I love a good hummus, particularly sprouted hummus, but many of the versions I’ve tried are, well, painfully gritty and dull in flavor. For me, hummus should be something luxuriant, with a smooth texture and a rich flavor pronounced by the earthiness of chickpeas, the fruitiness of olive oil and with a sparkle of fresh lemon.
But, again, most hummus that I find either in restaurants (Jerusalem in Denver, you’re the blessed exception) or in the refrigerated cases at my local health food store offer a texture that is at once both pasty and gritty, with a dull, watery flavor that lacks the much-needed punch of brightness that both extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice provide.
It’s a sad, sad thing.
About Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans, AKA chickpeas, are a beige-colored legume with a heart-like shape. Like most legumes, Garbanzo beans are rich in B vitamins, particularly folate, thiamin and B6. They’re also a good source of minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. Their flavor is buttery, and earthy, and that characteristic earthiness is beautifully offset by spices, and chile peppers in particular.
Where to Find US-Grown, Farm-Direct Garbanzo Beans
I favor buying farm-direct, where possible, not only because of the accountability those relationships offer, but also because doing so ensures I purchase and feed my family the freshest possible product. This, of course, can be difficult for ingredients like whole grains and pulses, as these growers don’t typically sell at farmers markets, and the bulk bins at health food stores seem like the most reliable source.
The only problems are that, I don’t know how long the beans and grains have been sitting in those bulk bins, and I certainly don’t know where, specifically, they came from.
Track Your Food Down to the Field Where It Was Grown
I recently started working with Palouse Brand, who is sponsoring this post. They’re a grower out of Washington that specializes in identity-preserved garbanzo beans, wheat berries, split peas and lentils. They not only produce a beautiful, and wholesome product, but they also offer such transparency that you can track your purchase of pulses or grains down to the field where they were grown.
Why Identity Preservation Matters
This is a process known as identity preserving (read about it here), is a process of such detailed record keeping that you can track conditions, seed date, harvest date, and even varietal.
Before I made my sprouted grain hummus, I plugged in the lot number for my bag of garbanzo beans and learned that the beans in my bag were the Sierra variety, seeded in April of 2013 and harvested in the fall. You can see it for yourself here. Pretty cool.
You can support this level of authenticity and transparency, when you make purchases from companies and farms that employ Identity Preservation, like Palouse Brand.
Making Sprouted Hummus
Beyond knowing where your food comes from, there’s benefit in preparing it so that you optimize the quality of nutrition it can provide your body, and the flavors, and texture it can present at your table. I tend to favor sprouted hummus for a variety of reasons as soaking and sprouting pulses like garbanzo beans makes them easier to digest, and deactivates components that can make minerals contained in the beans otherwise difficult to absorb.
The Secret to Super Creamy Hummus
So, if you’re like me, and you absolutely deplore gritty, pasty hummus, there’s a few tricks to getting the absolute best results. First, work from dry beans and, failing sprouting them, be sure to soak them overnight, as the flavor is superb and less gritty compared to canned beans. Second, make sure to remove the papery skin that envelops the cooked chickpea (you can simply pinch the cooked bean and it slips right off) as this skin can also make your hummus gritty. Lastly, don’t make the mistake of watering down your hummus, and, instead, use plenty of olive oil which will make a smooth, velvety emulsification.
Sprouted Hummus with Garlic and Chiles
- Rinse the garbanzo beans, and pick out any loose bits of debris. Place them in a bowl, and cover them with warm water by two inches. Cover, and allow them to soak at least 18 and up to 24 hours. Drain the beans and rinse them well.
- Pour the beans into a fine-mesh sieve or into a sprouting jar (available here). Rinse and drain the beans two to three times a day for two to three days, or until the sprouts barely emerges from the tip of the bean.
- Rinse the beans well, and pour them into a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue simmering the beans for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Drain and rinse well in cold water.
- Slip the papery skin that envelops the garbanzo beans off, and place the beans into the basin of a food processor. Add the garlic, serrano pepper, lemon juice, salt and tahini. Pulse for ten seconds until the ingredients are loosely blended.
- Pour the olive oil into the feeder tube, so it drips into the basin of the food processor in a slow and thin stream, and process until the olive oil is spent and the hummus is well-emulsified. Serve immediately, or spoon into an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge about a week.