When Felix was tiny the Baby Led Weaning thing had just started to take off. My Facebook feed was full of messy babies plunging veggie sticks into pots of houmous. I was so jealous of this (I’ll write again soon about my jealousy of other kid’s food) and tried a few sesame free houmous recipes for Felix. The problem is it never had the creaminess of proper houmous so I didn’t want to eat it. I really struggle giving the kids food I find a bit grotty because I’m a fussy so-and-so.
This week I had a brainwave. Houmous is full of a sesame seed paste called tahini. I had bought sunflower seed butter for my toast to give me a bit of variation for Veganuary and thought it would make a great alternative for tahini.
This recipe does take a bit of preparation but is definitely worth it.
You’ll need a food processor or blender. I can’t even imagine how you’d make this without a gadget! This makes loads – enough to keep a family of houmous lovers going for a good few days.
1 cup dried chick peas
3/4 cup reserved chick pea cooking water (the secret ingredient)
2 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (maybe a little more
2 level tbsp sunflower butter (or tahini paste if you can tolerate sesame)
Juice of 1 lemon (have another on standby in case you need more)
Salt and pepper
Begin by soaking your chickpeas for 8 hours in cold water. It seems like a faff but it will taste better and is much cheaper than canned chickpeas. My local supermarket seems to sell out of them an awful lot.
Drain the chickpeas and then cover with fresh water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, rapidly boil for 10 minutes and the simmer for 2 and a half hours or until tender. Don’t let them boil dry (I managed to do this twice. What a twit!)
Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the cooking water. Drain the chickpeas and retain the cooking water.
Add the chick peas and 3/4 cup of the cooking water to the food processor with 2 cloves of garlic. Blend until smooth(ish.)
Add the sunflower butter and blend again pushing all the bits down with a spatula.
Add the lemon juice, olive oil and blend for a bit longer. If your child is over 1 year old add salt and pepper (I think 1 tsp of sea salt flakes is perfect but less if it is the free flowing stuff!)
Keep blending and taste to check for a balance of flavours. You may need more salt, oil or lemon juice.
Blend again until smooth and creamy.
By the time you have finished you should have the creamiest houmous that would rival a fancy deli. Spread it on toast, dip veg, eat in a salad. Enjoy served with a drizzle of oil, toasted pine kernels (if these are safe for you) and a little sprinkle of paprika!
If you use canned chickpeas you can follow this recipe with 2 cans of chickpeas and use the liquid drained from 1 can only. This can be substituted for the cooking water. Chickpea water is a magical liquid known as aquafaba, it works as a dreamy egg substitute.