As I have said, it is now salad season – and I will now eat salad for lunch almost every day for months.
But I generally accompany the salad with some sort of cracker, or chip, or muffin, or other breadlike object. And I often like to use hummus or cheese spread or some other protein containing spread on that cracker, to complement the protein foods in the salad.
Now, sure, sometimes I buy commercial hummus, but it’s kind of expensive for, essentially, bean spread… especially since it is so easy to make. I also like to vary my beans, and my flavoring, and… I make a great scape hummus, and I’ve played with eggplant bean spread (which I seem to have not written about – how odd, I’ll have to correct that, this summer!)
This time, I decided to make spinach hummus – and make it as much a spinach recipe as a bean recipe. I had some sauteed spinach… and I decided this time to use canned chick peas, and talk about canned beans.
First, I took out the spinach, and measured a cup of it. This had been sauteed, but you could also use frozen, if that makes more sense for you, or steamed, or… whatever. Also, this was just spinach – sometimes I also have onion and garlic in it, which wouldn’t hurt this recipe one little bit…
I put it in the mini-processor, and whirred it a bit. It needs a little liquid to puree it, and I wanted to add both richness and a little sparkle, so I added a tablespoon each of olive oil and lemon juice, and then pureed it.
Then I took a can of chick peas – also garbanzo beans, or ceci, or… These beans are a staple all over the world, and for some reason we use many different names for them. But whether you call them chick peas or chole, they’re a flavorful but mild bean with a great texture, that combines beautifully with other flavors, and makes a wonderful spread. However, they also take a bit longer to cook than many other beans we are used to… On the other hand, they’re one of the few that has never given me problems when I eat them canned, even without further cooking. So I always have a few cans of them on hand, to use variously for emergency or impulse recipes.
Now, canned beans actually get much of their cooking in the can. But something about the process in the can makes the cooking liquid very sludgy and starchy. So, whenever you use a can of beans, the best thing to do is drain them in a strainer, and rinse them off with water, so that you have just the beans, and not the accompanying sludge. (This is especially true if you ever have gas issues with beans – that starchy sludge is often a culprit.)
A standard can of beans is about a cup and a half, so if you have your own cooked beans, you can just use that. If you have cooled them, the cooking liquid will coat them, so you still may wish to rinse them, unless you want a more runny dip, instead of the firm spread I have here. Also, if your cooked beans have not been salted, you may want to add a pinch of salt when you puree them – canned beans have enough already.
Anyway – drain and rinse your beans, and add about half of them to the spinach. Whir that a moment, then add the rest. After that, it’s a matter of pureeing until they are the consistency you want. I opted for a pretty smooth spread, here, but you might choose something with a little more texture. I needed to run the machine a moment, then stop and use a spatula to push the mixture down from the edges, and then repeat the process several times.
You can also add some cooking liquid, or just water, and make it more a dip than a spread. That will puree more easily. And if you have a blender, not a processor, that will work better. I chose a very firm spread – most commercial hummus is more runny than this…
Then I packed it in a bowl and refrigerated it overnight. It does firm up a little, and the flavors meld. You can use it right away, but it improves with a rest.
The lovely green color brightens up any table or lunch box. I like packing hummus or other bean spread in a small container when I carry a lunch. It’s also marvelous for a buffet table – you can put out a series of different spreads, with different colors and flavors, as a sampler. And it is ridiculously easy to make.
Spinach Hummus - a quick and easy spread made of spinach and chick peas, perfect with crackers!
10 minPrep Time
10 minTotal Time
- 1 c cooked spinach
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1 can chick peas (or 1 1/2 c cooked chickpeas)
- Put spinach, oil, and lemon juice in a food processor, and puree.
- Drain beans, and rinse them. Add to processor. Puree, stopping every minute to stir down, until it reaches the consistency you want.
- Refrigerate overnight. Serve as a spread with crackers or bread.