally, I added a smoky Spanish paprika to balance the sweetness of the fig balsamic. You’re welcome, CSA veggies.
I prefer to use dried chickpeas that I’ve cooked in the slow cooker and frozen ahead of time (just thaw the chickpeas first), but you can also use canned. If you’re a regular visitor, you already know my feelings about the importance of avoiding BPA in canned goods.
Sweet & Smoky Hummus
2 cups chickpeas
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp peanut butter or sunbutter
3 Tbsp fig balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt to taste
Add all of the ingredients except the salt to the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Salt to taste. Serve drizzled with additional olive oil and sprinkled with additional smoked paprika, if desired. Keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days, or in the freezer for 3 weeks.