Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Spicy Pita Chips
July 25, 2011

Most likely Arabic in origin, Hummus and Pita Bread are both very old staples that have become favorites all over the world- for good reason. Simple, comforting and satisfying, both of these foods are also very wholesome. While these two dishes go nicely together as they are, I prefer the crunchy contrast of baked pita bread, or pita chips. While pita chips are pretty common you don't often see homemade ones, which are fun and more impressive while requiring very little work. They take on a thicker and crunchier texture, while store bought can often have a more crumbly feel. Also if you want to customize the flavor of the pita chips, spicing them before baking them is really the best time. This recipe for pita chips from Ellie Krieger is really boldly spiced which matches well with most simple hummus. I matched them with my favorite basic hummus recipe that I've put together over time and chose roasted red peppers as an addition- they add nice color and a sweeter flavor that matches well with the spicy chips. While making your own pita chips isn't a big cost savings, making your hummus can save a lot of money. The flavored varieties of hummus like red pepper can be especially overpriced at the grocery store. Both of these dishes are very stable and long lasting, are perfect served at room temperature, are impressive without being a lot of work or expensive, and are healthy and filling- all of this makes them the perfect choice for entertaining..

While being a satisfying snack, a small portion of each dish is also only 200 calories and 7 grams of "good" fat. Served with raw vegetables it makes for a larger healthy snack or even a balanced meal. Hummus has no cholesterol and is high in iron and vitamin C, and is a complete protein when served with a bread product like pita. You could easily make these chips with whole-wheat pitas instead for added nutrition and either way they will be at least as healthy as your favorite pita chips from the store, if not a little lower in fat. This hummus recipe is easily adaptable to whatever flavors you like. Instead of adding bell peppers you could add chipotle peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, roasted eggplant, et cetera. The only thing to keep in mind is the moisture levels- if the added ingredients are very wet or dry you will need to adjust the amount of lemon juice, water or oil in the recipe. The pita chips could also take just about any of your favorite spice mixtures, or one to match with your hummus of choice. For instance, if you are making Sun-dried Tomato Basil Hummus, an Italian spice mix (oregano, thyme, parsley) would be perfect on the chips. Be aware that these pita chips are salty even by my standards, so if you're sensitive to salt be sure to use less. If you chose to buy plain pita chips from the store or even to serve the hummus only with veggies, you could add the spices from the chip recipe to the hummus for a stronger spicier companion.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Kathleen Neumark

2 Red Bell Peppers
3 whole large Garlic Cloves
6 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
14 cup Tahini
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 cups Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, drained and well-rinsed
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Water, if needed
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

Cut bell peppers in half, and remove flesh, stem and seeds. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place peppers skin side up on the baking sheet, and spray the peppers with nonstick spray as well. Place peppers under the broiler until the skins are completely blackened, around 5-10 minutes. Immediately place peppers in a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool. Rub the skins off of the peppers and discard them.

Place the peppers, and garlic through black pepper into the food processor. Add the chickpeas and olive oil, and pulse until the chickpeas are mostly smooth, but still have some coarseness and texture. Add water if needed, if mixture is too thick. Serve in a large bowl, drizzle with remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Makes about 2 12 cups.

Calories*: 60 Fat*: 2 g Carbs*: 2 g Cholesterol*: 0 mg
Sugar*: 0 g Fiber*: 1 g Protein*: 1 g Servings*: 20 (2 tbsp each)

Ease*: 8/10 Categories: Snack
Total Time*: 25 minutes Active Time*: 15 minutes
Kosher: Parve

Spiced Pita Chips
Adapted from Ellie Kreiger

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 teaspoon garlic powder
12 teaspoon onion powder
12 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
12 teaspoon salt
3 pitas, cut into 18's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine olive oil and spices in a large bowl. Add pita wedges and toss to coat evenly. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, tossing once, or until pita is brown and crisp. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning. Cool completely before serving.

Calories*: 140 Fat*: 5 g Carbs*: 19 g Cholesterol*: 0 mg
Sugar*: 1 g Fiber*: 1 g Protein*: 4 g Servings*: 6 (4 Chips each)

Ease*: 9/10 Categories: Snack
Total Time*: 25 minutes Active Time*: 10 minutes
Kosher: Parve


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