Telling someone that you are a vegetarian guarantees that you will be asked the following questions: a) Do you eat fish? and b) How do you get enough protein? If you're like me, you field the second question with a ribald joke of an answer that will make everyone around you blush awkwardly and be forever unable to look your husband in the eye.
Speaking of awkward, remember that Friends episode that guest-starred Noah Wyle and George Clooney? The argumentative conversation between Monica and Rachel made the guys feel awkward and uncomfortable, and to change the subject, they complimented the hummus. "God bless the chickpea!" says the George Clooney character, and although that episode aired many years ago when I had a Rachel haircut myself, I think of that line every time I make hummus, which is often.
God bless the chickpea, indeed. Awkward jokes aside, I get a great deal of protein in my diet from beans and legumes. The chickpea, that versatile little legume, is a nutritional powerhouse—one cup contains 11 grams of protein, 10 grams of fibre, and 25% of the recommended daily intake of iron.
This hummus, therefore, is not only a brilliant source of protein and other nutrients, but it is also delicious, with an extra zip of flavour from the roasted red pepper. I add tofu to make it extra creamy, but if you are not a fan of tofu, Greek yogurt works well too, and they are both great sources of protein. No joking around—this is a protein-packed snack.
On a baking sheet, place red pepper under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, turning often, until skin is charred and black. Place blackened pepper in a bowl and cover tightly. When cooled, rub skin off with a paper towel, and slice into quarters, discarding seeds and stem. *Short-cut: skip this step and use a jarred roasted red pepper instead.*
In a food processor, whirl together roasted red pepper slices, rinsed and drained chickpeas, tofu or Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and tahini. Process until very smooth.
Add pepper and salt to taste.
Serve with pitas, chips, crackers, crudites, or as a sandwich spread. Top with extra chopped red pepper, if desired.
This hummus goes great with pita and my Ode to Joy Greek Salad. Don't want to buy a whole jar of tahini for just one recipe? Never fear, use it up by making Maple Coconut Tahini Treats or my Roasted Vegetable and Rice Salad.