Recipe: Hummus and pita bread cups

by Julie Snyder

Hummus DipMiddle Eastern dips, such as hummus, once seemed exotic. Now they're familiar old friends.

We've featured a basic recipe, but you can switch out seasonings for a variety of flavors.

For an on-the-go crowd like those rushing to the snack table during time-outs, place two to three tablespoons hummus in the bottom of a small paper cup or small dish. Insert the point of two pita wedges in the hummus for a grab-and-run snack.

For a less harried group, you can serve your hummus in brightly colored bowls surrounded by pita bread wedges.

Hummus looks bland. Bland often equates to boring for some folks. You don't want guests ignoring the hummus, so liven it up a bit.
Sprinkle red pepper flakes or paprika on top to add a little color.

Make an indention in the center, add a teaspoon of olive oil and chopped cilantro. Then surround the hummus with pita wedges, fresh vegetables or sliced Italian bread.

Hummus and pita cups

Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 10 minutes | Yield: 12-16 servings

Ingredients

• 1 15 oz. can chickpeas or garbanzo beans
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 1/2 teaspoons tahini
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Directions

Drain chickpeas and set aside 1/4 cup of the liquid. Combine the remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in the well and garnish with minced garlic if desired. Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.

Super Bowl Sunday is a great time to make this easy snack. Do you have any special appetizers or meals planned? Share your favorites in comments.

Cook's note

Most Middle Eastern restaurants have their own special recipe for hummus. Some types of hummus can tastes "lemony," some might taste overwhelmingly of garlic, and some hummus recipes have a bite to them.

When you're making your own hummus, flavor to your taste. If a recipe calls for a lot of tahini and you don't like tahini, scale down the amount or omit it. Middle Eastern cooking ingredient amounts aren't set in stone. Add a little of this and take away a bit of that and you still have a culinary masterpiece!

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.