Sunday, November 9, 2014

Chia Hummus with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Za'atar

I've been slightly obsessed with chia lately... from my several times a week Overnight Almond Chia Oats to Liv's favorite Power Pumpkin Pancakes and this pectin-free (and oh so heavenly!) Chia Blueberry Jam, chia is finding its way into different area of my cooking.  And with good reason.

With 70% more protein than soybeans, 25 percent more fiber than flaxseed, 600 percent more calcium than milk and 200 percent more potassium than a banana, chia earns its superfood status with ease.  Adding a tablespoon to smoothies increases the nutrients without a change in flavor.  We add a scoop to smoothies, pancakes and baked goods and I love knowing I've added that calcium and protein to my daughter's growing body.

But my chia repertoire stopped at about that point and then thankfully Janie Hoffman's (Mamma Chia - based in my own hometown of Carlsbd, CA) book,
The Chia Cookbook, found its way into my kitchen.

Janie's story brings the "superfoodness" of chia even more to the forefront.  Several autoimmune disorders rendered her desperate to find help.  Struggling through chemotherapy and steroid therapies she fought not only her disorders but through side effects that left her weak and with chronic fatigue.

Moving to a strict vegetarian and macrobiotic diet didn't seem to solve her issues. Organic foods seemed to help and she began making some progress in reclaiming her healthy life.  This is about the time she discovered chia.

Recommended by a friend touting the nutritional benefits of the tiny seed, Jannie began consuming a few Tablespoons a day.  Almost immediately she saw a difference in her stamina and energy levels and months later she found herself 100% symptom free of her disorders.

Here began a quest to spread the chia love and she began creating recipes incorporating chia into snacks, meals, drinks, etc which lead to the founding of the incredibly successful company, Mamma Chia, and thankfully, this cookbook, The Chia Seed Cookbook.

More than just a sprinkle on top of yogurt or an addition to a smoothie, Jannie tells us "Chia can provide hearty dishes with a pleasing bit of crunch, turn soups creamy (without the cream) put a fresh spin on on-pot meals, make cocktail party-worthy drinks look gorgeous and keep traditional baked goods light and moist.  When you know how to cook with chia, the possibilities are endless."

Endless indeed!  With some 140 pages of recipes covering every meal of the day (including those gorgeous cocktails - Tart Cherry-Chia Mimosa anyone?), Jannie's book brings chia to life in the most inventive ways.  From Chia Green Superfood Smoothies to Sticky Brown Rice and Sunny-Side-Up Eggs and Baked Shiitake, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, the book inspires you to get into the kitchen and bring out the chia.

Bringing texture and crunch to some dishes and gel-like consistencies to others, chia is my new super hero and this book (splashed with beautiful photography - always a plus for me) earned a top spot on my bookshelf.

While we've made numerous recipes from the book, today I wanted to bring you something different from the norm (smoothies, baking, etc), and we've chosen to feature Janie's Chia Hummus.  Filled with sun-dried tomatoes and spiced with Za'atar, this hummus will be a hit at any gathering, or simply with a few carrots for an afternoon snack.

With a jar of Za'atar in my pantry and really no idea what to do with it, this recipe became a must try.  A Middle Eastern mixture of herbs, sesame and salt, Za'atar gives the hummus an earthy and additional depth of flavor.

However if you don't have the herb mix on hand, Janie recommends substituting fresh thyme leaves in place.  And Sun-Dried tomatoes... a favorite of mine, are always a welcome addition to recipes in my kitchen

Blending up smooth and creamy with the touch of a button in our food processor, Janie's Chia Hummus served as a lovely pre-dinner snack for my husband and I as we sat and recapped the day.

Thanks Janie for bringing chia beyond pancakes and smoothies for me!  This book is a treasure of recipes you will find yourself making again and again.  The extra chia nutrition??  That's just a bonus.

Chia Hummus with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Za'atar
Blending up smooth and creamy, this earthy hummus is a lovely treat as an afternoon snack.  Don't have Za'atar on hand?  Janie recommends adding fresh thyme, though I could see the flavors working with basil or without the herbs all together.
From the The Chia Cookbook: Inventive, Delicious Recipes Featuring Nature's Superfood, pg. 76, by Janie Hoffma
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1/4 cup white chia seeds
3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup purified water
3 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
1 (15 oz.) can chickepeas, drained
1/4 cup tahini
1 1/2 tsp dried za'atar or chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt (we decreased to 1/4 tsp)
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the chia seeds and 3/4 cup water, and the lemon juice and let stand for abut 20 minutes (Makes 1 1/8 cups lemon-chia gel).

Bring 1/4 cup water to a simmer.  Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a coffee mug or small heatproof bowl and add the water.  Let stand about 20 minutes.

Place the lemon-chia gel, sun-dried tomatoes with the water, chickpeas, tahini, za'atar, garlic, and salt into a food processor or blender.  Cover and puree.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Chill until ready to serve.

To serve, spoon into a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  (We also sprinkled with additional chia seeds)  Cover leftovers and store in the fridge for up to one week.

Liv Life Note:  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not paid to write this post.  
This post also contains Amazon Affiliate Links to the cookbook... We at Liv Life appreciate your support when using the links!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds absolutely brilliant!! I've been waiting with anticipation to try your chia jam, and now that my book is done, I finally get to!!! Can't wait to go to the market on Wednesday to get something perfect to make it with. :-) xo


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