Saturday, June 11, 2011

Raw Red Lentil Hummus

It was a scorcher here the other day and the last thing I wanted to do was heat the house with the stove or oven. I had soaked some red lentils (which are actually a salmon color) for several hours to make hummus and found after testing them that they were already very soft. Red lentils are unusual in that they will cook very quickly. I found that the hard way the first time I cooked them and they turned into mush!

So after rinsing this batch several times and soaking them for several hours, they were very tender and easy to chew, so I decided to use them raw. Rather than substitute the lentils in a traditional chickpea hummus, I used and adapted a recipe that I found on a site called Sweet Potato Soul (the recipe was actually adapted from a cookbook called The Artful Vegan by Eric Tucker and Bruce Enloe. So here I go, changing it slightly again based on my own preferences and what I had available. But isn’t this what cooking is all about?

Also, after examining the nutritional content of tahini, I noticed that it’s very high in omega-6 versus omega-3, ~57x higher. Since it is actually this lop-sided consumption of omega-6 versus omega-3 in our diets that has been implicated in so many inflammatory diseases, I thought about how to increase the omega-3 content a bit without changing the taste too much and there were several options, including hemp seeds or ground flax seeds (by the way, flax is an excellent choice because of its nutrient content and its 6:3 ratio is 1:4).

I had recently bought Salba, which looks like a white chia seed that has a 3:1 ratio of omega–6:omega–3. It also has omega-9, which makes them similar to hemp seeds. So to boost the omega-3, I added salba, but this is completely optional.

Raw Red Lentil Hummus

1 cup red lentils (soaked for several hours until tender - change the water 2-3x)

1/3 c tahini

2 T ground salba (optional)

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 T red miso

2 T balsamic vinegar

2 T lemon juice

1 T olive oil

1 t cumin

½ t coriander

sea salt and pepper to taste

minced jalepeno and or hot pepper flakes (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. If it’s too thick, add additional water, lemon juice, or vinegar.

Enjoy with cut up fruit, veggies, on toast, a wrap, or with a healthy cracker like Mary’s Gone Crackers. Yesterday, I placed a dollop on baby lettuce leaves and folded up the sides, which makes an easy and cool appetizer.

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