Hummus: Sweet Potato and Pumpkin

My world underwent a quiet but dramatic change about a month ago. My dear friend Rocco, who is a fabulous cook, started it all when he pointed me to the beet hummus on the Simply Recipes site.

Up to that point, I’d never considered anything other than chickpeas and roasted red peppers as the basis for hummus. How foolish I was! If the unloved beet could be converted into a delicious hummus, then anything was possible.

Luckily, two purple sweet potatoes from the Durham Farmers’ Market rested on my counter top at that time, waiting for their moment of glory. Looking at them, I was certain I was about to blaze a trail through the hummus jungle, forging past black bean and red pepper and into a territory of new taste. I’d be the first person to make sweet potato hummus. I’d be famous. I’d never have to work again.

Following the general contours of the beet hummus recipe, I came up with a sweet potato hummus using the purple sweet potatoes, with just the right mix of spice with lots of lemon to brighten the flavor.

My success made me think that other vegetables in the same genre, such as winter squash, might also work. Having bought about a dozen cans of pumpkins (on sale!) over the holidays, I tackled pumpkin hummus next. Experiments led me to tone down the lemon, allowing the pumpkin to assert itself. The addition of tomatoes increased the acidity but provided a softer, earthier complement to the gentle pumpkin than more lemon would have and made for a more balanced flavor.

After my work was done, I googled “sweet potato hummus” and “pumpkin hummus” just to confirm that I was the first.

I won’t humiliate myself by linking to the results. So the blogosphere is not likely to be wowed by this post. But I like both these recipes. Unlike many of the other hummus variations I discovered, these don’t include chickpeas, which allows the flavor of the base ingredient to stand out. Maybe I’m not the first, but I’ll imagine I’m among the best.

Pumpkin hummus, foreground, and purple sweet potato hummus. (My limited photography skills kept me from getting a good close-up of the sweet potato hummus Let’s just say that the close-ups took the idea of “food porn” to a new and somewhat disgusting level.)

Sweet Potato Hummus

1 cup cooked sweet potato (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup olive oil (or more to taste)
1/4 cup tahini (or more to taste)
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 – 2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cardamom
2 tsp. cumin (or to taste)

Mix ingredients in food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with celery, carrots, bread, or crackers.

Pumpkin Hummus

1 can pumpkin
4 tbsp. tahini
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cardamom
4 tbsp. crushed tomato (or more to taste)
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Mix ingredients in food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with celery, carrots, bread, or crackers.

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