The only two things that I buy in a can are tomato products of all kinds and chickpeas. The tomato products--crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, whole plum tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste--are for making pasta sauce, soups and stews, or to make up part of a number of Latin creole sauces, particularly in the case of the tomato paste. Why the chickpeas? First off, I loved chickpeas, and they're an excellent source of protein. The canned chickpeas allow me to throw together a batch of hummus in no time. I usually try to keep two cans on hand at any given time. Yes, I do make chickpeas from dried beans as well, but having a quick meal option on hand is a must for me.
For my hummus, I use the about.com Greek recipe. It's flavorful, delicious, and beats the pants off of any junk from a supermarket, premium or not. Trust me, there's no comparison to homemade hummus. My all-time favorite thing to do with hummus is my hummus veggie wraps, an idea inspired by a delicious meal that I had with an old teacher of mine who used to invite me over for dinner when I was in college since she too had moved for her husband to attend business school. The concept is simple--fluffy naan, pita, or flour wraps spread with hummus, topped with lettuce, steamed veggies, and any other veggies or herbs of your choice. Wrap it all up and, voila! Dinner is served! I can't think of a better way to make quick use of the garden's bounty! If you're gluten-free, I highly recommend the pliable, tender Toufayan gluten-free regular wrap. The spinach one is quite a bit more brittle.
Before you go scoffing at vegetarian meals, let me tell you that this meal is not only healthy and balanced, but it is hearty, even when made with super thin wraps. My carnivore husband hated vegetables when we got married, and he is now a true convert. He asked me to make him fresh veggie wraps every day for a week! That's how much he loved them. Do you know what else? My husband enjoys a good, quality beer after the most stressful days at work, but he told me that the veggie wraps were so light and refreshing that they were his beer after a stifling hot and humid day. As a wife who wants to see her husband eat well, that truly made my heart smile.
This is a super easy, very flexible recipe. Change it up and make it yours. Use whatever you have around. Don't hesitate to take this delicious meal with you on your next picnic or pack it in your work or school lunch. You won't regret it!
Hummus and Fresh Veggie Wraps
Ingredientsnaan, pocketless pita, or flour wraps (gluten-free use Toufayan)
green or red leaf lettuce (or romaine with hard end removed)
Steamed broccoli, chopped into thirds or quarters lengthwise
steamed carrots, sliced
black olives, halved (I also like Pearls brand fresh cured green olives)
Fresh cucumber, sliced and cut into thirds
Fresh roma tomatoes, sliced (halved cherry tomatoes are great too)
Palmful of whole, cooked chickpeas (optional, sometimes I want to keep another full can on hand)
a few sprigs fresh cilantro, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Procedure1. Microwave or griddle wrap until tender and pliable.
2. Spread on a fairly thin layer of hummus
3. Top with desired veggies and season well with salt and a touch of pepper. Roll, wrap in parchment for minimal mess, and enjoy!
Spice it up!
Never be afraid to make changes. Sub the hummus with refried beans and add in pickled jalapeno and cheese and griddle your prepared wrap with butter. Add the cucumbers after heating.
Make a different type of hummus. Add in roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, or roasted tomato. I've even seen a pumpkin hummus.
Change up the herbs. Try basil or parsley instead of cilantro.
Add in pickled banana peppers or sun dried tomatoes.
Throw in a few raisins for a tasty touch of sweetness.
Spread on a streak of fig preserves down the middle. The touch of sweetness is great!
You can find tahini, hummus, and pocketless pita at your local Indian or even Middle Eastern market.
I always rinse my canned chickpeas twice to reduce the amount of sodium. I do the same with my olives, before storing them in a container.