I’ve been playing it too safe here, lately. (Yes, I swear this does have something to do with beanless hummus!)
I have a tendency to default to “people pleaser” in my life because I’m naturally very conflict avoidant, often to my own detriment. So, for a few different reasons, I’m making an effort this year to work on that.
And one of the simplest ways to do that is to allow myself to make, create & share what I really want, rather than censor myself or feel like I have to constantly stay in “my” lane… whatever the hell that means.
There are two different elements to this: first, that I have been feeling a little stuck in my “only AIP recipes” bubble & after 5 years or so here. (Mostly because I’m sick of telling myself “no” whenever I have a fun, non-AIP recipe idea.) Secondly, as an immigrant and non-American living in the US but writing predominantly for a US audience, I have often found myself questioning whether a recipe I love is too “weird” to share here.
But the end result of that is I worry too much about what people want… which is honestly impossible to provide in the first place! People have & will always ask me for different things and I likely would never be able to meet all of those conflicting needs & desires, anyway.
While I’m definitely not going to stop sharing AIP recipes and feeding that community, I’m allowing myself to expand on the kind of recipes I share here. For the sake of my creativity and happiness, it’s really time for me to make that change because it will allow me to keep feeling inspired, rather than overwhelmed and torn in too many different directions at once. Which is definitely how I’ve been feeling lately.
And as someone who loves bold flavors, fun ingredients and adventurous eating, that is really going to help me feel both that this little corner of the internet reflects me better… and less like it’s as simultaneously scary and silent as it has felt recently.
Now, back to the beanless hummus. This take is heavily inspired by the hummus tehina from Zahav chef Michael Solomonov, but using raw cashews as a stand-in for the traditional chickpeas. The garlic is mellowed in lemon, strained and discarded. That means the garlic flavor comes through, without any of the overwhelm that raw garlic can imbue in dips. The tahini is whipped until it’s aerated, glossy and cloud-like. There’s a hint of lemon that doesn’t take over but rather balances and enhances the earthy cumin that is scented throughout.
While this cashew version of beanless hummus has a very similar texture and flavor to the classic recipes that informed it, I do find that it is considerably richer than its leguminous inspiration, so I’ll be a little less heavy handed on the portion sizes! Depending on appetite and what you serve it with, this plate could easily serve up to 8 as an appetizer.
Because I really love to level up flavors, I topped this beanless hummus with a well-seasoned, spice-rich seasoned beef. It makes for a lovely textural contrast to the creamy hummus, while the scent of the still-warm topping makes this plate completely enticing.
So far, this dish is a whole bunch of rich & decadent, so I topped that sizzling beef with tangy, zingy lemon pickled onions. They use very little vinegar, getting most of their flavor from fresh lemon juice, bringing both citrus-y goodness and a hint of acidity that cuts all of that richness beautifully. Also? They’re a simply gorgeous, vibrant color that you’ll have to see in person to believe!
This dish is exactly the kind of food I love: bold but nuanced, layered but not complex, adventurous & unapologetic. And I think this place could use a few more recipes along those lines, don’t you?
PS – I served & photographed this with the AIP Pita Wedges on p.222 of The Paleo Healing Cookbook.Print
Beanless Hummus with Spiced Beef & Lemon Pickled Onions
This take on beanless hummus is rich, creamy and laced with tahini, spiked with cumin & livened up with a little lemon & garlic. Classic flavor, no legumes! Topped off with warm spiced beef & zingy quick pickles, this is a riot of color and flavors.
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes, plus soaking time
- Yield: Serves 6
- Category: appetizer
- Method: stove top, food processor
For the Lemon Pickled Onions:
- 2 cups / 300 g thinly sliced red onion, about 1 medium
- 1/2 cup / 120 ml fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp / 30 ml white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
For the Beanless Hummus:
- 1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g raw unsalted cashews, I like these
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml high quality tahini, I like this one
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml very cold water
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
For the Spiced Beef:
- 2 tbsp / 30 ml avocado or olive oil
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 lb / 454 g lean-ish ground beef, around 85 / 15
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
SOAK: Put the raw cashews into a bowl and pour over enough just-boiled water to cover the cashews by about an inch / 2.5 cm. Cover and soak for 8 hours, or overnight. Drain now cloudy liquid from the soaked cashews and rinse them in a strainer until the water runs clear. Let drain again so no excess liquid remains.
PICKLE: Peel and slice the red onion finely, then add to a mixing bowl along with the lemon juice, white wine vinegar and salt. Toss to coat with tongs. Let the onions sit at room temperature while you prepare the beanless hummus & spiced beef, tossing to coat every 10 – 15 minutes or so. (You can make these ahead of time: after an hour at room temperature, transfer the onions and their pickling liquid to an airtight jar, pressing the pickled onions down into the liquid gently. Pop the lid on and keep them in the fridge for a week or so. By the next day, the onions will be a bright, vivid pink all over.)
CHOP: Pop the unpeeled garlic cloves into the bowl of a food processor, along with the lemon juice and salt. Pulse until the garlic is roughly chopped, scrape down the sides so the garlic sits in the lemon juice and leave to mellow the flavors out for 10 minutes or so.
STRAIN: Place a small strainer over a bowl and scrape the garlic & lemon mixture from the food processor bowl into the strainer. Press down with the back of the spoon to squeeze out as much liquid from the garlic as possible, then discard the dry garlic pulp. Add the strained liquid back to the food processor bowl.
WHIP: Add the tahini to the food processor and pulse a few times. Using the feeder tube, slowly add the cold water to the tahini mixture with the food processor running, until all the water has been added and the tahini is whipped into a soft, lighter and completely smooth mixture.
BLEND: Sprinkle the cumin into the bowl and add the soaked, drained cashews. Process for a couple minutes, until you have a smooth, creamy & light hummus texture. Taste and adjust lemon, salt and cumin, as needed. If you like, you can thin with additional water, too, although I didn’t here.
SEASON: Pour the oil into a skillet over medium heat until it just begins to shimmer, then add all of the seasonings other than the salt. Scrape and stir as the spices fry until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the ground meat to the pan and sprinkle with salt, stirring to coat with the spice mixture. Cook for a few minutes, until the meat stops sizzling, then begin to break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon as it releases its juices. Cook until the meat is glossy, browned and any cooking liquid has evaporated, then remove from the heat.
ASSEMBLE: Spoon the Beanless Hummus onto a platter, swooshing it smooth with the back of the spoon. Scatter over as much of the warm, spiced beef as you like – I usually don’t use all of it – and top with some of the lemon pickled onions. Drizzle with olive oil, extra tahini, sesame seeds & chopped herbs, if you like.
This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups / 380 g of plain hummus without the meat & extra toppings; feel free to swap this out with whatever hummus you prefer!
For AIP, swap the Beanless Hummus for my Garlic & Artichoke Hummus recipe. Omit the cumin, paprika, black pepper & cardamom, swapping out the nutmeg for mace. Add an extra 1/2 tsp each of oregano & parsley, and extra 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon. Add a 1/2 tsp of ground ginger.
Pictured above are my AIP Pita Wedges from p.222 of The Paleo Healing Cookbook.