That Celebrity Hummus Recipe Calls for Canned Chickpeas and You’ve Only Got Dried – Now What?

Hummus, a humble dish of pureed chickpeas, sesame paste, and olive oil, is probably the best recognized and most popular Middle Eastern food. You can buy it in even the tiniest grocery store in the smallest rural town. In fact, you can probably find everything from the simplest garlic hummus to fancy versions that incorporate olives, roasted red pepper, eggplant, or even beets.

The convenience of buying prepared hummus is obvious: just open the container and start dipping. But there are plenty of advantages to making your own hummus at home, not the least of which are the difference in price and the fact that you can control what goes into the dip you’re going to feed to your kids. There is also the fun of trying out different recipes, including the ones created by celebrity chefs like Alton Brown, Gordon Ramsay, of Jamie Oliver.

Pinterest is filled with page after page of hummus recipes. Even the keyword suggestions from Pinterest’s Guided Search scroll on for many pages! But according to the folks at the Kitchn, the most popular hummus recipe right now is the Barefoot Contessa recipe. As the recipe they link to has been saved 41,000 times on Pinterest, you know they aren’t exaggerating its popularity!

The recipe is a nice, clean, simple one that really only strays from traditional hummus in its addition of hot sauce. The problem? It begins with canned chickpeas.

Oh. And we almost never buy canned beans.

It is so discouraging that almost every recipe that uses beans calls for commercially prepared canned beans! And almost no recipe ever comes with instructions for converting to dried beans. So if you prefer to use dry beans for the ease of storage, health benefits or huge cost savings, you are going to have to work harder to use those recipes.

 

Dry chickpeas are less expensive, healthier, and easier to store than canned (Graphic by ulleo/Pixabay/CC0)
Learn to convert recipes so you can cook with dried legumes like these chickpeas (garbanzo beans.) You can even freeze cooked beans to cut down on cooking and prep time for your next recipe!
(Image: ulleo/Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

 

Fortunately, Ina Garten has kindly spelled things out very clearly in her hummus recipe. She measures the amount of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) in cups instead of cans. And she is measuring the drained beans, instead of the beans in their liquid. So it’s easy enough to be sure that you’ll have the exact quantity of cooked chickpeas to make this popular hummus. She was even kind enough to give the amount of reserved liquid needed to make Barefoot Contessa hummus – and she suggests using water as a substitute in case the cooking liquid isn’t available.

(Note: Many other recipes won’t tell you how much liquid to add. Fortunately, the texture of the hummus is what dictates how much liquid to add. So just make sure there’s enough cooking liquid or plain water to process the beans into a smooth puree. If your hummus seems a bit dry, you can add more of the cooking liquid. Or just increase the amount of olive oil a wee bit!)

Getting Started: How Many Beans to Use

Cooking any recipe that calls for canned beans raises the question of dry bean to canned bean conversion. Exactly how should you measure your beans, and how many dried chickpeas do you need to make your favourite hummus?

There are a number of web sites that offer conversion charts for dry beans to cooked bean amounts. But I really have to take my hat off to Daniel Gritzer of Serious Eats, who tackled the question like a true food scientist. He measured the volume of dried beans before cooking and then weighed and measured the same beans after cooking and draining.

According to his results, one pound of chickpeas is just under 3 cups when dry. The cooked and drained beans will weigh 3 lb 4 oz and its volume will be 7 cups.

So how many dry chickpeas do you need to make the Barefoot Contessa’s hummus recipe? Well, the recipe calls for “2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved.” That’s less than a third of the yield if you were to start with a pound of dried garbanzos. So you have a few options:

  1. Start with just under 1/3 lb, or around 5 oz of dried garbanzo beans;

  2. Try to find other recipes that call for chickpeas so you can use up the extra beans you’ll be cooking;

  3. Get a pressure canner and learn to can your own legumes so you can enjoy the convenience of canned beans without worrying about BPA and other chemical additives;

  4. Triple your recipe and serve hummus to the whole neighbourhood;

  5. Resort to using canned beans and avoid the conversion headache altogether.

Or, you could simply learn to freeze your cooked beans! This way, you can cook a large batch of dried beans – any kind – in advance. You then divide them into smaller portions for your favourite recipes.

