Thursday, May 20, 2010

Greek is Great

Hummus is easy. Really easy. When I am in the mood to create in the kitchen and don't have time to run to the grocery, hummus is what I turn to. With some pantry basics and kitchen staples you can quickly throw together this yummy dip. Hummus also lends itself to being a great base for lots of different flavors. You can add pretty much anything to the basic hummus recipe to jazz it up a bit. One of my favorite add-ins are roasted red peppers. You can either use jarred or homemade roasted peppers, whatever you have time for or laying around the house. I always keep a jar of them in the fridge. They are great to throw on a sandwich with goat cheese, use as a topping for pizza, add to salad, or, in this case, use to make hummus.

I don't know anyone who doesn't like hummus and you can use it in lots of different ways, not just as a dip for pita. One way is to use hummus as a sandwich spread and top with cucumber, sprouts, sliced tomatoes and arugula on whole wheat. The other way, and my personal favorite, is to use it IN Greek salad. This was inspired by a salad I had at California Pizza Kitchen (!!!!) a few years ago. I went back to get this salad about a year after I first tried it and found that they had removed it from the menu. So what was a girl to do... recreate it! Of course, I think that my version of this salad is a million times better than the one at CPK, so am thankful they no longer serve it. Otherwise I might not have been inspired to make it myself. This is a great summer salad, so I have a feeling that you will be making this one a lot in the coming months! The parts of this salad are fabulous on their own, but combined......YUM!!!!

Hummus Greek Salad (with or without grilled shrimp)
serves 6 as a main dish

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (recipes follows)- can be made ahead
I bag Earthbound Organic romaine hearts
Greek mixed vegetables in dressing- can be made ahead (even better if you do!)- if refriderated, bring to room temperature before serving.
Grilled Shrimp (optional)

Place a heaping tablespoon of hummus on the bottom of pasta bowl (or whatever you use for salads). Spread around to cover bottom. Chop the romaine hearts and place about two handfuls in each bowl on top of the hummus (trust me on this!!). Top with a large scoop of the greek vegetables and finish off with some (4-5) grilled shrimp.

The best way to eat this is to mix everything together, starting with the bottom and working your way up so the hummus gets mixed into the romaine. You want to be able to get a little bit of everything in your mouth with each bite! I also like to serve this with some Stacey's Naked Pita Chips crumbled on top. They add a nice crunch to the dish.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
(adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

2 15oz cans cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained, with the liquid reserved
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
8 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice (DO NOT USE BOTTLED!!!!!!)
3 TBS reserved liquid from garbanzo beans (or more if you like a less thick hummus)
10 dashes Tabasco
2-3 jarred roasted red peppers

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth ( or you can blend it for less time if you like chunkier hummus). Add seasoning to taste.

Greek Mixed Vegetables
from Ina Garten

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes- sliced in half
1 English (seedless) cucumber- sliced lenghtwise, seeds scooped out with a spoon and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1/2 red onion. sliced thinly
2 bell peppers (mix colors to make this salad more colorful!....1 red 1 orange or yellow)
1/2 lb good (goat/sheep is the best- I love Mt. Vikos) feta, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup calamata olives, sliced lenghtwise

Place all ingredients in a large bowl.


2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients except olive oil. Once combined, slowly add oil while whisking until combined. Pour over vegetables and toss. Add in feta and olives and gently combine.

This keeps in the refrigerator for about 5 days and makes a really yummy lunch on its own.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot wait to make this! All my favorite stuff in one dish!