Hummus is having an identity crisis.
Hummus means chickpeas
I didn’t realize what a stickler for “tradition” I’d become. The last straw, so to speak, came after making a recipe called “Squash Hummus.” It sounded interesting so I tried it. Only to be completely surprised. Hummus it was not. Not even close in texture, taste or appearance. Yet, with a few embellishments it’s absolutely delicious. No need to call it hummus. This Winter Squash Spread stands on its own.
In spite of what many people think, the word hummus is not a generic term for a spread or dip. In Arabic, hummus means “chickpeas.” And the classic chickpea, tahini, garlic, lemon, olive oil spread we’ve come to love also has an Arabic name, ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna. Though, most of us just call it hummus.
And we’re willing to accept many variations on the theme (i.e., roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic, pesto, etc.). However, in my very humble opinion, just because the classic ingredients are present, if chickpeas aren’t among them, let’s call it something other than hummus. Okay, a compromise might be putting “hummus” in quotes. This at least shows the reader that this spread is “hummus-like” and doesn’t include its namesake chickpeas. There must be a better solution. What do you think?
Winter Squash Spread
Winter Squash Spread was my best attempt at naming this roasted squash recipe. At least you know immediately that the featured ingredient is winter squash.
Even without a trendy name, Winter Squash Spread has complexity of taste, luxuriously smooth texture, savory-sweet flavor and a striking golden-orange hue. Filling, satisfying and so delicious made with any of the sweet-fleshed winter squash. Now, during October and November, you’ll find the freshest winter squash in almost unlimited variety. Choose your favorite—be it kabocha, butternut, buttercup, uchiki kuri or delicata—and start cooking.
I put out a platter of Winter Squash Spread surrounded by leaves of butter lettuce. It joined the Fig Black Olive Walnut Tapenade, ripe brie and Belgian endive appetizer served during this past Saturday’s cooking class. The Winter Squash Spread had crowd appeal. Thumbs up from everyone in the class plus requests for the recipe.
We placed a smear of Winter Squash Spread on tender butter lettuce with a dollop of the tapenade. Wonderful flavor, color and contrasting textures. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers this way every day since the class for lunch and sometimes breakfast, too.
- Tasty and colorful served in a lettuce wrap with a bit of Fig Black Olive Walnut Tapenade.
- Just right spread on toast or crackers with fresh cilantro leaves.
- So good with apple slices and yogurt cheese.
Whether your squash has relatively dry or moist flesh determines how much additional water you’ll want to add to the Winter Squash Spread. Add the water a tablespoon at a time at the end, until you reach a spreadable texture. Naturally gluten-free.
Thank you Eli Kulp of High Street on Market in Philadelphia, for inspiring this recipe.
Makes about 3½ cups Printer-Friendly Recipe.
Start to Finish – 1½ hours including time to bake and cool the squash
2-3 pound sweet winter squash, i.e., butternut, buttercup, uchiki kuri, delicata, kabocha, etc.
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
l large clove garlic
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or other red pepper flakes
6 twists freshly ground pepper
½ half cup good olive oil
¼ cup tahini
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, optional
1-5 tablespoons water, added 1 tablespoon at a time
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the squash in half. Brush the flesh with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Place the squash on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut-side down. Roast until very soft, about 45 minutes. Remove and let cool at room temperature.
- As soon as you can handle the squash, scoop out the flesh. You want about 4 cups of packed, cooked squash. Discard the skin.
- With the food processor running, drop the garlic through the feed tube to mince it.
- Add the cooked squash, lemon juice, salt, Aleppo pepper, freshly ground pepper, olive oil and tahini to the food processor. Process until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the Greek yogurt and optional cilantro. Process 1 minute.
- If the mixture is too thick to spread, stir in 1 tablespoon of water at a time until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Remember, it may thicken a bit more as it sits.
- Taste and adjust the salt if necessary.