Perfectly smooth, practically no-fat red pepper hummus.

I’ve been going through homemade hummus like it’s my job lately, dipping pita chips, crackers, fresh vegetables (and yes, even my finger) in it. A few slices of cucumber, carrot and red pepper with a tablespoon or two of homemade hummus is my go-to afternoon snack.

But a couple of weeks ago, I learned a tip for making hummus that totally changed the game. As we worked together to prep for my class at the Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield, sous chef Ellen Mueller told me this: peel the chickpeas. A chef who taught a class on Middle Eastern cooking insisted that they peel chickpeas for hummus; at first, she was bugged by the extra work, but the results were fantastic. The creamiest, smoothest hummus she’d ever had.

So, do this. Peel the chickpeas. It took me less than 10 minutes to peel 2 cans of chickpeas. It’s kind of fun, actually: You squeeze a chickpea between your fingertips, and it just pops right out of its skin. And when you see the pile of tough skins in the sink, you’ll totally get why this task makes a difference.

Even better, this homemade red pepper hummus recipe is very low in fat, as it uses just a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil instead of tahini for a ton of sesame flavor with just a bit of oil. The Greek yogurt adds tart flavor smooth texture without any fat at all. You can skip the red pepper, if you want old-school plain hummus, or add more garlic or roasted tomatoes or any kind of herb you like. Give it a try: I’m pretty sure you won’t go back to the $5 tub of store-bought hummus again.

low-fat roasted red pepper hummus recipe

makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 cans chickpeas
1 red bell pepper
1 large clove garlic
1 (7-oz.) container nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat broiler. Halve the bell pepper and remove seeds and stem; press with your hand to flatten. Place the pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until it's completely charred, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with the foil and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel and cut into large pieces.

Drain the chickpeas into a colander, rinse with warm water and peel them by squeezing each chickpea between your fingers to pop the bean out of the skin. Discard skins. In a food processor with the metal blade, combine the peeled chickpeas, roasted red pepper, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice and sesame oil. Process to a smooth and creamy puree, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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