When it comes to my ability to maintain a healthy diet, snacking is definitely my weak spot. Every morning I have a solid breakfast before work. I pack my lunch everyday and eat it at my desk (Yes, I’m that lame). And, I’m pretty experienced at cooking healthy dinners, as you all can attest to.
But, snacks? They get me every time. Part of the problem is my raging sweet tooth, which no matter what diet books or dieticians tell you, fruit is not the same as chocolate and no, those ten raspberries will never quell my cravings the way a handful of chocolate chips would. Facts are facts, you know?
But, it’s not just the sweet stuff that’s my issue. In general, it’s an empty carbs issue. A handful of cereal, a couple of Wheat Thins, a Teddy Graham here and there, and BOOM — you’ve had 200 calories, 50 grams of carbs, and you’re still starving.
If you’re anything like me you know exactly what I’m talking about. We all know that fruits and veggies are the snacking holy grail, but man, are they boring. How am I seriously supposed to choose baby carrots over Goldfish? Grapes over pretzels? Celery over anything? Honestly, when it comes to celery, I’d rather go hungry.
But, snack-skipping and carb-bingeing are both crappy options, so there’s got to be a healthy medium. And, like most ladies out there, I’ve found it with hummus.
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Hummus is a revelation for anyone who’s ever thrown an apple at a wall from sheer dieting boredom. It’s got healthy fats, it’s got protein, and its the perfect food for dipping. Hummus is where veggies and carbs collaborate in perfect, delicious harmony, making it the ideal nosh for snack-challenged chicks like me. So, why make it at home instead of going to the store? Because the homemade way is so easy and so delicious, of course. Take, for example, this roasted garlic hummus.
The beauty of this hummus is in its simplicity — a brief stint in the oven and a few pulses of a food processor is all that stands between you and snack time. I started off by purchasing already peeled garlic cloves, a choice that made this recipe simpler than using whole heads. Next, I roasted my cloves in EVOO for 40 minutes, a step that thankfully did not interrupt my viewing of The Rachel Zoe Project. And once my cloves were roasted and cooled, all that was left to do was throw everything into my food processor, blend and eat.
Let’s just say I will definitely be roasting up some garlic again — the flavors are just too amazing to pass up! Buttery, nutty, and sweet, these cloves were outrageous. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few mashed forkfuls all on their own, and I was seriously tempted to just scratch this whole recipe and eat garlic on crackers instead. But, somehow, I managed to move forward with my dish, and it so worth it. The sharpness of the garlic worked perfectly against the mellow chickpeas, and the subtle touch of parsley lent an authentic taste. As as added bonus, the sesame seeds enhanced the nutty taste of the garlic, while the EVOO and greek yogurt gave the ideal creamy texture.
All in all this roasted garlic hummus was a true snacking success. Expertly paired with crudités, whole wheat pita, and some Perdue shredded chicken, I had a deliciously balanced snack waiting for me just after my last camera snap. Yep, I’m that efficient.
Roasted Garlic Hummus
Yields 10 servings
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: One hour
16 oz chickpeas
1 1/2 cups peeled garlic cloves (or, about eight oz)
5 tsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1 1/4 tsp parsley
1 tsp sea salt and coarse black peppercorns
Cooking spray to grease
In small bowl toss garlic cloves in 2 tsps EVOO and mildly season with salt and pepper. Transfer garlic to lightly greased baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Use a toothpick to poke a few holes for ventilation, then bake at 375F on top rack for 40-45 minutes until soft and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
When garlic is at room temperature, transfer to food processor and mash for several pulses. Next, add in chickpeas and blend well. Lastly combine greek yogurt, lemon juice, parsley, sesame seeds, 2 tsps EVOO, and additional salt and pepper. Blend thoroughly until smooth, adding water if needed to achieve creamy consistency.
Pour hummus into serving bowl. Using a straw or back of spoon, build a small circular trough in middle of hummus and fill with remaining tsp EVOO. Sprinkle with additional parsley and serve with crudités and pita bread. Store in refrigerator for up to a week.
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Christine Fischer of Cooking with Cakes may not be a pro chef, but that doesn't mean she's a mere novice in the kitchen. The self-taught culinarian — who's all for healthy, accessible recipes — knows that succumbing to your five-day bacon craving does not make you weak. It just makes you human.