This Smoky Red Lentil Hummus is a bit of a game-changer for me! I love the standard hummus in almost all its forms and flavors, but it can feel a bit heavy. Not so with this light and airy Red Lentil Hummus.
Smoky Red Pepper Hummus is light and creamy and has flavor for days! Who’d think lentils could ever taste so good?
About Smoky Red Lentil Hummus:
This hummus-like dip (or spread) has a fabulous texture but it’s the taste that has me craving it! Just a few simple ingredients literally transform those pretty little red lentils into a deep, smoky, garlicky deliciousness.
While a little bit of good (extra virgin is fabulous in this) olive oil grounds the smoked paprika in this hummus; you really don’t need as much olive oil as you might need for traditional hummus. That helps this appetizer feel a bit lighter, too. You do need a touch because the olive oil carries flavor and brings out the best in the smoked paprika.
One of the downfalls of big bold flavor is it can easily overwhelm your palette. You start out by tasting every nuance in this (or any other food with heavier flavors that are used here) but at some point, the flavor seems to diminish. A good squeeze of lemon in this hummus helps to balance out the garlic and smoky paprika and keeps everything tasting fresh and vibrant.
How to Serve this dip/spread:
The classic way to serve is as shown in my pics! Any hummus makes a marvelous spread for sandwiches or wraps. Hummus can be thinned with a bit of water and a little vinegar to make a vegetable or salad dressing.
Add hummus to a yogurt-based marinade, which is particularly good on chicken. Same with chicken salad. Try a tablespoon or two over noodles – and it’s a fabulous shortcut with dried ramen noodles if you don’t like the spice packets.
Making Smoky Red Lentil Hummus:
This fabulous little dip/spread is pretty straightforward to make. I like to use my little blender (nutribullet – they are not paying me to say that!) when making this or any hummus – I think they just get creamier. Any blender will do, though, if you don’t have a nutribullet type. Some standard blenders come with a cup for smoothies, and that makes creamier hummus, too.
Personally, I’d stay away from a food processor if possible; it’s tedious stopping and scraping and the final product never seems quite as creamy as a hummus made in the nutribullet or blender.
The lentils are quick and easy to cook. Rinse them first, in a strainer, then drop them into boiling water. They’ll take around 15 to 20 minutes. When finished, pour them back into the strainer and rinse them with cold water to bring their temperature down. Drain them well.
Other than those few notes, I have nothing else to say! Just follow along with the recipe. Make sure to taste and adjust any of the seasonings to your taste. Since the red lentils can be a bit of a variable depending on how much water they’ve absorbed, you might need to adjust the texture – but that’s all in the recipe. When cold, Smoky Red Lentil hummus will be a bit thicker, so take that under advisement when making it.
Doncha love that I say I have nothing more to say and then I say more!
Options for Smoky Red Lentil Hummus:
Smoky Red Lentil Hummus doesn’t have to be smoky! Sub in plain old paprika if you’d like a lighter taste. Start out with a little, maybe half the amount, and add more as you wish.
I always like to “decorate” my hummus and add to the flavor by drizzling it with a bit of olive oil and then adding some spice or another. I’ve mentioned paprika, smoked or sweet, and red pepper flakes, but my absolute favorite is Za’atar. (I have a post on za’atar, and how to make Homemade Za’atar, btw.) You can customize your hummus with whatever spice you’d like!
You have a lot of variation in flavor just as you do when making standard hummus – although some might think any variation of the standard, traditional hummus is an abomination! Try your favorite flavors in this dip/spread. Be aware that the color has a slightly orangy hue, so spice accordingly.
Storing Smoky Red Lentil Hummus:
Your Lentil Hummus can be stored, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to a week. It may be thicker when cold. Add a touch of water if needed.
Any hummus freezes well. Cover tightly (a thin layer of olive oil on the top helps preserve it.) For food safety reasons, thaw overnight in the fridge. If it has separated, just stir it back together.
Want More Red Lentil Recipes?
Red Lentils, like their cousins, Green Lentils, and Brown Lentils are inexpensive and full of health benefits. Read more about Lentils at Wikipedia. Red Lentils in particular are considered to be Superfood, so if you’d like to work more into your diet, try one of the recipes, below! Red Lentils are easy to work with, cook quickly, and are not as “earthy” tasting as the other lentils. As a matter of fact, they absorb other flavors well.
For another dip, check out Red Lentil Dip with a Spanish Flair. If you love soup as much as I do, try Thai Red Pepper Soup with Coconut & Curry or Naf Naf Lentil Soup.
Saving Money on Smoky Red Lentil Hummus:
- Red lentils, like all legumes and pulses, are downright cheap compared to so many other protein sources. Check the store for any unadvertised specials after any holiday where ham is served. When beans are discounted (so many make ham and bean soup) often all the items in that section are discounted. You’ll find the best prices at a market rather than your regular grocery store, though.
- The Tahini can be a pricy item! Always check the sales bins or carts if you use it, and pick it up when you see it. I have found tahini is just fine well after the recommended “best if used by” date. Tahini will always separate after it’s been stored for a while. Stir it back together. If in doubt about freshness, open the jar – you will notice a rancid odor if it’s too old. In the fridge, for freshness, store the jar upside down.
- I often serve any hummus with pita chips, but the last time I bought any (you’ll probably recognize what kind from the photo surrounding my hummus!) they were super pricy and half broken! I love making my own Homemade Baked Pita Chips and even when pitas might be a little pricy, the resulting chips will be a big saving. For even more savings, buy pita with a pocket; separate the two sides before baking – not quite as attractive but very thrifty!
It seems lately, I often don’t have time (or make the time) to sit down and have a full meal and sometimes snacks like this one are standing in while I’m catching up on my food tv and/or magazines or books! I sure feel better about eating snacky food that has some health benefits. This dip would be great at a party or as a starter before a dinner party or holiday meal!
Take care, all and let me know how you like this dip if you make it!
Rough Draft Smoky Red Lentil Hummus
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: varies
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: about 2 cups 1x
- Category: appetizer
- 1 cup (about 1/2 package) red lentils
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1/4 cup water (more or less as needed)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for serving
- juice of 1/2 lemon (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt to taste (suggest 1 teaspoon)
- Paprika (sweet or smoked), red pepper flakes, or Za’atar, for serving
- vegetables, pita, or pita chip for dipping
Cook lentils according to package until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, add to a strainer, rinse to cool.
In a food processor or high-powered blender, finely chop garlic. Add lentils, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and add salt to taste. Process, scraping down the sides as necessary, until smooth.
Taste and adjust salt (or other items) as needed. If dip is too thin, add tahini, one tablespoon at a time. If dip is too thick, add a tablespoon of water and process again, Repeat if necessary.
Place in serving bowl, make a spiral in the top of the hummus with the back of a spoon. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with your choice of paprika (sweet or Smoky), red pepper flakes, or Za’atar.
Keywords: Appetizer, Hummus, Legumes & Pulses, Lemon, Lentil, tahini
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