Over Thanksgiving, we decided to include a Middle Eastern staple – hummus – on our menu alongside American favorites like green bean casserole and turkey, just to do something different. We like to mix it up with traditional Middle Eastern dishes (sometimes with Western influences), so naturally, butternut squash found its way into our homemade hummus – and the end result was deliciousness.
The subtle sweetness of the butternut squash is not at all overpowering, only giving a subtle background taste for the hummus. The best thing about adding butternut squash to homemade hummus is how simple of an idea it is, and yet how much it enhances such a classic dish. The hummus you find at the store (which I never elect to buy) usually comes in three varieties: with roasted chili peppers, garlic-flavored, or plain. Adding butternut squash gives it a different dimension. Some of our guests who aren’t too fond of plain hummus were really intrigued by the flavors of this dish!
Not to mention: this is actually a great way to add veggies to a fun dip – if you’re trying to get your kids to eat more colorful veggies, this is the way to go. It also makes for a great dip to present as an appetizer with some raw veggies, or as a main dish for a sports gathering for example (this beats nachos and “cheese” any day). Consider preparing this the day before you’re entertaining, since it’s not really palatable to serve hot (usually it’s served at room temperature). Also keeping it in the fridge overnight gives a chance for all your ingredients to get cozy with each other … seriously, it really intensifies the flavor!
Butternut Squash Hummus Dip
Prep Time: 5 minutes + soaking the chickpeas overnight
Cook Time: 3 hours total including blending the hummus
- 2 cups dry chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, they’re one and the same), soaked overnight in filtered water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, liquid whey or lemon juice
- filtered water, enough to cover chickpeas while cooking
- 1 small butternut squash (to yield about 2 cups cooked squash)
- 1/3 cup organic raw tahini (pure ground sesame seeds)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- juice of 1 lime, squeezed
- 2 teaspoons unrefined mineral salt, to taste (I use Himalayan)
- 3/4 tablespoon ground cumin (organic spices haven’t been irradiated and have no GMO or pesticide residue)
- 1/4 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida (optional – this is an Indian spice that I recently discovered really helps ‘de-gas’ the beans)
- dash of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- dash of cinnamon
- pinch of cayenne, to taste (add more for a strong kick)
1. Soak chickpeas overnight in acidic medium. In a large pot, add 2 cups of dry chickpeas and cover with filtered water and a tablespoon of either apple cider vinegar, liquid whey (the liquid that’s found in yogurt), or lemon juice. This neutralizes enzyme inhibotors and reduces phytic acid – or antinutrients found in legumes. The soaking helps you digest the beans better with minimal discomfort, and also helps you absorb vitamins better (Food Matters). Keep soaked beans covered overnight.
2. Cook beans. Discard soaking water and rinse beans well. Add fresh filtered water to cover the beans, bring to a boil, and discard hot water (this is to remove more of the antinutrients in the beans). Then, in a separate pot (I use my teapot for this) heat enough water to cover the beans and add to the beans. Make sure to add only *hot* water; adding cold/tepid water at this point would dramatically slow down the cooking time of the beans. After boiling, add 1/4 teaspoon of asofoetida, and lower to medium-low heat and leave to cook for 2-3 hours until the chickpeas have no crunch to them and can be easily mushed with your fork.
3. Cook butternut squash. Cut squash in two vertically, scoop out the seeds, and add squash to a pan, face down, with half and inch of water in it. Bake on 350F for 25-30 minutes until the flesh of the squash is soft. Wait for it to cool before scooping out the flesh. I used a big spoon, but you can use an ice-cream scoop to make it easier to take out bigger chunks at a time.
4. Add all to food processor and mix well. Add scooped butternut squash, cooked chickpeas, minced garlic, olive oil, lime juice, tahini and spices (mineral salt, black and cayenne peppers, cumin, coriander and cinnamon) to a blender and whirl until all components are completely blended into each other. Taste to adjust spices or zest.
5. Cool, garnish and serve. Leave to cool in the fridge for an hour before serving at room temparature. Enjoy!