 

How to Make Hummus Using Dry Chickpeas (Graphic made in Canva using a public domain image by Pixabay user Ajale)
Learn to make hummus from dried chickpeas and freeze the rest for your next recipe
Please Pin this article – remember sharing is caring!
Graphic made in Canva using a public domain image by Pixabay user Ajale

Freezing Leftover Beans

I only discovered that cooked beans can be frozen about a year ago. And I have to admit, I’ve only done it a couple of times. It was super handy when I wanted to make last-minute chili. And yes, I have used frozen chickpeas to make hummus. There was absolutely no taste difference in the hummus but I did have to add extra oil because I’d frozen my beans without liquid, the way most people seem to do it.

I’ve since learned that freezing beans in their cooking liquid is not only possible but recommended. According to Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella, freezing beans in their cooking liquid helps to stave off freezer burn. This would be especially true if you’re storing your beans in rigid containers like canning jars, rather than in freezer bags. If you do opt to store cooked beans without liquid in rigid containers – say, for salads or burritos – you should use these sooner than the beans that are stored in their cooking liquid.

To freeze chickpeas in their cooking liquid, be sure you are working with cooled beans (this is both for general safety and to decrease the chances of foodborne illness.) Measure them into freezer-safe canning jars and then pour the cooking liquid over them. A standard 15-oz can of beans contains about 1-1/2 cups of beans once drained. That will fill a pint (500 ml) jar once the cooking liquid has been added, leaving 1/2” headspace. If you prefer, you can also measure out the 2 cups the Barefoot Contessa hummus recipe calls for. If you don’t have a freezer-safe jar that will hold this many beans, you can use a freezer bag or another freezer-safe rigid container instead.

To use beans frozen in liquid, let them thaw slowly in the fridge (it will take about a day) or place the container in cool water to defrost. This will speed up thawing time, while at the same time helping to keep harmful bacteria at bay. If you have frozen your beans without liquid, you can defrost them more quickly in cool water. I wouldn’t suggest trying to use them frozen, as you might if you were cooking up a batch of chili – at least, not unless you want hummus that has the consistency of a frozen fruit smoothie!

 

Did you enjoy this article? Check out some related content below!

Peanuts are Forbidden? Don't Be Nuts! (Graphic made in Canva using a public domain image by Pixabay user forwimuwi73)
Peanuts are Forbidden? Don’t Be Nuts!

 

Meal Prep Day and Why We Use Dried Beans to Cook Up Our Favourite Foods (Graphic made in Canva using a public domain image by Pixabay user museundo)
Meal Prep Day and Why We Use Dried Beans to Cook Up Our Favourite Foods

 

Cooking on a Budget - Pea Soup (Graphic made in Canva using a public domain image by Pixabay user Security)
Cooking on a Budget – Pea Soup

 

Original content © 2017 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter
Featured image made in Canva using a public domain graphic by Pixabay user Ajale

This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!

Meal Prep Day and Why We Use Dried Beans to Cook Up Our Favourite Foods

Or, Of Chopping Zucchini and Cooking Beans

It’s the spring equinox today, and I’m still battling this cold/flu bug. Right now I’m coughing a lot, and it’s not really productive. So it’s a very annoying cough. It makes it really tough to work on food preparation, or anything else for that matter. So I’m delegating most of the work to my junior cooks, the Katydid and MamaOzzy.

I have MamaOzzy cooking beans and chicken breast for our crockpot minestrone, and the Katydid has been chopping zucchini, mincing garlic, and will soon be tasked with preparing fresh spinach for the soup as well. We’ll have lots of spinach stems to put in our soup bag, for the next time we make broth.

