This is my last post of the year. I started this blog in January along with a Whole 30 like challenge to help me change up and shake up my life. And it has been a successful journey – I quit my old job, was offered a new job that is better for me in every way at this stage in my career, have upped my game in the kitchen and discovered my creative juices in vegetarian recipe creation. While I don’t eat in a Whole 30-like fashion year round, it forced me to experiment on myself with elimination diets, do a bit of research and listen to others in terms of their dietary needs. I don’t have a problem with legumes, but people I know do. If they can’t eat chickpeas, they don’t often get to enjoy hummus which is unfortunate because I find it to be the best dipping sauce, best condiment, and best veg protein substitute. So to give my legume-free friends an experience with hummus, I created a chickpea-free hummus with zucchini, almonds, cashews and tahini.
While the Zohan may say you don’t mess with the hummus and Middle Easterners may think this is crazy, it is possible to create a hummus without legumes. The key tastes in hummus come from the tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), lemon, garlic and fat. You could go crazy and make a tahini, or you can just buy a good quality one that is paleo friendly.
The chickpeas offer a lot of protein and fiber. Unfortunately most use canned chickpeas which are fine, but they are well…canned. Dried chickpeas require both soaking and cooking. And while that is not a big problem , it does make an alternate appealing. Zucchinis are not that starchy or fibrous, but they are versatile – they can be used as noodles replacing pasta, made into a sweet type of bread, be stuffed and so much more. I thought they would serve as a good substitute. To add in protein, I simply used almonds. To add creaminess and fat, I used cashews.
The recipe is simple. Soak almonds and cashews overnight. Peel and roughly chop zucchini.
Puree the nuts with olive oil until smooth. Set aside. Puree zuchhini, tahini, garlic, lemon, olive oil and spices until smooth. Add in the pureed nuts, and puree until incoporpated, adding a little of water (what I used) or olive oil (if you want it a little heavier, richer in flavor) as needed. Serve. That’s it.
The hummus is thick but lighter than a regular hummus. I served it with rainbow carrot sticks.
This was simply spiced with garlic and cumin, but the possibilities are endless.
Add spices and flavors as you blend – from roasted artichoke to spicy sweet potato to jalepeno. Or simply top with cayenne, paprika and olive oil. Or olive oil and sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Get creative!
I added cayenne and served it with beer battered green beans. This was not for my legume-free friends as I breaded them with a chickpea based beer batter. I used the same beer batter I used for my avo-taco. The zucchini nut based hummus diversified the flavors and protein.
This is another one I can make to lighten up the fare during my travels to visit my in-laws in France for the holidays.
And that is it for 2015. What a year. This blog has helped me so much. Food can change your life. It helped me find myself again – my passion and creativity. It helped me reconnect with people. I never expected to have people follow me or even read this – in the end it was just for me. I thank you so much for taking this journey with me and I look forward to continuing to create with you in 2016.
Legume-free Zucchini Almond Hummus
- 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight (with or without skin)
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight
- 2 medium zucchini, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup raw tahini
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3-5 cloves garlic, peeled (depends on your liking of garlic)
- 1 Tbs cumin
- 2 Tsp salt
Drain almonds and cashews and place into a food processor with 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend, pushing down the sides as needed, until smooth (about 5-10 minutes depending on the food processor). Set aside. Place zucchini, tahini, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, garlic, salt and cumin into the food processor and blend until smooth. Add back in pureed nuts and blend adding a small amount of water (1 tsp at a time) or olive oil until smooth and at desired consistency. Store covered in fridge up to one week.