If you entertain frequently, you may be running out of ideas for menu planning—especially if you like to organize your dinner party around a theme. To give yourself a challenge—and your guests a novelty that will also taste delicious—you can try picking an ingredient and using it throughout the night in as many different ways as possible. As an example, below is a dinner menu composed of recipes using hummus in all three courses. The added benefit of an ingredient like hummus is that there’s hummus nutrition (healthy amounts of protein, plus no saturated fat or cholesterol) packed into every bite.
- Appetizer: Upgraded Hummus Dips
As of 2008, over 15 million Americans said hummus was a regular part of their diet, and the numerous flavors of pre-made hummus—red pepper, garlic, pine nut, lemon and more—make dipping a popular use. But if you want to be a little more creative, simply take some salsa (a classic mild salsa works, if you don’t want to overwhelm your guests’ palates with spice) and mix it into your chosen hummus. The additional veggies look nice and fill out the hummus, while the peppers add spice. Dip with pita, chips and veggies as you usually would.
- Entree: Breaded Fish
If you look at many entree recipes using hummus, you’ll find that hummus is often used as a lower-fat substitute for mayonnaise. Try spreading a little hummus on fish (or chicken, if you’ve got picky eaters) before breading it and putting it in the oven. The hummus will both keep the fish moist as it bakes and keep the breading secure.
Serve with plenty of green veggies on the side. If you want hummus in your side dishes as well, you can dilute hummus with a little olive oil to make a decadently creamy dressing.
- Dessert: Hummus Napoleons
You may or may not be able to find this in stores, but there are numerous hummus recipes that bring out the sweet side of chickpeas. Since hummus, peanut butter, cinnamon and other spices all share earthy and nutty flavors, chocolate and peanut butter hummus or cinnamon spice hummus are surprisingly natural combinations.
Once you have your sweet hummus picked out, you can always choose to serve it in a bowl with sliced apples, pretzel sticks or other assorted dipping options (think of anything you would commonly dip in fondue). But if you don’t want to both start and end your meal with a dip, use your sweet hummus as the filling in a Napoleon. This classic French dessert typically features a custard in between layers of pastry. You can either use puff pastry, with your creamy hummus in between, or just stack up a few cinnamon graham crackers for a quicker version.
Would you try any of these less conventional recipes using hummus? Got any other ideas? Share in the comments.