If you follow me (and if you don’t, I’d love it if you would, by email, on facebook or pinterest) you’re going to think I’ve gone a little Cauliflower Cray Cray! And I have! I recently made “Essential Oven Roasted Cauliflower” and then I made Cauliflower with Dates & Pine Nuts. Now, here’s Smoky Cauliflower Hummus.
I’m loving this quick and easy (once you roast the cauliflower, which is nothing with my easy method) and ever so tasty Cauliflower Hummus and I think you will, too. Now I love cauliflower, so it’s a no brainer that I’d love this, but the big surprise is you’d be hard-pressed to even guess there is cauliflower in this dip/spread at all.
About Smoky Cauliflower Hummus:
This dip is creamy and spicy and fluffy and flavorful and you’d never guess in a zillion years that it had any cauliflower at all in it. It’s a great way to health things up or serve a hummus for any who can’t eat the standard recipes with no compromise in flavor. Now for me, I love my chickpeas and eat them often in recipes and salads and so on, so there are no limiting factors at my house; I just make this because it’s delicious!
The smoky flavor comes in part from the roasted cauliflower, but that’s pretty minimal. Mostly, you’re going to pick up that flavor from the smoked paprika. This recipe also has a good amount of spice, not too much, but these spices tend to be the “sneaky” kind. They build up a little bit as the hummus sits and as you eat more of it. Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste but be careful.
When I first started making this recipe, I sprinkled the top with a little smoked paprika, mostly just for a little color; these days I like to use the spice, Za’atar. It brings a little texture and a whole slew of marvelous flavor to the party. I find it pricy to buy and make my Homemade Za’atar, but fair warning, it does require Sumac, a spice that might be difficult to find in some areas of the country. I use both Za’atar and Sumac in several recipes and use Za’atar on Avocado or Hummus toast, and love it on my Homemade Baked Pita Chips, pictured here. Once you have Za’atar in your cupboard you’ll probably think of a zillion ways to use it!
Making Smoky Cauliflower Hummus:
This recipe is super easy and the best way to make it is in a blender, although this time I used a food processor. The difference is the blender will make this super smooth and creamy while a food processor will never give it that texture.
Your first step is to roast the cauliflower; I use this super simple recipe for Essential Oven Roasted Cauliflower. It doesn’t need anything, just salt, and pepper. You can add a little olive oil before roasting that cauliflower if you wish. When it’s out of the oven, let it cool to room temperature and proceed with the recipe. Save a few nicely roasted small bits and pieces of cauliflower out if you wish to garnish. (Note that if you refrigerate the cauliflower or use leftover cauliflower the final hummus won’t be as creamy.
Make this all in the blender or food processor or if you prefer, mix the hummus and then transfer to a bowl to add the spices. That works well if you want to taste and adjust the spices as you go. If you wish, rather than using powdered garlic, you can saute a big clove of garlic, minced in the oil for this recipe. I simply choose to use powder because garlic can get stronger as it sits.
Saving Time on Smoky Cauliflower Hummus:
To save time when making this recipe:
- Use precut cauliflower.
- Steam cauliflower in the microwave rather than roasting (the taste will be different.)
- Use your favorite spice mix instead of measuring individual spices.
- Substitute store-bought Pita chips.
Saving Money on Smoky Cauliflower Hummus:
I won’t leave you high and dry without a shopping tip or two. Watch the sale prices on cauliflower and whether it is sold by the pound or as a unit. If it’s by the unit (head) buy the largest you can find.
Tahini can be super-pricey. Look for tahini in the grocery store when specialty items go on sale, usually around holidays, especially Easter. Watch for tahini on sale, often unadvertised (take a peek at it when you walk down the aisle) and check in the area where “specialty” items are sold and make sure to check in any Greek or Middle Eastern areas if your store has them.
Most of all, paw around the discount/closeout bins or shelves if your store has them. It might be more likely to find tahini nearing the “best if used by date” or even slightly past. Sometimes it’s tahini that has separated into layers of oil and sesame paste; it that’s the case it doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just happens with time to products that aren’t “homogenized” or have lots of chemical stabilizers or sugar like natural or organic nut butter and tahini. Just stir it back together, a messy job. Do it over a bowl so anything that spills over can be added back in. Tahini as long as it’s been stored properly should be fine well past the “best if used by” date but don’t go too far out.
At home, after opening, store your tahini tightly sealed and upside down; it will stay fresher for weeks.
Smoky Cauliflower Hummus
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
- Category: Appetizers
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
- 1/2 head cauliflower (1 to 1 1/2 lbs.), trimmed and cut into 2-inch florets (about 4 cups florets) Oven Roasted save a few small pieces for garnish.
- 1/2 cup well-stirred tahini
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup water (start with 1/2 cup, add more as needed)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little to drizzle on top
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, possibly more, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, plus a little to sprinkle on top
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 1/1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For garnish: Za’atar or a pinch of red chili flakes and a pinch of smoked paprika and a few pieces of cauliflower
Put 1/2 cup water in a blender with roasted cauliflower along with tahini, olive oil and lemon juice and blend, adding more water as needed, remaining ingredients. (up to 1/4 cup) and scraping sides often, until you have a creamy purée, about 4 minutes. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you like.
Place in bowl and add smoked paprika, pepper, cayenne, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and garlic powder. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon into a serving bowl and drizzle with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle with Za’atar or a pinch of smoked paprika and red pepper flakes, and a few pieces of roasted cauliflower.
- Recipe may be doubled.
- May be made ahead.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to several days.
Keywords: Appetizer, Cauliflower, Hummus, Middle Eastern, oven roasted cauliflower, Spreads and Dips, tahini.