Smoky Roasted Pepper Hummus (Why Should You Avoid Store Bought?)
I was in college when I first tried this smoky roasted pepper hummus. I was very fortunate to take a class that teaches about cooking and food. This was one of my favorite classes and the only one that allowed me to do things that I was passionate about. Some of you may know that I came from Bulgaria to study in an American college. As a foreigner, I rarely felt confident due to language barrier. The only place where my insecurities disappeared was the cooking lab. In every class we’ve studied about different ingredients and methods of cooking and then we had to practice what we’ve learned. The best part was that at the end of each food lab we’ve tasted the meals we’ve prepared. That was my happy place.
One time in class we had to make a red pepper hummus and I loved it so much. I started making it for my family every other week. Over the time I’ve changed the recipe completely to adjust it to my taste better. I’ve added two of my favorite spices, smoked paprika and cumin. These spices add the smoky flavor to the hummus. That is why I called my recipe, smoky roasted pepper hummus. The proportions of the tahini and the lemon juice were different in the original recipe as well. Basically, I took a familiar recipe that I love, and I changed it to something that I can’t stop eating.
Improvisation and creativity are very important in cooking. Trust your instincts when you are in the kitchen and you can discover new flavors and textures. As soon as you get comfortable with a recipe add something from yourself in it to make it special.
Why should you make your own hummus?
There are many brands of ready to eat hummus at the grocery store. Then why should you make your own?
Unfortunately, there are very few hummus producers that use quality ingredients in their products. Most store bought hummus contains inferior quantity oils like canola, peanut or sunflower. Good quality hummus is always made with extra virgin olive oil. That a law!!! If you see a brand that uses other type of oil in their product, then that product cannot be called hummus.
Other unwanted ingredients found in store bought hummus:
Sugar – absolutely unnecessary. Sugar and corn syrup don’t belong in any original hummus recipe.
Artificial Coloring – may cause allergies, some type of cancer, ADHD and mental problems.
Artificial and Natural Flavors – both made in a lab by chemicals. Natural flavors are actual scents and flavors that exist in nature like lemon or mint. In the lab scientists may develop 50 different lemon flavors (ripe, more sour, sun kissed) and they are all called natural. Although, there is nothing natural about them.
Artificial flavors don’t exist in nature. Examples are flavors like bubble gum or cotton candy.
Side effects of both artificial and natural flavors could be allergic reactions, abdominal and respiratory problems.
Carrageenan – a popular thickener and a stabilizer. It is proven to be highly inflammatory and it is linked to some types of cancer.
Preservatives -potassium sorbate is a very popular preservative that is usually added to hummus (Sabra uses it). It increases shelf life, but could cause stomach upset and damage the immune system.
Making hummus at home is cheep, easy and you are in control of the ingredients. If you use canned chickpeas you can prepare it in 5 minutes and serve a quality dip to your loved ones.
Please Note: I’m not a doctor or a dietitian. Everything written in my blog post is my own opinion. I’m not qualified to give medical advice!
Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- 1 can chickpeas 15 oz drain and save 1/4 cup of the liquid
- 1 roasted red bell pepper remove seeds and skin
- 1 medium sized garlic clove finely chopped or pressed
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus a bit more for drizzling on top
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp smoked paprika plus more for dusting on top
- ½ tsp cumin
- salt to taste
- Start by roasting your bell pepper. I roast my pepper on the grill, but you can also do it in the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes by rotating the pepper every 3-5 minutes. You can also use a roasted pepper from a jar, but they usually have added acid to them which can change the flavor of the humus.
- Peel and remove the seeds of the bell pepper. I do that over cold running water, because the pepper is hot.
- Drain the chickpeas and safe ¼ cup of the liquid from the can.
- Add all the ingredients in a food processor and blend them until you get a smooth hummus.
- Serve drizzled with olive oil and dusted with some smoked paprika.