Hummus Is The New Onion Dip

Hummus and pita triangles

Hummus and pita triangles

When I was growing up, it was unheard of to have company over without serving Lipton’s Onion Soup Dip and chips.  At that time I had a complete aversion to onions.  But onion dip was an animal of a different sort. ( Just like onion rings.)  I don’t question this – it’s one of the great mysteries of the world.

More than likely onion dip became popular because not only is it tasty, it’s incredibly easy to make:  mix together 1 cup of sour cream and one packet of Lipton’s Dried Onion Soup Mix. Done.  It took a minute to prepare and you could call it homemade….just.  It was so easy, in fact, that this was the job children (like me) were given when they wanted to ‘help’ mommy in the kitchen.

What was not to like?  Sour cream and onion-y/salty bits.  And was it addictive!!!  Much as I love potato chips, if there was onion dip around, the chips actually became an excuse to load up on dip.

Alas, those carefree, eat-whatever-tastes-good days are gone.  I can’t remember the last time I saw onion dip at a party (not that I get out much). Potato chips and Fritos have been replaced by pita chips and raw veggies, and hummus has replaced Lipton’s Onion Soup Dip. So long, old friend.

Hello, hummus!  And just in time.  The bad thing about getting older is I can no longer eat an entire bowl of onion dip shoveled in via an entire bag of potato chips, and then work it off by doing 10 minutes of jumping jacks. But the good thing about getting older is wisdom. I’m now wise enough to really understand that you are what you eat.

Of course, that being said, let’s not get crazy. I’m certainly not advocating refraining from a bag of french fries once in a while, or the odd dessert when you’ve got that craving going on. (Hey, I’m the one who wrote a recent blog about Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies!) But what I’ve found is that if you make healthy food yummy enough, it kind of talks you off that ledge hovering over the great junk food beyond. When you’re happily sated, you feel….well, complete.

So hurrah that people are now serving hummus and pita chips to snack on at gatherings. Even my extremely picky youngest child is buying hummus for himself – and actually eating it.  This is the same child who throughout his childhood would order a cheese, mustard, and mayonnaise sandwich when we went to Subway.  (And I don’t mean cheese, mustard, and mayonnaise as extras in one of their selections –  I mean ONLY cheese, mustard, and mayonnaise!)

Nowadays, supermarkets – always ready to cash in on trends – are stocking their refrigerated bins with ready-made tubs of hummus, flavored all sorts of ways.  But if you own a food processor (and if you don’t, BUY ONE!), you really should make your own.  At least give it a try!!!  The markup for the ‘convenience’ of not having to make it is enormous. And, as I keeping saying, when you make things yourself you know what’s in your food (and NOT in your food). Along the same line, why stop at making your own hummus – make the tahini, too. Again, it’s unbelievably easy!

This is one of those recipes that you should make to suit your own taste. More garlic, less garlic.  Spice it up, bland it up. Chunky, pureed.  Whatever you want.

NOTE:  Double, triple, quadruple, etc. your homemade hummus, then freeze it for future use.

HUMMUS – makes 1 cup

  • 2½ T tahini – see recipe below
  • ¾ tsp margarita salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) – 15 oz can
  • 3 T lemon juice, fresh or bottled
  • 1 T olive oil

Drain the garbanzo beans, discarding the liquid.  Put half the can in the food processor and pulse until the beans are small chunks.  Pour into a small bowl and set aside. Put the remaining garbanzo beans, salt, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil into the food processor and purée until smooth.  Mix the purée with the chunky garbanzo beans and serve. Sprinkle a little paprika on top to make it pretty, if you like.

TAHINI – makes about ½ cup

  • ¾ cup sesame seeds
  • 2 T olive oil

Lightly toast the sesame seeds.  Put the seeds and olive oil in the food processor and purée. Stop and scrape, as needed, to make a paste.

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