I love hummus but hardly ever make it. Usually I just get a store bought kind with some pita chips. But, you know that is pretty junky. I usually get it when I feel like snacking and that is not a good reason to eat hummus.
I decided to make my own but never had a real plan set on when to make it. Then one day I saw a recipe for a warm lentil hummus by chef Yotam Ottolenghi. I am somewhat obsessed with this guys food ever since I saw a BBC special where he went to some of the islands of the Mediterranean, called Ottolenghi’s Island Feast. What I loved about the show is how he would go to the houses of such humble and simple people and see what they were cooking.
It reminded me of the many people and places I knew while I was living in Sicily. And the way they cooked was so familiar. Anyway, since I first saw that show, I have been following him on social media and really getting into his recipes. His recipe for lentil hummus was what inspired me to make this version. It’s a little different than what he made, but it was the best hummus I have ever tasted!
He made his with Puy green lentils that he mashed and served warm. It looked very chunky and not much like hummus but I was intrigued. I had red lentils in the pantry and decided to use those, knowing that they would fall apart and be really creamy without needing to process them. I followed the recipe otherwise.
I started by boiling 2 cups of red lentil in water, covered by about 2 inches. I needed to add a bit more as it cooked though since it started getting dry, so make sure you keep an eye on them. They will absorb the water as rice would as opposed to the lentils Ottolenghi used that you boil like beans. You don’t want them to be too watery when they are cooked though since it will affect the texture of the hummus.
While the lentils were cooking I finely minced 2 cloves of garlic and smashed some cumin and coriander in my mortar and pestle. The coriander I ground up pretty fine but the cumin I like somewhat whole so they keep a bit of a bright flavor. I diced a medium sized tomato, squeezed the juice of a lemon and measured out the sesame tahini. I use a light roast so it isn’t so overpowering.
When the lentils were just about cooked, after about 15 minutes, I got the garlic and cumin cooking in a pan with olive oil, and added the tomato. Then, I added the cooked lentils directly to the pan with the garlic. You will know when the lentils are done when they start to fall apart and when you taste them they don’t have any bite left to them. I give everything a good stir then add the tahini, coriander and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. No need to mash or puree since the lentils will fall apart.
Ottolenghi recommended serving it warm with sliced red onion and good olive oil on top. This is when you want to use your VERY good olive oil that you don’t cook with. I didn’t have any red onion so I used some shallot instead. I plated it up in a nice dish, sprinkled some cumin on top along with the sliced shallots and brought out some home made pita bread. It came out amazing! Though, I will say that I prefer it room temperature over serving it hot. I think the flavors have time to develop when it is room temperature. It really changed dramatically in flavor.
Yes, you read that right. I made my own pita bread special for this. It was surprisingly easy but I won’t give the recipe at this time. they didn’t come out perfect so I am going to try a different recipe and write out the recipe when I get it right. They were simply delicious, but didn’t puff up properly to make it a pocket. Perfect to dip in some red lentil hummus, though!
The absolute best part of this recipe is that it was done in less than 20 minutes. It was almost no work. No food processor to clean. Nothing to really prep. It was all stuff that I had on hand so there was no need to go out shopping. I find making hummus with chick peas always leaves me unsatisfied because I can never get it as creamy as the store bought kind. This version is chunky, but it works better than a chunky chick pea hummus since there are no skins on the lentils and they really fall apart when cooking. Then there is the taste. Red lentils have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that works really well in a hummus.
If you stock your pantry properly, then you can make dishes like this anytime with little to no fuss. Make it this weekend for watching some football or maybe some night when the kids have gone to bed and you want to have a snack while you watch a movie. It really is that easy.
Let me know what you think of this recipe. And, of course, if you make it, I would love to see some pictures of it on Facebook or Instagram. And as usual, don’t forget to pin it on Pinterest or Yum it on Yummly!
- 2 cups red lentils
- 2 tablespoons of sesame tahini
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds, smashed
- ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cover the lentils in a sauce pot with water making sure to cover by 2 inches.
- Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until they are beginning to fall apart.
- When the lentils are cooked, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan and cook the garlic and cumin.
- Add the tomato and when it starts to break apart add the cooked lentils and stir.
- Add the tahini, lemon juice and salt an pepper and cook for about 1 minute.
- Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of good quality olive oil.