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A Box of Instant Humus

Instant hummus –

It is frugally affordable, it is vegetarian/vegan and most brands are gluten free as well. You can even find it in bulk bins in some natural food stores. It is a great last minute score at grocery stores on the way out of town (look in the “ethnic” or “organics/natural foods” aisles for it.

But as with some foods it can be a learned taste. With a few tricks you can make it taste great. And like tofu, it takes on the flavor of whatever you add to it.

One of my favorite brands is Fantastic Foods:

Whatever you do, don’t make the whole box in one sitting. It makes a lot. A LOT! Divide it into 2 to 4 bags for easy snacks.

There are two ways to make it – cold or warm water. Both will work but I find if you have the time to warm up the water it tastes better. Mostly it rehydrate quicker that way as well. A convenient way to prepare it is pack the dry mix into a new quart freezer bag. When ready to prepare cuff the bag (that is fold down the top half, over the sides), to form a bowl. Add the olive oil required and then slowly add in the warm (it needn’t be boiling or even very hot, just take the chill off). Start mixing quickly until all lumps are gone. Then let sit for a good 5 minutes. For better taste drizzle more oil on top before serving. And don’t skimp on the oil called for – it really provides a smooth texture. And hey, all that hiking? You need the oil! So enjoy!

If you use cool water add the oil and water to the bag and either stir or better, seal the bag and gently knead it. Let it sit to rehydrate for at least 30 minutes, with cold mountain stream water give it an hour. And be sure to stir it up well before serving, to avoid any lumps o’ powder.

Drizzle on oil and maybe some parsley and dig in!

As for that blank canvas, instant hummus takes on so many options:

  • Dried chopped artichokes
  • Dried chopped roasted red peppers
  • Dried chopped olives
  • Olives from the fancy pants olive bar at the local trendy grocery store, pitted and chopped
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, either air or oil packed, chopped
  • Salsa Hummus (this is a great one in wraps!)
  • Curried Fruit Hummus (really good with Triscuit-style crackers)
  • Spread hummus on flour tortillas and top with rice and anything else that grabs you. Treat it like instant refried beans, just different!
  • One winter I made a hummus soup by diluting the mix with more water. It wasn’t all start great, but neither was it bad.
  • Even meat lovers can love hummus – you can add in chopped up shelf stable pepperoni slices and diced string cheese (pepper-jack is fun) for a different dip.

PS: You can always dehydrate hummus as well and make it from scratch. If you do this route I suggest leaving out the oil until you go to rehydrate for best results – and longer shelf life (since oil can go rancid).