Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Spinach and Lemon Hummus

In this wee recipe I am trying to quietly insinuate more vegetables into our family diet. We manage our five-a-day and eat a lot of fruit but sometimes I think my repertoire of family-friendly (read 6-year-old friendy) vegetable dishes is going in ever decreasing circles. So although I throw fresh veg into every soup, fritatta, stir fry and casserole, (and even the odd cake and cookie) I am, like every parent I know, always trying to find ways to make vegetables more enticing.

Hummus starts life as a pretty healthy snack, tahini, chickpeas, garlic and olive oil all make it one of the better mid-morning or lunch options, but to give it an iron-rich kick and produce the most beautiful colour, throw in a couple of big handfuls of fresh new season's greens and give it some zing with lots of fresh lemon juice and zest. As I've said before on this recipe with crispy lamb, I love hummus and my family eat an unhealthy amount of it each week so any variation on a theme is worth a try. For a little bit of added crunch, throw a handful of toasted pine nuts over the top just before serving. Serve with baked pitta chips or chopped crudites.

Spinach and Lemon Hummus           with baked pitta chips

For the hummus:
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
400g tin chickpeas, drained
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tbsp tahini
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
100ml olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp plain greek yogurt

Wash the spinach and, while still wet, throw into a heavy based pan. Put a lid on, turn the heat on and allow it to steam in its own liquid for a minute or two till wilted. Drain off the cooking liquor in the base of the pan and squeeze out the spinach to remove any remaining liquid.
Blend the spinach with all the rest of the hummus ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.
Spread thinly across a large plate.

For the baked pitta chips:
4 pitta breads
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt

Heat the oven to 180C.
Cut the pitta breads into small triangles. Lay out on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle a little paprika and sea salt on to each triangle.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes till fragrant and golden.  

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