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Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Best Blog Tips

Chickpea flour hummus??  I must admit that I had that type of response when I got my new WonderMill Electric Grain & Bean Mill and the company owner asked me if I might be willing to devise a good recipe for hummus made with chickpea flour. I can now mill fresh in my new machine because it has a new Bean Adapter and also a Small Grain Adapter-- see photos below. (PS: The Bean Adapter is very new, so inquire about it via the Wondermill website.)

Frankly, it sounded yucky to me!  But, I looked it up on the Internet and there were quite a few recipes and some good reviews (not all, but I'll get to that later), so I figured it was worth a try. But first I wanted to grind some chickpea flour and see what it was like. I was told in the video that John provides online to use the "coarse" setting, which seems odd at first because you want the flour to be fine. (NOTE: this video was made before he developed the Bean Adapter  I have-- he is using a prototype made with a small plastic cup, but the idea and the method is the same.) But, I followed the directions and was rewarded with this lovely powdery-fine flour:

In the recipes for chickpea flour hummus I read online, several bloggers complained about whisking the flour into the hot water-- it got lumpy and hard to stir. It also seemed to take quite a long time to cook- about 15 minutes.  Not great for a recipe that is supposed to save time. I had some ideas for remedying both problems, but you'll see what I did in the recipe. Other bloggers seemed to have problems with it being too thick, even solid. I like my hummus very creamy-smooth, NOT thick and pasty, so I knew I'd have to work on that.

And then there was the taste.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew what I wanted.  Using my No Oil Hummus recipe (it does contain tahini) as a guide (but not sure of amounts), I achieved what I had in mind in two tries-- not bad! I ended up needing to use a little more tahini, lemon juice and seasonings than in my recipe using whole cooked chickpeas.

I think this stream-lined recipe is excellent (and one I will be repeating often), but you might be asking, "Why use chickpea flour-- why not just use chickpeas, as usual?"  I think the concept came from food storage circles-- a way to use dried beans with less cooking time and water, perhaps.  And, of course, even if you aren't into emergency preparedness food storage, you might like to save water and energy (the fuel kind, I mean!)  But, for the average person, I think it's just another handy option if you want hummus, but you don't have any canned chickpeas/garbanzo beans in the house and you don't have time to cook them, you don't have a pressure cooker, etc.. (And, believe me, no store-bought hummus is as good as homemade!)

Of course, you don't have to grind your own chickpea flour (though a mill is worth saving up for if you use different types of flours and eat lots of whole grains and legumes, and it will save you money in the long run). You can keep a bag of chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (also called besan), double-bagged, in your freezer (to prevent rancidity) for just this sort of recipe.

The second recipe below was a spur-of-the-moment lunch that I made with some of the first batch of Chickpea Flour Hummus I made.  I felt like making a quick pasta dish with some snap peas and other vegetables I had around.  I was about to make a creamy pasta sauce with some homemade pesto and silken tofu when it occurred to me that the garlicky, lemony creamy pesto sauce I had in mind could be made with some of the smooth and creamy hummus that I had just made with chickpea flour.  After all, I had made creamy sauces from cooked beans before, hadn't I?  So, that's what I did and it was delicious! In fact, it gave me some ideas for making more sauces with bean flour, so stay tuned.
So, here's my new Hummus recipe..

Printable Recipe

Makes about 2 1/2 cups
The seasonings in this recipe are my preference-- you can play around with them to suit your own taste.

2 3/4 cups cold water
3/4 cup chickpea/garbanzo flour (besan), freshly-ground or commercial
NOTE: Store chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (also called besan), double-bagged, in your freezer to keep it fresh.
5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (or bottled organic)
1/4 cup tahini
2-3 large cloves garlic, peeled1 1/2 tsp fine salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
large pinch cayenne
Possible Garnishes:extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle over the top
paprika or smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
chopped fresh parsley or parsley sprigs
chopped green onions
toasted pine nuts or almonds
grated organic lemon zest

See this post for Hummus flavor variations, using slightly larger amounts than those given

Place the water and chickpea flour into your blender container and blend at medium-high speed until well- blended.  Pour into a microwave-proof 2 qt. batter bowl or something similar.  Microwave at 100% power for 3 minutes.  Using a large whisk, whisk vigorously to make a smooth mixture.  Microwave for another 3 minutes at 100% power and repeat whisking.  Microwave for 2 minutes at 50% power and whisk again. NOTE: If you don't have a microwave, you will have to cook the blended mixture in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it has thickened, whisking all the time so that it doesn't stick or clump. This may take up to 15 minutes. (Afraid of microwave ovens?  Please read this document I have compiled.)

The mixture will foam up while it cooks in the microwave and then "deflate". You can see in the picture below how the mixture rose up the sides and then down again.

Scoop the mixture into a shallow bowl or baking dish.  If you aren't in a hurry, place it in the refrigerator until it has cooled and is a rather solid mass.  To speed up this process, place your dish in the freezer.  This took about 45 minutes cooling time for me.  Make sure the mixture is a cool solid mass and not runny and warm.

