Sweet Potato Hummus

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like some sort of chips and dip. When it comes to this old favorite, the number of combinations is nearly endless.

Perhaps my most-liked pairing is tortilla chips and salsa. I have an affinity for this because we always have a good supply of the homemade sauce, ranging from mild to hot-hot.

But coming in a close second is hummus and pita chips. My interest in this was piqued a half-dozen years ago or so.

Hummus, in case you don’t know, is an exotic blend of pureed chickpeas, lemon, sesame tahini, oil and spices, with added flavors such as roasted garlic, roasted red peppers, scallion and dill.

I’m not the only one who likes hummus. These days, it’s readily available commercially in specialty stores and supermarkets. The most devoted advocates of hummus make their own.

Back in 2006, we had a summer reporting  intern from Hampton (Va.) University at the Herald who was one of those people who loved hummus. Eba Hamid was a native of the Sudan who grew up in Mississippi. Eba told me then that she grew up on hummus, which is popular in her homeland. She added that her father made a pretty mean version, using fresh chickpeas (some call them garbanzo beans).

Today, I thought about Eba, now a night producer at the New York Times, after Therese emailed me a hummus recipe that featured sweet potatoes. Therese said she thought I’d like to see it. I took this as a hint to make it. I did.. And I’m sure glad. It tastes wonderful.

I plan on using it with crackers or chips, but it could double as a spread for crusty bread, a dip for veggies such as carrots and celery or a topping for sandwiches, broiled fish or chicken or baked potatoes.

For the health-conscious, hummus is a bargain. It contains no saturated fat, no cholesterol or sugars and is high in protein and fiber.

Sweet Potato Hummus
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 15-ounce chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
¼ cup tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 garlic clove, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Whole-wheat pita and crudites such as red pepper and broccoli
Set a steamer basket in a large pot. Fill with enough water to come just below basket; bring to a boil. Add potatoes; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a food processor.
Combine chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, oil, cumin, and garlic in the food processor. Puree, about 1 minute; thin with water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and let cool; refrigerate, in an airtight container, up to 1 week. Serve with pita and crudites.
Yield About 4 cups.