Today our share is a bit different. We are sharing Humus (chickpeas or garbanzo beans) in four different ways. The four recipes are vegetarian and gluten-free. The first one is humus with tahini paste (humus dip); the second one is “humus balila” (a traditional Lebanese mezze with ground cumin and olive oil). The third recipe is a Moroccan salad. Usually Moroccan cuisine has a lot of dried fruit and spices in it.
Therefore, this salad is a mélange of sweet and spicy flavors. The fourth recipe is considered a Spanish tapas or mezze. It is chickpeas with crispy potatoes and spices. Therefore, the four plates are Mediterranean recipes with flavors, spices, and herbs that are originally from this region. Moreover, the garbanzo beans or chickpeas (humus) were originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Now they are spread and used all over the world. Chickpeas are mainly featured in Greek, Italian, Spanish, Indian, Portuguese and Middle Eastern cuisines.
The health benefits of chickpeas are so many. They are an excellent source of protein and fiber and are very rich with iron, Vitamin B6 and magnesium. Chickpeas contain folate and phytochemicals that fight cancer cells.
Chickpeas also contain Choline, which is a nutrient that reduces chronic inflammation (a very common symptom in Celiac patients). Most of the fiber in chickpeas is insoluble fiber, which is great for digestive health.


TIP
: To prepare for our four recipes, let us soak 1 kg of dried chickpeas in cold water overnight. The next day, drain the water off the chickpeas and sprinkle 2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda on the chickpeas (The bicarbonate of soda will help the chickpeas to cook fast and be tender). Shake well until all chickpeas are well coated. Keep them aside for 15 minutes, and then wash them very well with cold water. Put the chickpeas in a pot with water on high heat. Once they start to boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and let them simmer for 45 minutes or until done. You can use cans of cooked whole chickpeas to do all our recipes, but I prefer to cook my own chickpeas!

Recipe 1 (Humus with tahini paste)

Ingredients

- 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (or 2 cans of whole chickpeas, drained and washed)
- 2/3 cup tahini paste
- Juice of two lemons (or more depending on the taste)
- ¾ tsp salt
- 4 tbsp. cold water (really cold)
- 1 clove crushed garlic (optional)


Method

  1. Put the chickpeas in a food processor.
  2. Process the chickpeas until they form a paste.
  3. Add the tahini paste, lemon juice, salt, and garlic (if using) and start the processor again.
  4. Start adding the cold water gradually and stop once you reach a good consistency.
  5. Taste your dip and see if it needs more lemon juice or salt.
  6. Serve in a plate and drizzle good quality olive oil on top.
  7. You can garnish with chopped parsley or mint.
  8. Serve cold with mezze or with grilled meat and chicken.


Recipe 2 (Humus Balila)

Ingredients

- 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (or 2 cans of whole chickpeas, drained and washed)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 clove of crushed garlic (optional)


Method

  1. Put the cooked and still warm chickpeas in a deep bowl.
  2. Add to them the salt, ground cumin, and the crushed garlic (if using).
  3. Add the olive oil and mix well.
  4. Try to crush some of the chickpeas with the back of the spoon while mixing to give it a thick consistency.
  5. Serve warm.


TIP: Some people like to add lemon juice to the humus balila, but I prefer it without. I like the taste of ground cumin to be the dominant flavor. Enjoy humus balila with any Lebanese mezze plate.

Recipe 3 (Moroccan chickpeas and carrot salad)

Ingredients

- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, drained (or 1 can whole chickpeas, drained and washed)
- 1 cup (or 1 big carrot) grated carrots
- ½ cup chopped blanched almonds
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup chopped dried apricots (around 7-8 apricots)
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Dressing

- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp dried coriander seeds
- Sprinkle of cinnamon


Method

  1. Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add to it the dressing ingredients and mix well.
  3. Put the salad in a serving bowl and keep in the fridge for at least 1 hour for all the flavors to blend.
  4. Garnish the salad with some coriander leaves.
  5. Serve the salad on its own as a light lunch or as a side dish with grilled lamb or chicken.


Recipe 4 (Spanish tapas chickpeas with crispy potatoes and paprika)

Ingredients

- 1 ½ cooked chickpeas, drained (or 1 can whole chickpeas, drained and washed)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 medium size potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil (I use canola)
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp chili powder (optional)
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)


Method

  1. Put the oil (both) in a deep frying pan.
  2. Add the potatoes and cook on medium heat stirring every few minutes without crushing the potatoes.
  3. Cook the potatoes until well cooked and crisp from the outside.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the pan and put aside.
  5. Keep the remaining oil in the pan and add the diced onions.
  6. Add ¼ tsp of salt and cook well until the onions are soft and translucent.
  7. Add the chickpeas and cooked potatoes to the onion and stir well.
  8. Add all the spices, the remaining salt, and the chopped coriander and stir well.
  9. Take off the heat and put in a serving bowl.
  10. Garnish with some chopped coriander.
  11. Serve warm or cold.