Friday, January 4, 2013

Cooking for Vegans - Hummus, the go-to emergency recipe!

Let us pretend that you are not a vegan (like me) and (like me) you have friends or loved ones who are vegans.  What does this strange, cult like lifestyle - because it does seem like a cult to those of us who don't know a thing about this vegan stuff - include?  Are they going to yell at me for not being vegan?  What can I feed them?  Surely these vegan people don't just eat carrot stick all day?  That's rabbit food!

Okay, maybe I am over exaggerating - but you know what, there are people out there who are terrified of vegans!  That's right.  Terrified!  It is a concept so far removed from what they experience on a daily (I would say meal-ly, but that just sounds weird) basis, that they just cannot figure out how to start interacting with the idea.  These people need love.

I would like to write this post for those people.  The terrified ones.  The people who feel that their vegan friends are just waiting for an excuse to yell (or worse laugh) at them for eating a 'regular' diet.

To you I say, do not fear the vegan.

Vegans are people, just people, and like all people, each vegan person is unique.

As we learnt earlier, vegans are people who do not consume animal products.  There are different levels of dedication to veganism, and it's best to ask your vegan friend exactly what their requirements are.  When in doubt, assume total veganism (that is no animal products at all including things like wool socks and cheese) but the best policy is to ask your friend about what being a vegan means to them.

That brings me to the next important point - talk to them. Your friend, who happens to be a vegan, is not going to wage war on your for your dietary lifestyle.  That's something trolls do anonymously on the internet and is not appropriate friend on friend action.  

Vegans are totally understanding people, they are more than happy to tell you about their lifestyle and what it means for your kitchen when they come to lunch.  All you have to do is ask.  It's scary, I know.  I've been there.  But it does work.   Just ask questions.  Let them do the rest of the talking.

Here is a recipe that can't go wrong for feeding your vegan friends.  Be sure to make extra, this is going to be very popular with every dietary choice (except for that one person I met who only eats red meat and white bread, he didn't like hummus, but the other few thousand people I know all love it - I wonder if white-bread-red-meat guy is still alive, he looked pretty ill last time I saw him.)

Hummus!  Glorious Hummus!  Your Basic Hummus Recipe

1 14oz tin of chick peas (drained)
4 cloves of garlic (pealed) 
small drizzle of lemon juice
small pinch of salt
some olive oil

  • Put all but the olive oil in the blitzer or blender (I use a blitzer, easier to clean, but others like a blender for this, it's more personal preference)
  • Blitz a little bit, then add a drizzle of olive oil.  Stop the blitzer and press down the chickpeas with a wooden spoon.  
  • Add a small drizzle of oil, redisturbet the mash in the blitzer, and blitzs.  Repeat until it's the desired consistency  I personally like a few small chunks of chickpeas in the hummus, but most people like it to be soft and creamy like a sickly yoghurt   
That's it.  Store in the fridge or upto 4 days.

This is a super-fast food to make.  You can make it and serve it right away, but I think it tastes better if made the day before.  Something about the garlic intensifying.

Serve with bread, crackers, or even carrot sticks.  Makes a great lunch, snack or appetizer.  Heck, I eat it for breakfast if it's in the house.

Affordable Cooking: Yep.  A can of chickpeas costs me about $1.20 (I buy the high end stuff), other ingredients about 5 cents.  So that's $1.25 for the dip.  If you make your own sourdough bread, a loaf should cost you a little under 60 cents.  Fresh veg cut up for dipping, another dollar or so.  So that's a lunch for 4, or appetizer for 8 people at a little over $3 total. 

Vegan Friendly: very much so.  But double check the ingredients list on your ingredients just to make sure.

Allergy friendly: Good for most people.  There is no soy, no eggs, no peanuts.  A lot of people with allergies avoid hummus because of the Tahini, but this is a more basic recipe with no nuts or seeds.  Should be fine for most allergies, but always double check with the person who has the allergies before serving to them.

I suspect, but please double check, that this hummus is good for people on a gluten free/low gluten diet.  

It is high in fibre, so consume in moderation if you are on a low fibre diet.

Bento friendly:  Great for bento.  But it does go a bit funny on hot weather days, so be sure to include an ice pack for hot days.

Healthy: I think so. It's high protein  garlic makes it extra good for your immune system.  Lots of trace minerals and vit. in the chickpeas.  A more or less complete meal when served with various raw veg and a small bit of bread.

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