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Two Dips in One

Is avocado the new chickpea stand-in? (Photodisc)

Hummus means chickpeas in Arabic. But for many of us, it evokes that most standard of party dips. It's standard for a reason. The blend of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice is a crowd pleaser. It's good scooped on just about anything your guests bring along.

It's also a bit boring, which is why Cambridge, Mass., chef Ana Sortun substitutes squash, parsnips and other vegetables for the usual chickpeas. Her best discovery: avocados. The fruit's rich, velvety flesh creates a kind of guacamole-meets-hummus. An ultimate party dip.

Her Avocado Hummus is a snap to make. Just throw everything in the food processor and pulse until the dip is as smooth as sour cream. I recently served the hummus with grilled squid that was seasoned with smoky Aleppo pepper and cumin. But, like its namesake, it makes an excellent dip for crudites or toasted pita.

-- Jane Black

Avocado Hummus
6 servings

Adapted from "Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean" by Ana Sortun (William Morrow, 2006).

Flesh of 2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 medium cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Juice from 1 large lemon, (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the avocado, tahini, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, oil and salt to taste in a food processor or blender; process for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is as smooth as sour cream.

Transfer to a container. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic lays directly on the surface of the hummus (to keep it from discoloring). Refrigerate until ready to serve; taste and adjust seasoning as needed before serving.

Per serving: 251 calories, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 24 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar

By Jane Black  |  July 7, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Recipes  | Tags: Jane Black, avocado, entertaining  
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