Easy aubergine and hummus dips

aubergine and hummus dips

I reckon we’re pretty good in the Bangers & Mash house when it comes to snacking healthily. Just as I sat down to write this post, my girls came in with their usual mid-afternoon demand: “Mummy, we’re hungry! Can we have a snack?” They are now happily munching their way through a bowlful each of dried apricots.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not food saints by any stretch of the imagination. We enjoy our potato crisps and chocolate biscuits as much as the next family, but these are clearly seen as occasional treats rather than everyday snacks.

As well as dried apricots, the girls also love their dried apples, which we dry ourselves above the Aga – perfect in late summer when our apple tree is heaving. Dried apple is a perfect ingredient for our fruit & nut balls and granola, both of which make ideal snacks. Cherry tomatoes, chunks of cheese and cucumber, and carrot sticks are also snacktime favourites with my girls.

Healthy Snacks Collage

But probably the snack the kids ask for most are dips and breadsticks. We always have a pot of chunky hummus or some other dip, such as this deliciously smoky aubergine puree, on the go in the fridge. I used to spend a fortune on the shop bought varieties, until I realised just how cheap and easy they are to make at home. And so much tastier too.

Both recipes are based on ones I found in Leon cookbooks, but I’ve tweaked them slightly for my family’s tastes, in particular by increasing the amount of garlic involved in the proceedings.

aubergine dip

Aubergine dip

Use yoghurt instead of the tahini to turn this dip into babaganoush.

3 large aubergines
125ml tahini
juice of 3 lemons
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7.

Prick the aubergines with a fork and bake in the oven, direct on the rack, for around 20 minutes until the skins have blackened.

Peel off the aubergine skins using a sharp knife while they are still warm.

Whizz up the aubergines in a food processor, together with the tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Taste and season with salt.

Pour into a large bowl to serve, drizzled with olive oil.

easy hummus

Easy hummus

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp tahini
70ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
½ tsp paprika (optional)

Simply place the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini and olive oil into a food processor and blitz until you reach a good consistency. I like mine fairly chunky but you might prefer yours smoother or looser. If it seems to dry, add a little more olive oil and/or lemon juice.

Season to taste and pour into a bowl to serve. Sprinkle with a little paprika if you like.

Why not serve your dips as part of a mezze?
Why not serve your dips as part of a mezze?

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. As my children like to say. Both dips are a good accompaniment to crudités, breadsticks or warm pitta bread, or serve as part of a mezze.

family-foodies-valentine

I’m entering these dips into April’s Family Foodies challenge, hosted this month by Louisa at Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is Healthy Snacks. Do pop over there to take a look through the other recipes entered so far – there are some really good ones this month. In particular, I’ve got my eye on the Easy Peasy Mackerel Pate from Casa Costello, which looks delicious and wonderfully simple to make.

 

Middle Eastern chicken salad with hummus dressing

 

We get through a lot of hummus in our house, whether it’s the supermarket variety or the incredibly garlicky and insanely zingy homemade kind. The children love it. When they need a little snack in between meals, it tends to be a pot of hummus I reach for, plus a handful of chopped vegetables or breadsticks for dipping.

The other week I borrowed a recipe book from the local library called Make It Moroccan by Hassan M’Souli, and came across a tasty looking salad smothered in a hummus-based dressing. I’ve never thought of using hummus as an ingredient in anything before, so thought I’d give it a go. M’Souli’s original featured falafel and haloumi cheese but I’ve used marinaded chicken breast in my version instead, and it works a treat. The chicken breast is butterflied and cooked quickly in a griddle pan, so it is beautifully moist and succulent, while the hummus, chickpeas and toasted pinenuts give the salad a lovely, satisfying nuttiness.

Middle Eastern chicken salad with hummus dressing

Serves 4-6

4 chicken breasts, skinned, butterflied and flattened (cover with cling film and bash with a rolling pin)
a squeeze of garlic puree
handful of fresh thyme, picked
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp hummus
1 tsp cumin seed, dry fried and crushed
½ preserved lemon
1 head of lettuce, washed and roughly torn
large handful of green and black olives
large handful of sundried tomatoes
½ tin chick peas, rinsed and drained
handful of pine nuts, dry fried

Place the flattened chicken breasts in a dish and add the garlic puree, thyme, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Rub the marinade ingredients into the meat and then leave for around 20 minutes.

Whizz up the hummus, cumin and preserved lemon in a food processor with the remaining olive oil until well combined and runny. Add a little more oil if you like to get the right consistency.

Throw the lettuce leaves into a large salad bowl with the olives, sundried tomatoes and chickpeas.

Heat a griddle pan over a fairly high heat and fry the chicken pieces for two to three minutes on each side. Slice into strips and add to the salad.

Drizzle over the hummus dressing and toss it all together. Finally, sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts and serve.

And as this recipe features fresh thyme, I’m entering it into this month’s Herbs on Saturday blog challenge, devised by Lavender & Lovage and hosted by me, Bangers & Mash.