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Quick Hummus Recipe With Five Variations

Overspending at the gourmet shops? Make your own quick and easy hummus dip.

When you need a last-minute party appetizer, it's hard to resist stopping by Earth Fare and picking up a container of hummus. The chipotle variety alone is a reason to stop by even if you don't have a shindig in mind. Chop up some garden-fresh veggies or slice up a baguette, and you've got a quick, healthy dinner for one or two.

With the economy in the ditch, though, there's no good reason you need to spend gourmet shop prices on a dip that's such a quick fix. The main ingredient in hummus is a fifty-cent can of garbanzo beans, but the result is a Mediterranean-style dish that seems like more trouble than the 30 seconds it takes in a food processor.

The only pricey ingredient is tahini --a sesame seed paste that you can find at the International Market, the ethnic section of grocery stores, or in gourmet food shops. One jar costs between $5 and $7, but you will only use a small amount at a time. The jar will last you a year or two, and it keeps a long time (sort of like peanut butter).

Quick Basic Hummus Dip

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, to taste
  • 1 pinch salt

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.

For a smoky Whole Foods-style chipotle variety, add about a tbsp. of chipotle peppers in adobo (look for a can in the Mexican foods section of the grocery). The variations on hummus are practically endless. Try adding one of the following: 1-2 whole roasted red peppers, 1/4 cup Kalamata (Greek) olives, 1 tbsp. fresh chopped jalapeno, or 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes. You can also skip the oil for an almost fat-free version, if you're willing to sacrifice a dab of consistency.

When juicy, ripe Southern tomatoes are in season this summer, one of the best uses of hummus in the world is to spread it on bread with a thick slice of tomato, for a Southern style Mideast sandwich. And with the money you save making your own hummus, you can spend more on the juicy organic fruit on your next Whole Foods trip.

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