Now that jars of preserved lemons live in our refrigerator, Preserved Lemon Hummus reigns as our favorite. Preserved lemons add an amazingly deep and complex lemon flavor to hummus. Try a spoonful on a crisp leaf of baby romaine or on an inside leaf of butter lettuce. Top with a thick slice of avocado and you have a most satisfying breakfast, lunch, snack and/or dinner.
Use the preserved lemon flesh, not the peel in making hummus
Most recipes that include preserved lemon use only the peel and discard the interior flesh. In my first experiment with adding preserved lemon to hummus, I did just that. I removed the flesh from the peel and only used the peel. The second time I decided to add both the preserved lemon flesh and peel to the hummus.
Then the third time and every time since, I remove the flesh from the peel and only use the flesh. The peel gets returned to the jar to use in all those other recipes. The added zing of preserved lemons comes through bright and lively using just the flesh in Preserved Lemon Hummus. Plus just the flesh creates a smoother textured hummus than when made with the peel.
Update: the amount of preserved lemon to use depends on the size and variety of your lemons. I first prepared this recipe using smaller and less acidic Meyer lemons. With the larger and more common lemons, one quarter of a lemon (using both the flesh and peel and removing the seeds) give the best flavor. So you be the judge. If at all uncertain, start with the lesser amount. You can always add more.
The process of preserving lemons takes at least 5 weeks. Until your lemons are ready, look for preserved lemons at Middle Eastern grocers, at gourmet markets, as well as online.
Interesting aside: some recipes say preserved lemons are ready in as few as 7 days. Difficult for me to imagine that they have the same depth of flavor as the longer preserved lemons. So I’m sticking with my recipe with the lengthier fermentation time.
Do you have any experience with or an opinion on the quickly-preserved lemons?
Saturday’s Fermentation Workshop
An enthusiastic group of ladies joined me in last Saturday’s Fermentation Workshop. On display were many of the fermented items to be tasted and prepared during the workshop. A jar of Preserved Lemons sits on the left. They’re followed by White Kimchi, Giardiniera, Labneh Korat on top of Cultured Country-Style Mustard next to Fresh Ginger Kombucha. The funny looking stuff on the far right is a jar of SCOBYs. I’d been saving them to give to each of the students to start making their own kombucha at home. Finally, and mostly obscured by a kraut pounder, is a jar of Fig & Orange Jam.
After a short introduction to the art of fermentation, I showed everyone how easy it is to prepare preserved lemons. Next came Preserved Lemon Hummus using a lemon from a previously prepared jar of preserved lemons. Here’s the hummus garnished with a swirl of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a ring of mixed Greek olives.
The olives were tossed and marinated the day before with thinly sliced preserved lemon peel, finely chopped fresh rosemary and some aromatic fennel seeds. Labneh Korat, a bowl of Cultured Country-Style Mustard, a selection of fresh vegetables and some gluten-free crackers created a bounteous and colorful appetizer.
A fun, informative and delicious workshop with the Preserved Lemon Hummus enjoyed by all. I should have made a double batch.
The number of quarters of lemon to use in your hummus depends on the type of lemon and its size. This recipe was formulated using preserved Meyer lemons which are smaller and less acidic than regular lemons. With regular lemons, start with one quarter. Taste the hummus before adding more.
Preparing vegan, dairy and gluten-free hummus with the flesh of a preserved lemon adds a unique depth of lemon flavor.
Serve Preserved Lemon Hummus with or without a swirl of your best olive oil. Try it with sliced jicama, cucumber and carrot. Or spread it on a leaf of baby romaine lettuce topped with a wedge of avocado.
Note: the amount of preserved lemon to use depends on the size and variety of your lemons. I first prepared this recipe using smaller and less acidic Meyer lemons. With the larger and more common lemons, one quarter of a lemon (using both the flesh and peel and removing the seeds) give the best flavor. So you be the judge. If at all uncertain, start with the lesser amount. You can always add more.
Makes about 3 ½ cups Printer-Friendly Recipe
Start to Finish 15-20 minutes
2 15-ounce cans (3 cups) organic chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained, reserving the liquid from one can
1 large clove peeled garlic, or more to taste
3 tablespoons tahini
Flesh removed from the peel of 3 of the quarters of a preserved Meyer lemon, seeded (return the peel to the jar of preserved lemons) Alternatively, start with one quarter of a regular preserved lemon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes or other red chili flakes
½ teaspoons high quality salt
12 twists freshly ground pepper
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup reserved liquid from can
½ cup cilantro, tightly packed
1. With your food processor running, drop the clove of garlic down the feed tube. In about 10 seconds it will be finely minced.
2. Stop the processor. Scrape the garlic off the sides of the work bowl.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed, except for the cilantro.
4. Process the hummus for 4 minutes, scraping the sides of the work bowl once or twice to incorporate all of the ingredients.
5. Add the cilantro. Process for 1 minute.
6. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
7. Add some of the additional reserved garbanzo liquid if you prefer a softer hummus.
8. Preserved Lemon Hummus can be enjoyed immediately or for up to a week when kept refrigerated.