We are in the dog days of summer at my house. Is that still a term? It’s very hot outside and as much as I’m a sun-loving summer girl through and through, the warm wind that picks up in the evenings has never been more appreciated.
My children run wild through the house; building forts, making ‘experiments,’ eating endless snacks and alternating between begging me to take them swimming and crashing on the couch in pure exhaustion. They smell like chlorine and their cheeks and shoulders are always a touch pink. My lawn is a little brown from the high temperatures regardless of how often the sprinklers run and popsicles are not just a special after-dinner treat but an appropriate breakfast, lunch or dinner.
With young kids in the house, we alternate between trying to take advantage of every glorious spare moment of summer and giving each other the side eye as we stare down the barrel of another free day together. I grudgingly flipped through the paper calendar hanging on the wall a few days ago, and couldn’t believe summer break is halfway over already. I’ve got more adventures planned for those crazy kids of mine, and if you’re like me, and the heat and busyness of summer is getting to you a little bit, then this is the dish for you.
I don’t know how this idea never occurred to me before but considering we eat an excessive amount of hummus at my house, this was a quick, fresh dish that doubles as an appetizer or an easy dinner when it’s just too hot to even think about turning on the oven. Homemade hummus is easy to make and even easier to tweak to fit your personal preferences. Use this recipe as a guide. The same goes for the salad toppings. I’ve made this dish a couple times now and every time I use slightly different ingredients for the salad. Last week I added Kalamata olives and crumbled feta. As always, you could buy store-bought hummus and layer the salad on top of that for a quick crowd-pleasing dish.
For the Hummus:
1 can (14 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½-1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup water, or more if needed
Using a food processor, blend all the ingredients EXCEPT the water until smooth. Add in the water and continue blending until the hummus reaches a nice smooth consistency, adding additional water if necessary. Allow food processor to blend ingredients for a full 2 minutes so that the hummus is very smooth and creamy.
For the Salad:
1 medium English cucumber, chopped into ½ pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely diced
2 tablespoons basil, finely diced
2 tablespoons chives, finely diced
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
In a medium bowl combine cucumber, tomatoes, roasted peppers and shallot. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Gently mix in fresh herbs. Taste and add more salt or herbs if needed.
On a plate, spread hummus evenly. Layer salad over hummus. Serve with naan bread, baguette or chips and crackers. Salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to a day but is best served immediately.