I live in a pretty…er…cosmopolitan city in Canada. If there’s any food item in the entire world I want to find, if it’s legal, it’s likely for sale somewhere around here. To be honest, I could probably find it even if it were not legal, but I’m a Good Girl (snerk), so I wouldn’t know anything about that! I once long ago had a workmate who hailed from South Africa, and when she visited family in Johannesburg, she brought back some apparently banned-from-import ostrich jerky. Knowing my city, she probably could have found it here somewhere if she had known where to look.
Ahem, in any case…back to the story at hand.
Tahini (sesame seed paste/puree), one of the key ingredients in the Middle Eastern dip/spread known as hummus, isn’t actually difficult for me to find. However, the catch for me is that I don’t like it. I find it bitter and slightly rancid-smelling, which as you can imagine is seriously off-putting (which is weird because I love halvah, which is sesame seed paste mixed with lots of honey, go figure).
So what to do? I do love me some hummus, especially the really tasty small-batch commercially prepared hummus, because, to be honest, they tend not to add much tahini to the recipe. Maybe it’s cost prohibitive in large quantities, maybe it lessens its shelf-stability. I dunno. But I really didn’t want to keep buying hummus at a store when I knew I could make it myself a) much cheaper, b) much healthier, and c) customized to my taste. I just needed a suitable replacement for tahini.
When I came across a recipe a couple of years ago that used Peanut Butter instead of tahini, I was skeptical. Wouldn’t it taste weird? I always thought that tahini added an undeniable x-factor to hummus that would be missing if I excluded it. Well, only one way to find out, so I made a batch subbing in the peanut butter.
Holy wow was it ever tasty! I was so impressed I actually went out and invested in some blech-y tahini to try the classic recipe, to see if maybe it was simply I was used to commercial hummus and tahini wasn’t actually all that bad…
…nope, it still sucked. I threw that container of tahini away after my one use because I *knew* I wouldn’t be using it again!
So long story short, if you like hummus, or think you might like hummus, try this recipe. It is absolutely delicious, you can’t taste the peanut butter, and it definitely adds that special “je ne sais quois” to your recipe. If you want to do something a little crazy and kick your hummus up several notches, you can try other switch-ups too! Roast yourself some garlic cloves and use those instead of the raw garlic, or dump in a squeeze of sriracha sauce, or toss in a pinch of cilantro leaves, a minced roasted red pepper or some pitted olives while it’s processing, or you could just sprinkle stuff on top afterwards, like some crushed pistachios, or some zaatar or chopped seeded tomatoes. The world is your oyster!
And a note to all; this is one recipe where I definitely do recommend a food processor. A blender just won’t do, and hand mashing is absolutely out. Processing the hummus will allow the chickpeas to become completely smooth and creamy if that’s your preference (like mine), or you can keep it slightly chunky; whatever rubs your Buddha. In any case, enjoy this with toasted pita chips, a fresh cut vegetable platter, or as a spread in your sandwich; you won’t regret it!
Hummus Without Tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, or 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 14-16 oz. tin chick peas, drained (reserve 1/4 cup of liquid)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best, but bottled will do)
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp peanut butter, smooth or chunky
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Cracked black pepper, to taste
Add all ingredients except olive oil and black pepper into food processor. Process until smooth and somewhat thickened. Place in serving dish and drizzle olive oil on top. Garnish with cracked black pepper.
This recipe can be doubled.