I love houmous – it goes with everything! As a dip, as a sandwich filling, as a topping for soup, stew or pasta…it’s always a winner in my book!
However, shop-bought houmous is quite expensive, and always comes in plastic packaging. So once I went zero waste, I realised I would have to start making my own. The great thing is, it’s cheaper, healthier and more delicious!
I love this recipe for an easy-peasy houmous made with fava beans, instead of chickpeas. Fava beans have a very similar consistency to chickpeas once blended into houmous, but have a more mellow, earthy flavour, that I love. If you use split fava beans, then you don’t even need to soak them before cooking, which really cuts down on the prep time involved. I don’t know about you, but the (slight) faff of having to soak the chickpeas and then needing to cook them for at least an hour really put me off making my own houmous before!
I buy fava beans from Hodmedod’s, a fantastic company that sell British organic-grown beans, pulses and grains. How cool is that?! Not only are they fantastic pioneers of sustainable, locally grown food (specifically, awesome sources of vegan protein!), they are also really interested in zero waste solutions to packaging. Their 500 g packs of grains and pulses are packaged in compostable cellophane, and while the 1 kg packs of pulses and grains are still packaged in plastic, the company have plans to try and remove all plastic packaging in the future. Their 5 kg + bags are packaged in paper and stitched together.
Dried over Canned
I’ve recently started reducing the amount of canned food that I buy and consume. Although aluminium tins can be recycled, this requires a lot of energy and resources. Also, most tins are lined with BPA (Bisphenol-A), a plastic coating commonly used as a protective barrier between containers made of metal or plastic, and their food contents. BPA itself is a very controversial material and the potential risk it poses to human health is an active area of research. I personally had no idea before I started my zero waste journey that aluminium cans were lined with plastic, but as someone who is trying to avoid single use plastics as much as possible, regardless of the potential associated health risks, canned food is now definitely something I want to avoid.
Top tips for perfect houmous:
- Tahini is your best friend. Don’t be afraid to increase the tahini content still more than I’ve suggested, if you really want your houmous to be super creamy.
- Go easy on the oil! This houmous is meant to be used generously, so you don’t want it to be overly oily. Also, extra virgin olive oil has quite a strong taste that isn’t to everyone’s liking, so I’ve only used a conservative amount here.
- Adding roasted vegetables really takes your houmous to the next level. Not a garlic fan? Try adding some roasted red pepper, carrot or other root vegetables.
How to serve your houmous
- This houmous makes a fantastic accompaniment to an autumnal spread at a dinner party, along side some root vegetable crisps, potato chips or some simple vegetable crudités!
- Make a delicious salad dressing from 1/2 and 1/2 houmous and apple cider vinegar. It tastes fantastic drizzled on top of a simple salad of raw kale and thinly sliced apple and tomatoes.
- Try this houmous on toast with some sliced tomato, for a healthy, savoury breakfast.
- Serve it with some freshly baked bread, some olives and a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip.
- Serve with a veggie fry up along with some roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, baked beans, scrambled tofu, and veggie sausages.
- Some finely chopped herbs, such as parsley or chives, are delicious stirred into this houmous.
- Add your houmous to a tasty lunch box along with some other leftovers such as roast potatoes or salad.
(For a large batch that if you’re anything like me, will only last you a few days nevertheless! And this amount is perfect for a party).
1.5 cups dried split fava beans (makes approx 3 cups cooked)
4 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled but with the ends cut
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
smoked paprika and chopped parsley (to serve)
If you want the fava beans to cook a little quicker, soak them for a couple of hours beforehand, but this is not necessary if using split fava beans. If using any other type of dried bean, soak for the recommended length of time, before draining and rinsing well.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Add the beans to a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 25-35 minutes, until the beans are starting to break down and are very soft. This is the perfect stage for making really creamy houmous!
While the beans are cooking, roast your garlic. Place the cut cloves on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and roast for 15-20 minutes, until soft.
Drain the beans well, then add to a food processor. Pop the cooked garlic cloves out of the skin and add them in to the food processor, along with the rest of the other ingredients. Blend your houmous until it’s smooth and creamy! Taste and adjust to your liking with more lemon juice, salt and black pepper.
If you don’t have a food processor, you could also easily make this houmous by hand! Simply mash the beans up using a potato masher or strong fork, then stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Serve your houmous topped with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some smoked paprika and chopped parsley.