I had always thought of hummus as a healthful but simple dip, eaten as an appetizer or snack or in a pita sandwich — until my Israeli friends turned me on to the glories of the hummus plate.
They spread a generous amount of the creamy puree on a dish, then top it with any number of satisfying things: sliced hard-cooked egg, chickpeas or fava beans, chopped herbs, pine nuts, seasoned ground beef or sauteed mushrooms and onions, plus a finishing drizzle of good olive oil.
Served as a main course with warm pita alongside, hummus becomes the base for a variety of inspiring and easy meals. The accompanying recipe is a nod to the ever-so-common hummus and baby-cut carrots, prepared and plated so it makes for an extraordinary lunch or dinner. The carrots are roasted whole, with a hint of cumin, salt and pepper, until they are firm-tender and browned. That simple step concentrates their flavor and makes them meaty.
Then they are placed, either hot or at room temperature (so you can make them ahead if you’d like), atop a landscape of homemade hummus. You can use store-bought if you prefer, but it is astoundingly easy to make your own, and it is well worth the small effort for the fresh, ultra-creamy flavor and texture of it.
A finishing garnish with some of the carrot greens adds an intense carrot flavor and welcoming color to the dish. A sprinkle of toasted sunflower seeds provides crunchy contrast. The result is a hummus-carrot combo that is more luxurious and fulfilling than you ever imagined the duo could be.
Krieger’s most recent cookbook is “Weeknight Wonders: Delicious Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.