Now, break up the chickpea flour mixture and place it in a blender or food processor, along with lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin and cayenne. Blend or process until the mixture is very smooth and creamy. Place in a bowl and cool down to room temperature before serving, or refrigerate for future use.

IMPORTANT: The mixture will firm up a bit, so, before spreading it in a shallow serving bowl (like a soup plate) for serving, whisk it vigorously to make it creamy again.

Nutrition Facts:
Nutrition (per 1/4 cup serving): 52.8 calories; 45% calories from fat; 2.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 243.8mg sodium; 79.6mg potassium; 5.2g carbohydrates; 1.1g fiber; 0.8g sugar; 4.1g net carbs; 2.2g protein; 1.1 points.


 And here's that pasta recipe featuring the Hummus Pesto Sauce...

Serves 5
The lemony flavor of the hummus added an extra accent to the simple garlicky pesto sauce.

3/4 lb (12 oz.) dry radiatore pasta (or you could use penne, gemelli, fusilli, etc., instead)
8 oz. snap peas, cut into about 3/4-inch pieces (I used kitchen scissors for this)
4 oz. frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed and fluffed
about 12 grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 1/2 cups hummus
1 cup of the hot pasta cooking water
1/4 cup pesto (use homemade or commercial vegan pesto)
Serve with:
freshly-ground black pepper
vegan parmesan, soy based, nut based or homemade

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook for about 9 minutes, then add the peas and cook for another minutes.  Drain in a colander placed in a large bowl to catch the cooking water, which you should save.  Return the drained pasta and peas to the cooking pot, add the spinach and tomatoes, toss together and cover.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients.  It should not be too thick. Pour the sauce into the pot with the pasta and vegetables, toss well and serve immediately.

 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 361.1 calories; 11% calories from fat; 4.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 388.1mg sodium; 502.5mg potassium; 64.3g carbohydrates; 5.5g fiber; 3.0g sugar; 58.8g net carbs; 14.8g protein; 6.8 points.


Monday, September 13, 2010


Best Blog Tips

Who says that good vegan meals take hours to make? I was about to freeze some homemade pesto (we're having a good basil year!) and I decided to use some for a quick pasta lunch. I planned to cook some egg-free tagliatelle "nests" (check the label!), but I wanted to add a vegetable to the dish.

Tagliatelle nest:

I had a zucchini from one of our neighbors, so I decided to make zucchini strands with it, using my handy-dandy Messermeister julienne peeler-- a great low-tech gadget that doesn't take up much room in your utensil drawer! You use it just as you would  peeler and it makes long, or short, thin strands.

Here are the results from one medium zucchini-- very nice!

I added the zucchini strands to the pasta in the pot about 1 minute before the pasta was done and then drained them all together:

An old-fashioned Italian fat-saving tip: If you don't want to use olive oil (or not as much, anyway), mix the pesto with some of the water the pasta was cooked in to thin it out and toss with the pasta.

Homemade Vegan Pesto-- see recipe below

(BTW , if you can't make your own, try  Sunflower Kitchen dairy-free Basil Pesto.)

Serve this colorful dish with my New, Improved Okara Parmesan Substitute.  Of course, you could use Parma! (walnut-based vegan parmesan sub) or Galaxy Foods Vegan Parmesan Flavor Grated Topping, instead.  Another good topping (and a traditional one) would be dry breadcrumbs toasted with some olive oil, and/or finely-chopped toasted nuts.

Printable Recipe

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Adapted from my book “Nonna’s Italian Kitchen”.

4 cups packed-down fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (see Variation #2 below for low-fat version)
1/4 cup lightly-toasted chopped walnuts, filberts (hazelnuts), almonds, or Brazil nuts
(If you are allergic to nuts, you can omit them, or use shelled, lightly-toasted sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds instead)
2 tablespoons light-colored miso (can be chickpea miso for soy-free)
2 to 4 cloves garlic (NOTE: the garlic should not overwhelm the basil in authentic pesto.)
OPTIONAL: 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice to preserve the color

Place everything in a food processor and process until a paste forms. Place the paste in two or three small containers (the less air the pesto is exposed to, the better). Cover the pesto with a thin film of olive oil or a piece of plastic wrap (touching the pesto), to prevent discoloration, and cover tightly. Refrigerate. Use this up within two or three days (you can halve or even quarter the recipe). After that, you should freeze it in small containers or make frozen cubes of it, but don't leave it in the freezer for more than a month or so, or it loses flavor.

#1) FOR HEMP SEED BUTTER PESTO: Use only hemp seed oil, or 1/2 hemp seed oil and 1/2 olive oil. Omit the nuts or seeds and use 1/3 cup hemp seed butter instead. Everything else is the same.
#2.) FOR A LOWER-FAT VERSION that is still quite delicious, omit all or some of the oil and substitute instead an equal quantity medium-firm or silken tofu, OR mashed cooked or canned white kidney beans  (or cannellini beans) (or use 1/2 and 1/2).
#3.) WINTER PESTO: This is an authentic method of stretching expensive storebought fresh basil during the winter months. Use 2 cups of fresh basil and 2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves, instead of 4 cups basil. It is traditional in Liguria to add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh marjoram to this winter version.