Why Use Dried Legumes Instead of Canned?

Using canned beans may be convenient, but it’s more expensive than cooking from dried. Next time you are in your local grocery store, check the price of a can of commercially prepared chickpeas, kidney, or Romano beans against a package of the same kind of dry beans. Keep in mind that the beans will swell when soaked and cooked. So a single pound of dried beans will yield about the same amount as four or more of those cans!

Not only are you saving money when you choose dry beans over canned, you are also saving space in your pantry. Buying dried beans is also more environmentally friendly. When beans are shipped at long distances, the canned ones weigh more and take up more space, so more fuel is used in their transport. Choosing dry beans, especially if you bring your own containers and buy from the bulk section, means less packaging too. (And often, the selection of dried legumes in your supermarket bulk section or bulk food store will be far superior to what comes in cans. Check it out!)

When it comes to shelf life, dry beans pretty much last forever as long as you keep them in a well-sealed container. But for best results when you cook them, you should only buy what you can use within a year. That’s about how long you should be keeping canned beans. So no major difference there.

Dry beans are more versatile than canned, and you will find that some types of legumes (e.g. split peas) are not available canned – unless you want to buy pea soup (But I have to tell you, homemade pea soup is so much tastier and it’s more filling than anything you’ll find in a can!) I love to make up dry bean mixes for my soups and stews. Our local Overwaitea store also has a really nice selection of dry beans and other legumes, including a number of mixes for making bean and pea soups, and even chili.

Are canned beans less nutritious than dried? Conservative sources will say not really and when it comes to macronutrients like calories, protein, carbohydrates or fats, that’s probably true. But if you compare amounts of micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, you might just find that the difference is significant enough to make you choose home-cooked dry beans over commercially prepared canned beans. This is especially true of the sodium content, which can be significantly higher for the canned beans. And if you are buying a more processed product like refried beans, you’ll have to watch out for added fats and sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS, or “glucose-fructose” in Canada.) And of course, we can’t forget the fact that processed foods are still regularly packaged in cans lined with bisphenol A (BPA) – even in Canada.

Cooking and Freezing Dried Beans

It’s fairly simple to adapt a recipe that calls for canned beans. If your recipe calls for a 15-ounce can of beans, you can use about 1/2 cup of dried beans instead. In the case of most beans, they absorb enough water during cooking to triple their volume. So one cup dried will yield about 3 cups once cooked. A 15-oz can holds about 1-1/2 cups of beans.

If you’re planning to freeze beans so you can add them to soups, stews or chili, the good people of The Kitchn recommend cooking your beans on the lowest possible heat. So try to soak overnight, and allow for a long cook time on the day you are going to prepare them for freezing. We rushed ours way too much today, and they split. They’ll still taste good, but they aren’t going to look pretty in the soup. Let the beans cool before ladling them into

(Note: Let the beans cool before ladling them into freezer-safe container such as canning jars, airtight plastic or ceramic containers, or freezer bags. Covering the beans with their cooking liquid helps to preserve them better. If you package your cooked beans in liquid, allow 1/2″ of headspace. When it comes time to thaw the beans, let them defrost in the fridge for about a day or soak the container in cool water to speed up the process. Legumes that have been frozen without liquid can be added to a recipe without defrosting, though you may find that the taste or texture are not as good if you cook them this way.)

We got a late start on our cooking today, but the soup is almost ready now. So I’m going to get this posted and get ready to eat! What are you eating tonight?

Why We Prefer to Cook with Dried Beans (Graphic made in Canva using a public domain image by Pixabay user vicki4net)
Learn why we prefer to cook with dry legumes and how to convert your own recipes
Please Pin this article – remember sharing is caring!
Graphic made in Canva using a public domain image by Pixabay user vicki4net

 

Original content © 2016 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter
Featured image made in Canva using a public domain graphic by Pixabay user vicki4net

This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!