And since I always recommend buying and eating produce that’s in season and locally grown as much as possible, it’s a good idea to take advantage of this cheap option to get more veggies into your diet.
I’m always looking for creative new ways to cook with vegetables, so I was intrigued when this recipe popped up in my Pinterest feed not long ago. I immediately checked it out, liked what I saw, and saved it. And when I tried it, it proved to be a winner. It’s a delicious, healthy snack option.
Even with an adorable and voracious neighborhood woodchuck helping himself to much of what was growing there before my husband live-trapped and removed him, there was still a big crop.
That incident with the little groundhog put me in mind of my Mom’s battles with groundhogs when I was growing up. We lived on 20 acres, and both of my parents were avid gardeners. My Dad – ever the academic – made almost a full-time study of his garden, and built more effective fencing on his patch. But Mom was more of a casual gardener at that point in her life, and she squeezed it in among her endless household obligations. She had no time for fences.
But after she died, the ground hogs had free rein and were not afraid of much of anything. They decimated Mom’s plants every year.
They became so cheeky that they’d even come right onto the deck to eat what my Mom had planted there in pots.
That was just too much even for my normally genteel, animal-loving Mom, and she declared war. She tried everything she could to rid herself of the exceedingly well fed, tubby little creatures.
This incident utterly mortified Mom. She hated to impose on anyone, and considered it rude to do so. So having to call in the local, volunteer fire department just embarrassed her no end.
To make matters worse, an article about the incident, complete with pictures, appeared in the little local newspaper.
That did it.
Mom gave up her battles with groundhogs forever, never grew another vegetable, and stuck to flowers ever after. But the incident became part of our family lore and the anthology of fond memories I hold dear.
So I had several zukes – as I call them – sitting on my counter ready to use, when this recipe came along. It looked like a good one. And I was right. It’s great.
But as usual, I made some changes to the original to simplify it and to make it cheaper and generally easier to prepare. It’s still just terrific and ready in about 10 minutes -- although refrigeration for an hour or so doesn’t hurt either. But you can find the original recipe here if you want to try the author’s prettier, but more expensive and labor intensive method.
But I’m all about keeping it super simple.
So here’s my version of the recipe:
Makes about 2½-3 cups
Prep Time – 10 minutes
Total Start to Finish Time – 10 minutes to 60 minutes
Total Recipe Cost – Approximately $1.50 (Less, if you grow your own zucchini)
Cost per ½ Cup Serving – Approximately 15¢
2 medium to large zucchini squashes
1 large lemon or 1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice (to taste)
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed puree)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
Optional: Cayenne pepper or paprika
Recipe continues after photos.
- Wash the zucchini and slice off the ends. Cut the squash lengthwise in half. Then cut across the halves to make smaller pieces. This should make 2-3 cups of diced zucchini. It doesn’t have to be terribly exact.
- If you’re using fresh lemons, wash them and cut them crosswise in half. Use a juicer to press out as much juice as possible from each half. You want ¼ to ½ cup, depending on your personal taste. Otherwise, just measure out the lemon juice you are using.
- Put the cut-up zucchini in a food processor and pulse until it is a puree consistency.
- Add the lemon juice, the ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, the ¼ cup of the tahini, the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, the 1 teaspoon of cumin, and the 1 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper.
- Pulse the food processor or blender repeatedly as necessary until the ingredients are well blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl or blender to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated into the mix.
- Taste test and adjust the seasonings to taste. Optional: You can add cayenne pepper or paprika to the hummus to give it a bit of a kick. It lends itself to endless possibilities.
- The hummus can be served immediately, but it is better if chilled for an hour or more. It will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
- Serve the hummus cold and use chips or pita bread that has been cut into strips or triangles to scoop it up. Or use it as a condiment on bread for sandwiches.
Or just enjoy it by the spoonful. It's that good!