Today we are celebrating peppers as part of the Food Network’s #FallFest. The thing I like the best about participating in Fall Fest is that everyone comes up with such different and interesting recipes for the same ingredient. The photographs are beautiful and make me want to make every single recipe!
One of my favorite dishes made with red bell peppers is hummus, a Mediterranean classic. Made with pureed garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) and tahini paste (roasted sesame seed puree), it is often seasoned with fresh lemon or lime juice, onions, garlic and cumin or fresh herbs. When you add roasted bell peppers, it becomes the most beautiful orange color, similar to pumpkin puree.
When I saw that color I knew that it would be absolutely the perfect post for Halloween! It would be so cute if you paired it with tortilla chips made from blue corn. They are dark gray and would make this a black and orange appetizer, just right for your Halloween party! And when served with deep yellow corn tortillas like I did, it would fit be right at home on your Thanksgiving buffet.
You have a choice of appliances for pureeing the ingredients, either a food processor or blender. My personal preference is a blender because it does a better job and produces a smoother puree. If you only have a food processor and the texture is too coarse for your taste, you can substitute canned white beans, which are not as coarse.
My recipes calls for you to roast the peppers yourself which gives the hummus a rich flavor. You can roast them in the oven, over the flame of a gas stove, or for even more smoky flavor, blacken them on your barbecue. That is my favorite – I love anything grilled! If time is short, you can also used canned roasted red peppers, but they won’t have nearly as much flavor.
Hummus is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan so it is a wonderful choice for large gatherings when you will be hosting people with a variety of dietary restrictions. Because you can make it so quickly, and in so many variations, I usually have some version of it at nearly every party I throw.
In addition to serving it as a dip for chips, try spreading some on tortillas and filling with your favorite grilled veggies for healthy vegetarian and gluten-free enchiladas. It can take the place of refried beans, which are often laden with fat. Look beyond the norm and see what other ways you can think up for including it in your diet.
This honestly couldn’t be easier to make or tastier. If you are trying to get more vegetables in your children’s diet, this is one way that they will actually enjoy!
I hope all the people dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy are able to relax a bit now and start the slow road back to normalcy. My thoughts are with you…
Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!
- 2 medium red bell peppers
- 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 chipotle pepper en adobo, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp tahini paste
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/8 tsp ground sumac, optional
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Minced fresh flat leaf parsley, for garnish
- Tortilla chips, pita chips, etc. for serving
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse bell peppers and pat dry. Place on a baking sheet (or directly on the grill) and bake about 30 minutes or until the skin is blackened and blistered, turning every 10 minutes with a pair of tongs. Peppers will soften as they bake. If you have a gas stove, you can hold the peppers with tongs over the open flame until blackened on all sides. You can also grill these for even more smoky flavor.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let steam about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the blackened skin and discard. Cut off the stem and remove seeds and ribs. Cut the peppers into chunks and transfer to a blender or food processor.
- Empty the garbanzo beans into a wire sieve and rinse with cold running water. Shake off most of the water and add to the blender. Add the chipotle pepper, lime juice, water, and olive oil. Blend, shaking if needed, until smooth. Add a little more oil or water if needed to loosen the mixture. Add the tahini, cumin, coriander, sumac (if using), shallots, and garlic. Blend until smooth. Use a long handled spoon if needed to move the ingredients around so that they can be pureed more easily.
- Add the salt and pepper; blend. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle the top with parsley if desired. Serve with chips for dipping.
- Store any leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Yield: about 2 cups
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