Sticker Shock: Mai’s Red Pepper Hummus Recipe

by Maile on January 7, 2014

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Sneaking out the door to the grocery (by the grace of God I am able to steal away several hours each week to go shopping BY MYSELF; a priceless gift, I know), Shawn shouted down to me from his office upstairs, “Babe, could you pick up some hummus while you’re out?” Draped in reusable grocery bags, an overloaded purse, and clanging empty milk bottles, I fished in my pocket for my list and quickly scrawled down the addition as I slipped out the door. If I don’t write it down, I forget it; yes, it’s already come to that.

Twenty minutes later, I found myself in the deli section of our local grocery store, searching through a cooler of specialty cheeses and meats, trying to locate the market’s limited supply of hummus. Nothing, I repeat, nothing could have prepared me for what I found. Nonchalantly poised below the red rimmed container of “supremely spicy hummus” was a price tag reading “$5.69”.

Five dollars and sixty-nine cents, my friends.

I don’t know that I’ve divulged this secret before, but I already have the unfortunate habit of talking to myself in public. I know folks usually graduate to this level of insanity sometime in their seventies or eighties. Just call me an overachiever. So there I stood in front of the smoked gouda and prosciutto and every living soul in the same aisle, audibly cursing the price I’d just read.

“Five sixty-nine! You’ve got to be kidding me! What in heavens name do they put this stuff to justify five sixty-nine! I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. Not with a clean conscience.” So I whipped my cart around, dismissing the image in my mind of Shawn’s disappointed face when I came home hummus-less, and rushed out of the aisle before I succumbed to guilt and bought the stupid stuff.

It was that incident that sent me on a search for a hummus recipe that was simple, cheap, and approved by Shawn’s taste buds. My efforts were quickly rewarded when I found Nigella Lawson’s “Red Pepper Hummus” recipe in her cookbook Nigella Express. If you are looking for a way to spend that Barnes and Noble gift certificate you got for Christmas, her cookbook would be a wonderful option; I love it and use it regularly.

Once I got comfortable with her hummus recipe, I decided to branch out and make it a little more “my own”, if you know what I mean. Her original recipe called for cream cheese; Shawn and I try to stay away from dairy so I substituted tahini instead and loved the results. A few other tweaks, and the recipe below was born. Sure, there’s an initial monetary investment (for olive oil and a jar of tahini paste) that would take you above the $5.69 price line, but you’ll soon be making this recipe on a weekly basis (because we do) and saving a little money in the process.

Mai’s Red Pepper Hummus

1, 14 oz. can chickpeas, drained

1, 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained

2 tbsp. tahini (This is sesame seed paste; you should be able to find it at bigger grocery stores.)

2 tbsp. garlic flavored oil

½ of a lemon or lime, juiced

1 tsp. smoked paprika

salt to taste

Throw everything in your food processor and mix on high for about 30 seconds. I eat this with EVERYTHING: pretzels, chips, cold veggies, hot veggies, all by itself with a big serving spoon; you name it, I’ve probably done it. Enjoy!

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