The days are getting shorter, the zucchini beasts are slowing down production, and even the neighborhood kids are already headed back to school, signaling the looming end of summer. Our basil plants however, don’t seem to notice that their days are numbered. This is high season for them, and they’ve made quite the romper room of their garden beds.
I’ve been dreaming about this basil hummus for weeks now. It sort of makes sense, doesn’t it? Like a cross between hummus and pesto. The basil and the pine nuts take the place of the tahini in the hummus. A little tomato paste adds a touch of sweetness and the Tabasco just a little zest. This was a hit with everyone who tried it, so I hope you like it too.
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 cups sweet basil leaves, packed
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed then minced
- 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained*
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Up to 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
- Several dashes Tabasco
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
* Several readers have asked about instructions using dry garbanzo beans instead of canned. I estimate that you will need about 1 1/4 cup of dried beans to make enough beans for this recipe. Soak them overnight in a pot covered by a couple inches of water. The next day, drain the water and add fresh water, again covering the beans by a couple inches. You might want to put a couple garlic cloves in the water for flavor. Bring to a simmer, and simmer on low heat for several hours, until the beans are tender but still whole. Remove any foam that bubbles to the surface during the cooking. Drain the beans and proceed with the recipe.
1 Heat the pine nuts in a small skillet on medium high heat. Stir them when they start to brown. When most of them have lightly browned, remove them from the pan into a bowl to cool. (Reserve a few pine nuts for garnish.)
2 In the bowl of a food processor, place the basil leaves and the garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the rinsed and drained garbanzo beans, most of the pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, tomato paste, and a few dashes of Tabasco. Pulse several times, for several seconds each time, until the hummus is smooth. Add more Tabasco and salt or lemon juice to taste. Add water to the point of desired consistency.
To serve, place in a bowl and drizzle a little olive oil over it. Sprinkle with a few toasted pine nuts. Serve with pita wedges, crackers, or rustic bread.