Tara O’ Brady’s Hummus with White Miso

Hummus with White Miso | A Sweet Spoonful
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining a group of friends, acquaintances, and new-to-me faces when Tara O ‘Brady was in town promoting her cookbook, Seven Spoons. We all descended on Aran Goyoaga’s beautiful studio space in downtown Seattle for a Friday lunch that Aran and Tara cooked from the book, surrounded by blooming peonies, fizzy drinks, and good company. When I was on tour last year promoting my own cookbook, I remember how exhausting (albeit wonderful) it was just feeling “on” all the time while meeting and greeting new faces. But during the hour or so before we all sat down to lunch, I marveled at how calmly Tara was chatting and pulling together all of these dishes. I’m quite certain I would’ve been a wreck if someone had asked me to prepare a meal from my book in the middle of book tour in a room filled with many of my peers. But both Tara and Aran were busily chatting, delegating small tasks, garnishing away. To say everything was delicious would be an understatement; to say I felt like it was the best lunch I’ve had in a very long time would be the truth — and all a testament to how at home Tara is with her food and her style of cooking. While the roast chicken was incredible as were the roasted springy vegetables, greens, almonds and honeycomb — I couldn’t stop slathering that gorgeous, silky hummus onto everything in sight. I knew when I got home it’d be the first recipe from Tara’s book that I’d flip to. 

Hummus with White Miso | A Sweet Spoonful

Regardless of where you flip first, all of the recipes in Seven Spoons feel very much like a “Tara” recipe — you know the cookbooks you own (or the blogs you read) that have a very distinctive voice and perspective when it comes to the writing and approach to food? That’s how I’ve always felt about Tara’s blog and I was delighted to discover that I feel the same way about her cookbook. So many of the recipes may be something familiar to you at first glance but then there will a new ingredient or a fresh approach or way of looking at a dish that makes you excited to get into the kitchen. From Esquites and Yellow Tomato Gazpacho to Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies, I’ve got a good little list of “must try next” recipes awaiting my attention.

But first, hummus. The first thing I noticed when I got home and studied the recipe was that Tara uses miso in her hummus in addition to tahini which I haven’t seen before. She describes white miso as having a “fermented umami-rich edge” which is pretty spot on: its bold, rich flavor compliments the nutty tahini and the bright lemon beautifully. It’s the smoothest hummus I’ve ever encountered and perhaps the most well balanced (don’t tell Sam).

Hummus with White Miso | A Sweet Spoonful

Now Sam is a very tough audience when it comes to hummus. You may recall I wrote about his recipe a few years ago on the blog and he makes it often when we have friends over or when we need a quick potluck appetizer to bring to a friend’s house. The one major difference (although he would list many) that I think sets Sam’s hummus apart from others is that he uses much more tahini than is commonly called for — he insists real Lebanese hummus doesn’t shy away from it. Other hummus that doesn’t follow suit is really more of a “bean dip,” according to Sam. For instance, most storebought hummus is decidedly, 100% a bean dip. No question. So he was a bit skeptical when I told him I was making Tara’s hummus, but was also intrigued by the use of miso and the interesting garnishes.

The verdict? I had a big dollop with my salad for lunch yesterday and Sam had some of our crisp crackers dipped in it when he got home from the office. He did not call it bean dip, and even had seconds (this is saying a lot) when we brought it to picnic with friends at the park last night. We’re both looking forward to the leftovers. It’s a memorable one, this hummus, and I have a hunch that the rest of the book may just follow suit.

Hummus with White Miso | A Sweet Spoonful

Megan’s Notes: I made a few tweaks to Tara’s recipe due to pantry shortage and last minute inspiration: In her recipe, she calls for 1/4 cup blanched almonds which she has you pulverize in the food processor before adding the beans; I didn’t have any in the cupboard but I did have almond meal so I went this route instead. In addition, we have two big jars of lemons we preserved this winter and at the very last moment, I decided to add a heaping tablespoon of chopped preserved lemon to the hummus, which added a subtle, bright perkiness. Do know that preserved lemons are naturally quite salty, so adjust your seasoning accordingly. If you don’t have them around, I wouldn’t buy them for such a small amount, but I had a hunch they’d be great. My tweaks are reflected in the recipe below.

Hummus with White Miso
Slightly adapted from: Seven Spoons by Tara O’ Brady
Tara makes some great recommendations for garnishes that make this dish really beautiful and add interesting layers of flavor; if you don’t have any of these on hand, a simple drizzling of olive oil or sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds will be a really good start. 

Makes: About 2 1/2 cups (600ml)

3 tablespoons almond meal
2 cups (450g) cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce can)
1/4 cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini
1/4 cup (60 ml) white (shiro) miso
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Juice from 1/2 lemon, about 2 tablespoons, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon (optional)
About 1/2 cup water (120ml)
Fine-grain sea salt and ground black pepper, to season
Toasted sesame oil or olive oil, to finish (optional)

Garnish options: coriander or cumin seeds (toasted), ground sumac or za’atar, toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts, minced flat-leaf parsley and chives, assorted sprouts, or fried shallots.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add the almond meal and chickpeas and run the machine, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionlly, until the beans are crumbly and light. Pour in the tahini, miso, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and preserved lemon. Blend again for 2 minutes or so, then scrape down the sides of the machine.

Switch on the motor and start drizzling in enough water, slowly, so that the hummus billows up, aerated and fluffy. Depending on the beans, you may not use all the water, or you might need more. Let the machine run for about 2 minutes, or until the consistency is nice and smooth. Taste and check for seasoning; add salt and pepper if you’d like. For a roasted accent, drizzle in some toasted sesame oil.

Let the hummus sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving, or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 3 days. Serve with your choice of garnishes.

Comments

  1. Nicole

    i cannot wait to try this hummus - hopefully next week when I finally have access to hummus again in California (speaking of - if you're down at all this summer we'll be there til the end of August!). And the pb cookies are SO good. I've made them 3x already. xo

    1. megang

      N-Those pb cookies are on my high priority to-do list. They look great, and I'm glad to hear they have your seal of approval. Gosh, I wish we were heading to CA this summer, but I'm afraid we're headed to NY in July and then sticking close to home. I'm so glad you get some good SF time in though; much deserved / needed, I know :) xo

  2. Danielle

    This sounds so intregueing. I too add preserved lemon to my hummus but the addition of the miso has my curiosity peeked. I cannot wait to give this recipe a try along with keeping an eye out for this book. Thank you. PS- I love reading your blog.

    1. megang

      Ah, thanks so much Danielle. So glad you're enjoying the blog. Have a great weekend, Megan

  3. Millie | Add A Little

    Oh my gosh Megan this looks amazing! I love miso and adore hummus - what could be better?!

  4. Anna

    Yumm I love hummus!!! looks amazing :)

    https://aspoonfulofnature.wordpress.com/

  5. Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic

    I love miso and tahini - they're two additions to my favourite avocado on toast and to my vegetarian friendly mushroom gravy. Can't wait to try them here!

  6. francesca

    We also keep a tub of this good stuff around for snacking and salad-ing. Yours is gorgeous.

  7. Kate

    What an intriguing combination! I am a big fan of all kinds of hummus but I must try this....and get that cookbook!!

  8. Lindsey

    Wow! This looks like an amazing way to improve on classic hummus. I love miso in all forms, so this is a must try!

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