It’s time for part 3 of my 4-week “dips” series! If you’re not caught up, I tried tahini in part 1 and labneh in part 2, both with relative success, which means the dips series lives on! For this week, hummus was a natural next dish to try.
Several people had suggested it, particularly since you can make your own with my new friend, tahini. But I knew that the texture might be an issue—I don’t do beans or their chalky, grainy texture.
But for the sake of the blog, I pulled up my big girl pants and started looking up ways to make the least grainy hummus possible.
My research landed me on Inspired Taste’s roasted red pepper hummus recipe, which broke down the keys to creamy hummus: peeling the chickpeas, whipping the tahini first, adding the chickpeas to the food processor in two batches, and when all else fails, blending the nonsense out of everything. Peeling the chickpeas was certainly tedious, but a 15 minutes well spent to avoid grainy hummus, in my opinion.
And, yes, I did make roasted red pepper hummus to increase the likelihood of me enjoying it. Part of my philosophy when it comes to trying new foods is to pair them with something you already know you like to minimize the “scary, new flavors.” Eating like an adult takes baby steps sometimes!
As nervous as I was about this, I actually enjoyed it! I dipped my pinky into the food processor before adding the roasted red peppers to try the hummus plain. This was a mistake. I wasn’t ready for it. I’ll try again another time (maybe).
But confident that the roasted red peppers would be the game changer I needed, I gave the final product another shot. The sweetness from the peppers, acidity from the lemon juice, and nuttiness/creaminess from the tahini (and fine, maybe the chickpeas) came together as a great vessel for baby carrots during my workday.
There was one place where I went wrong: the recipe calls for 1/2 tsp of ground cumin. I don’t love cumin unless it’s mixed with a bunch of other spices (read: I don’t like it at all), so I’m not really sure why I thought this time would be any different. I just hoped that since it was such a small amount, it wouldn’t overpower the peppers and lemon juice.
Maybe I’m just sensitive to cumin, but it was definitely 1/2 tsp too much for my hummus. The more carrots I dipped into my bowl, the more upset I got about the cumin. I added a little more peppers to try to temper the spice’s flavor, which helped, but next time, I’ll definitely leave it out completely.
Overall, I enjoyed my baby carrots and red pepper hummus for lunch two days in a row and have already fantasized new riffs: lemon pepper? everything bagel seasoning? Pesto hummus???
But there’s a catch.
After all, I didn’t write the world’s most dramatic blog post title for nothing (or maybe I did, you be the judge).
The morning after my first hummus experience, the skin next to my lips and on my chin was itchy, dry, and a little red. That certainly wasn’t normal but also not a huge cause for alarm.
I went on to have hummus again for lunch, later that day.
By that night, the itchiness had subsided, but my chin was super dry, and I was becoming more concerned with the cause. After talking it out with my boyfriend, we realized that the only thing different about my life in the last couple days was…wait for it…the hummus.
And then the next morning, the itchiness spread to my forearm.
Could this new healthy snack I had come to enjoy be turning on me? Those close to me know that I swear to be allergic to bananas even though my healthcare-professional mother claims that isn’t true (I don’t love that about her). So, naturally, the next morning I sent said healthcare-professional mother a text to tell her about this new development, with the introduction, “OK hear me out on this one.”
We developed a few theories on the source of the dry, itchy skin, so I’m not willing to excommunicate hummus forever quite yet. I’ve avoided them for the past four days, stopped using the newish face lotion I had been using, and washed my bed sheets and towels. My skin is definitely getting better, but to know for sure if I need to disavow chickpeas, I’ll need to try them again this week.
I will definitely keep you all posted on if hummus has a place in my life going forward. Of course, if you don’t hear from me in the next week, send the police to Goya headquarters—the chickpeas killed me.
And on that cheery note, let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @thepickyeaterchronicles what your favorite hummus flavors are! If tomorrow’s experiment doesn’t give me itchy skin, I’ll give them a try, and if it does, I’ll ignore them forever!