Switching Legumes

Hummus. Everyone loves it, and for good reason. That stuff is superb for your health and just happens to taste great with all kinds of dippers. A picnic, a dinner party, a barbecue, a lunch, a snack - they wouldn't be the same without the stuff. And vegans wouldn't stand a chance! But, why should we stop at chickpeas?

I recently had a delicious and inventive lunch with my friend Lucy at Innocent Drinks' pop-up cafe, 5 for 5. The premise was simple: prepay £5 per person and pick a date and time (within their one week of business), show up and select two courses from a menu of starters, mains, and desserts, and get your "5 a day" in one fell swoop!

The room was a converted tramshed in east London - HUGE - and held rows and rows of picnic tables filled with happy diners. There were fun touches everywhere, like a "salad wall" with live growing rocket leaves, and potted herbs adorning the centerpieces (a mint leaf plucked straight from the plant was a nice palate cleanser at the end of our meal!).

Of course, they also served the full range of innocent smoothies - I had the pomegranate, blueberry, and acai smoothie. YUM.

All of the dishes were created by gizzi erskine, an absolute rockstar wizard in the kitchen. My root vegetable salad was heavenly, and the spiced berry sorbet I had for pudding was both elegant and bold. But best of all, we were sent home with a little goodie bag, including some recipe cards from the dishes on the menu that day as well as some little extras. And one of those extras was this hummus - made with black beans instead of chickpeas, creating a beautiful purple color yet still offering that same dippable appeal. I've already begun thinking about what else we could use instead of chickpeas - green peas? Cannellini beans? Broad beans? So many legumes to choose from!

Black Bean Hummus

Recipe by gizzi erskine, courtesy of innocent drinks' 5 for 5 cafe

The particulars:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander (or fresh cilantro leaves)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until fully incorporated. Add more oil for smoothness, if necessary.
  2. Keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Things you can see on my fridge/freezer doors in the first photo: austin armadillo and guitar magnets, 91x and my 94.1 radio station magnets, friends' save-the-date card and magnet, "eat your greens, and reds, yellows, oranges, and purples too" poster from innocent drinks, splat calculator magnet, red lifeguard magnet from San Diego, aromas cafe concert calendar magnet from 2005.

Ahhh, memories!