Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Roasted Garlic Red Lentil Hummus

Few things have a more alluring aroma in the kitchen than garlic roasting in an oven.  Maybe garlic hitting a hot pan of oil, but you can see where I'm heading with this.  I have made a few versions of hummus at home with recipes that typically call for traditional versions of chickpeas and raw garlic.  However, I've been disappointed with lackluster results and hummus that felt like it was missing something.  I played around with the idea of roasting garlic and swapped out the chickpeas for red lentils.  

Recently I have been drawn to the bulk section of my grocery store, perusing among bins of beans and legumes I have yet to try.  Red lentils caught my attention on my latest trip down this aisle.  Red lentils, really not red at all, but a bright orange hue, cook up quickly and don't require soaking time overnight.  I've enlisted the help of quite a few spices and flavors at work in this hummus version.  I've incorporated some cumin and coriander, topped it with a cilantro olive oil drizzle, and a sprinkle of pine nuts.

I used a whole head of roasted garlic in this recipe, which might seem like a lot, but really was just the thing that was missing.  Roasted garlic has a mellow, almost buttery flavor, and is not at all overpowering here.  The texture of the hummus is a bit lighter and less dense than you might be used to if you buy hummus.  Serve this up with pita chips, crackers, or crudite. 

~Roasted Garlic Red Lentil Hummus Recipe~

1 head garlic (1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for roasting)
1 cup lentils
2 cups water
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp pine nuts

Preheat oven to 400.˚  Remove the papery outer skins of the garlic heads, drizzle olive oil over top, and wrap in foil.  Bake until very soft and tender, about 45 minutes.  Once the garlic can be handled, squeeze the cloves from their skin and set aside.

Rinse and drain lentils.  Heat water in a pot over high heat.  Once it comes to a boil, add in the lentils.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until they are tender.  Drain and set aside.  First, add the roasted garlic cloves to the food processor and pulse.  Add in the lentils, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil, scraping down the sides of the food processor if necessary.  Pulse until you reach a smooth consistency.  Finally, add the cumin, coriander, and sea salt, pulsing to combine.  Transfer the ingredients to a bowl and refrigerate for a few hours.  Refrigerating the hummus will thicken the texture a bit and also allow the flavors to combine.

~Cilantro Drizzle~

small bunch of cilantro (5 oz.)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

To make the cilantro drizzle, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the olive oil and cilantro together.  Drizzle this mixture over the hummus.  Sprinkle with pine nuts.

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