It’s a long standing joke that if I favor some sort of store-bought comestible, and especially if I’m head-over-heels in love with it, then that’s pretty much the kiss of death for that particular product, and sometimes even the entire brand. One day I’ll announce to a friend with overflowing enthusiasm that I’ve found the best vegan wafer cookies right at our rinky dink, nothing special grocery store, or the most amazing artisanal bread at an oft-overlooked bakery, and BOOM- Just like that, not a trace of that delicious treasure shall ever seen seen again. Over and over, throughout my 21 years, has this pattern tormented my palate. Finding something so good, so utterly unsurpassed in every possible way, and then having it practically ripped right off your posed fork? It’s the worst sort of torture, leaving a craving permanently unfulfilled like that.
Thus, my saga of The Pizza Hummus should shock exactly no one. Discovered at a food trade show well over a year ago, where thousands of new, novel edibles are unveiled, this simple twist on the standard garbanzo mash was what I remembered best. Utterly brilliant- Everyone loves both pizza and hummus, after all- Why hadn’t I thought this up? Like an addict craving their next fix, I was champing at the bit for this new flavor to be available in stores, riffling through the hummus section thoroughly at every grocery expedition just to make sure I hadn’t overlooked it.
Weeks passed. Months crept by. The hummus never even broke into the marketplace, and I never heard of it again, like a bad boyfriend who “forgot” to call. What a way to play with a girl’s heart.
Despite the drama, there is a happy and very delicious ending to this tale. Finally growing frustrated at my pathetic dependence on some anonymous company to tame my taste buds, I took to the kitchen and did what I do best: Experiment, make a mess, and taste, taste, taste. Whether it’s exactly like the original inspiration may never be determined, but who needs whats-his-name when I have an even hotter dish on my hands now.
Saturated with rich, umami flavor, it’s like a roasted tomato puree, voluptuous “cheese” sauce, and the creamiest hummus possible all wrapped up in one spreadable, dip-able package. Just a touch of red pepper flake lends a faint, piquant bite, exactly the way a good slice ought to. The only thing missing is perhaps a paper-thin, crunchy crust, but just stock up on your favorite crackers, and it’s a done deal.
1/2 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Not Packed in Oil), Roughly Chopped
3 Cloves Roasted Garlic
1 15-Ounce Can Chickpeas, Rinsed and Drained
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Nutritional Yeast
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon Barley Miso Paste
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 – 3/4 Teaspoon Salt
Place your dried, chopped tomatoes in a small bowl, and pour in boiling water to cover. Let soak and rehydrate for about 10 minutes before proceeding, or else they’ll be too hard to blend properly.
Once nicely softened and plumped up, drain the tomatoes but reserve the water they were soaking in. Move the tomato piece into your food processor or blender- The more power you can bring to the party, the better, because that will only get the hummus smoother in the end. Add in the roasted garlic, and pulse briefly just to break down the two to a coarse pulp and make them easier to incorporate later. Follow that with all of the other ingredients, and make sure you start with just 1/4 teaspoon of salt now so that you can adjust it to taste later. Let the motor run until everything is mostly combined; it will probably look pretty dry. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then with the motor running, begin to stream in the reserved tomato water, until it reaches a consistency you’re happy with. Taste, add more salt if needed, and then let the machine run for another 5 – 10 minutes, until the hummus is velvety smooth and creamy.
To serve, top with an additional drizzle of oil- Trust me on this one, it really completes the whole “pizza” effect!
And for more variety, try topping it with your favorite pizza add-ons, such as finely chopped vegan pepperoni, sliced olives, roasted red peppers, sauteed mushrooms, or anything else you like on your pie!