Crazy-Smooth Crazy-Good Hummus ♥

An old-but-new quick appetizer, a homemade hummus that's perfect for a light holiday appetizer with a few veggies but also, of course, for year round. I use three special techniques that yield an extraordinary hummus – even without added oil. (Yes, you read that right, this hummus recipe has no oil!) Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. I've made plattersful of hummus over the years, always with canned chickpeas. But once I discovered an easy cooking technique that tenderizes the chickpea skins, creating an ultra-smooth, ultra-rich (but lower-calorie) hummus, it became a kitchen staple. The fridge rarely is without a batch of hummus! THREE SIMPLE BUT SPECIAL TECHNIQUES Jerusalem Chickpeas , dried chickpeas cooked especially for hummus. Long runs in the food processor, one or two ingredients at a time. Using water, not oil, to finish the hummus – and while we don't mind skipping all those calories, we do

Roasted Eggplant “Hummus" ♥ (Eggplant & Chickpea Dip & Spread)

An addictive mix of roasted eggplant and chickpeas, a dip, a spread, a sauce, a scoop-it-by-the-spoonful-straight-from-the-fridge somethin'. It's the result of a happy accident, a last-minute leaving-on-vacation decision to throw separate batches of hummus and baba ganoush into the food processor together. Together. My notes from that day call it "Smoothest, Creamiest Most Amazing Hummus Ever" with three exclamation points. Three!!! And almost three years later? Ever since, I make it this way on purpose! Quick & easy. Low Carb. Weight Watchers friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. There's just one thing hard about today's extra-special recipe: what to call it. IS IT HUMMUS? Well, technically "no" since hummus means "chickpeas" – and even though it does call for chickpeas, it has no tahini and the texture is much much lighter and smoother than hummus, airy, almost. IS IT A DIP and a SPREAD? Yes! It's so easy to use as a dip with

How to Cook Dried Chickpeas Especially for Hummus ♥ aka “Jerusalem Chickpeas”

Chickpeas aka garbanzo beans are the legumes we love to eat, especially in hummus, that creamy middle-eastern spread. And sure, chickpeas come pre-cooked in inexpensive and ever-so-convenient cans. But can we do better, by cooking dried chickpeas at home? Yes! Read on ... MAYBE TEN YEARS AGO? My friend Ann asked, "Which is better for hummus? Is it okay to just open a can of chickpeas? Or is it better to cook dried chickpeas?" I was happy to have the answer, quoting not personal experience but a long-ago blogger who'd done side-by-side comparisons and decided, canned chickpeas were as good for hummus as dried and cooked. A NEW DAY FOR HUMMUS! That was then. THIS is now. Pretty-good hummus is everywhere, even in tubs at the grocery store. But extra-good hummus? That, friends, is harder to come by. It's found at some Middle-eastern restaurants, crazy good, that stuff, and crazy smooth. When I ask the chefs, their secret is olive oil, lots of olive oil – not what I

Thanksgiving Turkey Vegetable Platter ♥

Ready to create a real sensation at a Thanksgiving gathering? Turn your favorite raw and blanched vegetables into a Thanksgiving turkey! Welcome to November at A Veggie Venture, where ever since 2006, it's tradition to collect new Thanksgiving recipes throughout the month, adding new recipes to this huge collection of Favorite Recipes for Thanksgiving's Favorite Vegetables . (Who remembers the #1 favorite Thanksgiving vegetable?!) This year, I'm focusing on simple appetizer recipes, just small healthy bites to stave off hunger while gathering for the big dinner. If you have an idea that's special to your family gathering, I would totally love to know! But in the mean time, I'm starting off November with inspiration from one of my very favorite young cooks! Oh how I love these girls! That's Kayla you see pictured. There's also Kayla's big sisters Erika and Niki (not forgetting their uber-talented brother Matt), kids when we first met seven years ago. (

Trader Joe’s Slow Cooker Hack #1 (Easy Jambalaya) ♥

Four Trader Joe's products + a can of tomatoes + slow cooker = Easy Jambalaya supper! We'd been gone for only four days but the fridge was on e-m-p-t-y so after retrieving the dog, I made a quick stop at Trader Joe's for eggs and milk. There at the tasting counter? A big slow cooker of an orange-colored spicy something. One taste later, I grabbed the four packages of "ingredients" – that would be supper, leaving lots of time and energy for pumpkin carving. The results? A spicy easy jambalaya, a hot supper. Are these my favorite Trader Joe's products? Not by a long shot. Is it cooking? Not really. But it's a life hack, a Trader Joe's Slow Cooker Hack, and some days, that moves life's needle back to f-u-l-l. PS Anyone interested in my favorite stuff from Trader Joe's? It'd be easy to put that together for another day. Plus, I'd really love to know your favorite Trader Joe's purchases. Let me know what you think!

Roasted Delicata Squash ♥

A delicata squash is the very easiest winter squash to cook. Here I've roasted the delicata in the oven after cutting it into pretty little half rings. The big question about a delicata squash always is, "How do you peel a delicata squash?" The easy answer? You don't! There's no need to peel a delicata squash. Even though a delicata squash is a "winter squash" (generally, a winter squash is characterized by tough, inedible skins) the skins of a delicata squash are edible! That means no peeling! ~recipe updated for a little weeknight cooking inspiration~ ~ more recently updated recipes ~ Say hello to my very favorite "easy weeknight vegetable" – at least during the fall and winter. It's the delicata squash, see those two long-ish squash in the background of the photo? Those are delicata squash. What you can't see is that these guys are small, maybe six inches long. One squash feeds two or four, no need to pack up leftovers. And del

Pumpkin Pancakes ♥ Recipe

Today's simple pancake recipe: Light and fluffy pancakes, a pretty pumpkin color and spiked with the pumpkin spices that somehow, more than pumpkin itself, make something taste like "pumpkin". Amused or bemused? Does either one describe your reaction to the flood of pumpkin recipes come October? (Or even jumping the gun in late August and early September, like stores which inflict Christmas carols just after back-to-school sales. Or so it seems, anyway.) Me, I fall in the amused camp. Pumpkin is fun! The last couple of years, I've made pumpkin pancakes using my sister's wonderful Lifetime Pancakes recipe. Happy little boyzz at the table gobbling pancakes? Definite amusement. So maybe, just maybe, Make Tonight a Pancake Night ? Move over Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday, pancakes are the new game in town!