Hummus has become a staple, a high protein snack that makes eating carrot sticks a pleasure. Prepared hummus will do in a pinch but making it at home means I get the exact flavor I like. This Roasted Almond Butter Hummus uses dark roasted almond butter in place of tahini. A generous dose of lemon juice brightens the flavor of this addicting spread.

Roasting transforms the personality of the elegant almond. As the temperature increases, the proteins and sugar in the almonds transform releasing flavor compounds not found in the raw nut. These toasty smoky flavors complement mild flavors such as mashed beans and chickpeas.

At the Culinary Institute of America’s World of Flavors Conference several years ago, Lebanese Chef Mohamad Antabli demonstrated how to make silky hummus. The secret is slipping the chickpeas out of their skins before processing them. If you cook your own dried chickpeas, you’ll see the skins floating in the cooking liquid after they cool. He demonstrated this step for participants. He also passed the finished hummus through a fine sieve to remove all graininess. (Steps like this have earned him culinary awards.)

When you use canned chickpeas, simply pinch each chickpea and the they will pop out of their skins. If this is too fussy for you, skip this step entirely.

The weight of cooked chickpeas in a can varies widely. The yield can vary from 7.25 ounces to 9.5 ounces. The chickpeas can be small or large. Because of variations, use branded products as opposed to private label or grocery. (I’ve found branded canned beans and chickpeas to be of better quality.) You will get more chickpeas per can, of a larger size and tenderness. For this reason too, be sure to adjust the flavors and amount of liquid in the hummus as you make it.

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Roasted Almond Butter Hummus

Yield: 2 cups

Roasted Almond Butter Hummus

Ingredients

One 15 ounce can cooked chickpeas

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/3 cup roasted almond butter

4 to 8 tablespoons (2 to 4 fluid ounces) reserved liquid from chickpeas or water

3 tablespoons lemon juice or more to taste

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup chopped parsley

Directions

  1. Drain the chickpeas in a colander set over a bowl. Reserve the liquid. Gently squeeze each chickpea to release its skin. Discard the skin. To save time skip this step.
  2. In the bowl of a small food processor, grind the garlic and the salt into a paste.
  3. Add the chickpeas and process until they are evenly ground into a coarse paste, scraping the bowl several times. Add the almond butter and some of the reserved canning liquid. Process for about 20 seconds to make a smooth fluid paste. Add additional canning liquid a small amount at a time if the mixture is not smooth.
  4. Add half of the lemon juice. Pulse to blend in the juice. Taste the hummus and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper and more of the lemon juice as you like.
  5. Spoon the hummus into a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, run a spoon through the hummus to make a shallow channel. Fill it with olive oil. Sprinkle the edge of the bowl with the chopped parsley. Serve with carrot sticks, endive leaves, other vegetables and seeded crackers.