Hummus: Healthy Homemade Comfort Food

Healthy homemade hummus recipe on the Fiesta Dinnerware blog | www.alwaysfestive.com

While we’re still in the throes of winter, spring is just around the corner. If you’re anything like us, our minds are thinking beach, but our tummies are thinking comfort food.

For a delicious snack that’s healthy, nourishing and comforting, we turned to our friend Chef Maria Loi of New York’s Loi Estiatorio restaurant and author of The Greek Diet for her famous Hummus recipe.

Chef Maria Loi's healthy homemade hummus recipe from the book The Greek Diet (featured on the Fiesta Dinnerware blog) | www.alwaysfestive.com

We served our hummus with fresh veggies and warm pita bread. In the spirit of the Greek Islands, we went with a color palette of blues and white for our Fiesta dishes. Lapis, Turquoise and White are as crisp and fresh as the carrots, celery and snap peas we served for dipping.

This recipe makes plenty for a party. Using our Appetizer Plates, Square Handled Serving Tray and 2pc Dip and Spreader Set, it’s simple to serve a group.

A healthy homemade hummus recipe, featured on the Fiesta Dinnerware blog | www.alwaysfestive.com

If you’ve never made your own hummus, it’s nothing like the kind you buy in the grocery store. It’s so simple to make.

In this recipe, while you’re welcome to use canned chickpeas, we encourage you to try using dried chickpeas instead. Served slightly warm along with fresh warm pita bread — you’re in for a treat!

Maria's Hummus
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Ingredients
  1. 1 red bell pepper
  2. 2 cups dried chickpeas or one 16-ounce can chickpeas
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda (if using dried chickpeas)
  4. 1 medium onion, quartered
  5. 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  6. 1/4 cup tahini
  7. 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  8. Red pepper flakes (optional)
  9. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  10. Salt
  11. Warmed whole-grain pita bread and/or vegetables, for serving
Instructions
  1. Roast the pepper by placing it over an open flame at medium-high heat on your stovetop. Rotate it consistently using tongs until the entire outside is charred, about 10 to 15 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Remove the pepper from the bowl, peel the skin using your hands, remove the seeds, and chop. Set aside.
  2. If you're using canned chickpeas, skip to Step 4. If you are using dried chickpeas, place them in a medium pot. Cover the chickpeas with water, stir in the baking soda, and allow them to soak overnight.
  3. The next day, rinse and drain the soaked dried chickpeas. Heat a medium pot over medium heat until hot. Add the chickpeas, onion and enough water to cover the contents of the pot by 3 inches. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook the chickpeas for about 45 minutes, skimming as needed to remove foam, until soft. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the onion. Allow the chickpeas to cool.
  4. If using canned chickpeas, saute the onion over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Combine the roasted pepper, garlic, and tahini in a food processor or blender. Process, scraping down the sides of the processor as necessary, until smooth. Add the chickpeas, sauteed onion (or reserved onion if using soaked chickpeas), lemon juice, and pepper flakes (if using). Process, scraping down the sides again if necessary, until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the 1/2 cup olive oil and process until the mixture is emulsified. Add salt to taste and more pepper flakes, if desired. Spoon the hummus into a serving dish.
  5. To serve, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and pair with warm whole-grain pita brea and/or fresh vegetables, including celery, carrots, and sliced red and green peppers.
Adapted from The Greek Diet: Look and Feel Like a Greek God or Goddess and Lose Up To Ten Pounds in Two Weeks
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
A healthy homemade hummus recipe, featured on the Fiesta Dinnerware blog | www.alwaysfestive.com

Do you have any healthy comfort food recipes you enjoy during the winter? We love to hear what our Fiesta community has on the menu. Please share with us on social media at Facebook and Instagram.

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Healthy New Years Eve Appetizers

New Years Eve

The Holidays are no doubt a delicious time of year. It can be hard to not feel like the Grinch when your friends, family or co-workers offer you yummy treats and sweets during the holidays, especially if they are really proud of their creations, so of course we have to do the polite thing and try out that cookie, cake or casserole! But after almost two months of indulging (That’s a lot of cookies and cake!) ourselves, we thought that it would be fun to lighten up some of our favorite dishes for NYE.

Lasagna VS. Zucchini Lasagna Rolls

Zuchinni-Roll-Ups

 

Of course you love lasagna! What’s not to love? Cheese, noodles, more cheese and zesty tomato sauce…yum. So we decided to swap out the lasagna noodles for zucchini. Then we rolled them up and baked them making for the perfect bite sized treat to have either as an appetizer or several for a little dinner treat—perfect for a NYE appetizer. We kept the sauce on the side as well to cut out any additional calories or to control your own portions and taste.

The recipe is so easy, just prepare ricotta cheese and spices as you would for regular lasagna. Bake or grill slices of zucchini with salt, pepper and olive oil before you roll them and bake them. We made ours to be a bit like the recipe from Recipe Runner, except ours are bite sized meant for appetizers and we left out the turkey sausage. We used bread trays to serve the appetizers and appetizer plates due to their perfect portion size for individual plates.

Zuchinni-on-Appetizer-Plate

 

Sriracha Shrimp Taco VS. Sriracha Shrimp Taco Bites

Shrimp-Taco-Cups

Sometimes the most important thing about eating healthy is portion control. After all, we love the idea of still being able to eat what our heart desires, especially when socializing during the holiday season.

With this New Year’s Eve appetizer, we basically cut the portion in thirds compared to a regular shrimp taco by getting rid of the tortilla and switching out the sour cream for a nonfat greek yogurt and avocado sauce for the creaminess. Instead of the corn tortilla we used multigrain baked dip chips as our base to hold the ingredients. Then we assembled the little chip cup with some shredded lettuce, a small dollop of the avocado yogurt sauce (recipe at the end of this blog post) a single shrimp topped with cilantro, tomatoes and a little sriracha sauce for a kick. Trust us, it’s wonderful with the creaminess of the yogurt avocado sauce.

Shrimp-Taco-Cups-on-Bread-Tray

Italian Sodas

Italian-Soda-Bar

Aside from portion control, sometimes you can cut back on certain ingredients when making your favorite snack or in this case drink. Italian Sodas are a fun treat for a NYE party. They aren’t something that most people have everyday and they are so easy to make. We loosely followed this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen, but swapped out the fruit syrup for sugar free syrup and used coconut milk instead of half and half, then offered a low calorie whipped cream on the side to use at your own discretion.

Full-Soda-Bar

So, whether you decide to spike your Italian soda or drink it sans alcohol, we came up with a lighter version we hope you try and enjoy.

Enjoy-a-Soda-Bar

Dessert

Clementines-Dipped-in-Choclate-with-Sea-Salt

We know how it starts. One cookie, leads to a bite of fudge, which leads to a small slice of cake and then just like that you’ve had multiple servings of dessert. We love this idea of fresh fruit dipped in chocolate! Of course you’ve had chocolate covered strawberries plenty of times, but how about chocolate dipped clementines with a sprinkles of sea salt? They offer the indulgence of chocolate with a bit of the salty fix mixed with fresh fruit. These sweet little dare we say healthy treats are a wonderful way to cut calories while still enjoying dessert.

This dessert was simple to make. Melt, chocolate melting chips in the microwave and stir every 30 seconds as it melts, then dip half of a clementine in the chocolate. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the tops then pop in the fridge to let the chocolate harden, then enjoy! We placed these beauties on a small Turquoise oval platter to compliment the orange color of the clementines.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2016!

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