No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

It’ll definitely take me longer to write this recipe out for you than it did for me to whip up my latest batch of hummus in my high speed blender! Since I’ve become plant-based, I’ve made sure to have plenty of healthy snacks available, just in case I get the munchies, and to help me stay true to my ideals! So, I usually have lots of fresh fruits, frozen fruits (frozen blueberries make an amazing cold snack), raisins (that aren’t soaked in sunflower oil), and, well, hummus! I’ve bought hummus in bulk for years from Costco, but, upon inspection, it’s filled with oils and sometimes other ingredients I can’t pronounce.

So, I’ve started making my own, because it really is so easy, there’s a billion variations, and, it’s pretty cheap, too! I’ve started taking my hummus to parties and events, along with a big bowl of sliced and diced veggies, and it’s been a big hit! In fact, I’m starting to get a little bit known for it!

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)
Fresh No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

First off, I’m not picky on my chick peas or garbanzos. I’ve tried at least a dozen brands, and I’ve not seen that it makes any difference. So, now I buy canned garbanzos in bulk from Wal-Mart, which usually has a can for under $0.50 or at another local grocery store that is having a sale. I’ve also tried to take dried garbanzos and soak and cook, but I haven’t yet perfected that, and, it makes a simple tasks take hours, although I like the thrifty ideal!

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)
Hummus on a home-made No-Oil Corn Chip.

And, while not going to go too deep into it right now, don’t throw away that “bean juice” or “aquafaba” that isn’t needed in the recipe. You can use it in my No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread recipe and host of other things, and it makes a great substitute for eggs in certain other recipes and such. Simply freeze a jar of it, and it’ll last forever. (In fact, one of my former plastic 32 oz. jars of tahini has been repurposed into the aquqfaba freezer jar!)

Hummus is also great for so many things, other than basic “dip” snacking. I’ll often use it as a “mayo” or spread for bread, sandwiches, on salads as a dressing, and more!

So, without further ado:

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

The Plant-based Bear's take on a classic, creamy, and smooth Middle Eastern dip!
Last updated Oct. 11, 2019.
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dip, Sauce/Spread
Cuisine: Greek, Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Author: Plant-based Bear

Ingredients

  • 2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans or chick peas
  • 4-5 Tbsps sesame tahini see notes
  • 8-10 Tbsps lemon juice fresh, if possible
  • 4 cloves garlic adjust to preference
  • 1 to 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin heaping
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Frank's RedHot Seasoning Blend Powder heaping

Instructions

  • Open one can of garbanzo beans, drain and add to blender. Save aquafaba (bean juice) for later on, or other recipes. Just don't waste it!
  • Open 2nd can of garbanzo beans, drain about half (or more) of the liquid, and add to blender. See notes at bottom before you pour it all in!
  • Add 4 generous tablespoons of tahini to blender.
  • Add lemon juice to blender. Yes, 8-10 tablespoons is a lot of lemon juice! If squeezed fresh, you might use closer to 8. Bottled, closer to 10. Even more than 10 is okay, but might make hummus get more runny, so you can decrease the aquafaba in the recipe.
  • Add all other ingredients to blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into airtight storage container and chill before serving. (Although some warm pita bread and fresh-made warm hummus is kind of amazing, too! Just don't eat it all at once!)

Notes

Lemon juice really gives a great flavor to hummus, so if you’re worried about it getting too runny, it’s better to decrease the amount of aquafaba you’re using than to decrease the lemon juice.  Starting out with very little liquid other than the lemon juice, and adding just enough aquafaba to make it blend is a good method! And, in my opinion, it’s almost impossible to have too much lemon juice!
Get tahini at an international market and look for the jars that have as little English as possible on them. Look for “100% sesame seeds” and nothing else. Tahini, once initially stirred, should be a thick, runny liquid, not a paste.
No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)
Freshly blended No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

The heaping tablespoons mentioned in my recipe just mean that I wouldn’t be stingy with the ingredients. I think you CAN overdo things like the chili powder, and even though I like garlic, 6-8 cloves is really too much! Other than that, season to your personal taste.

And then there’s Frank’s RedHot Seasoning Blend! I picked up a large jar of this one day at Costco on a close-out, and when I thought to try it in my hummus, I’ve never looked back. It really is perfect for hummus, giving it just a little zip that it needs, without making it “spicy.” You could also put a pinch of cayenne or increase the chili powder slightly, but Frank’s really does something nice to it!

Frank's RedHot Seasoning Blend
Frank’s RedHot Seasoning Blend adds the perfect bit of zip, without getting too spicy.

Finally, this is a basic recipe. I almost never make my hummus exactly like the recipe, unless I’m taking it to a party! Lots of things can be added to bring originality and a new take, such as: bell peppers, olives (green, black, and kalamata all make it amazing), fresh parsley, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, jalapenos, banana peppers, green chilies, and more. For most of these extra ingredients, I’ll blend my hummus to completion, then add my extras, blending just briefly to break them up, without pulverizing! One extra note about bell peppers: green or red give some color, but peppers are largely water-based, so might make your hummus slightly more runny. You might decrease the aquafaba in your batch at the beginning, first!

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Plant-based Sour Cream

Seems I had a another hankering for some good ole country potatoes this morning, which works out, since I just bought a big bag of potatoes. (And, fun fact, as I look back, this is almost the exact sentence I used to introduce the recipe for my No-Oil Air Fryer Country Potatoes, originally, in September!) But, I wanted this to be great, so I couldn’t just make the potatoes; I had to make it, um, better!

I’d mentioned in my No-Oil Air Fryer Country Potatoes recipe that most plant-based sour creams are about the same. And they are, with a few variations. The Seven Secrets Cookbook (which seems to be cheaper right now than I’ve noticed it before…hint, hint) has a good one that has silken tofu and a bit of cashews in it. But, that wasn’t my favorite, and seems to get quite hard after a few days in the fridge.

So, with help from Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows (which, the childish side of me says, “Maybe she ought to get that checked…”), I present her recipe, in typical form, slightly modified by me to be better and more amazing (of course, in my opinion!) Or something like that.

Plant-based Sour Cream

Cashew-based Sour Cream substitute, oil-free, gluten-free, sugar-free
Last updated Oct. 6, 2019.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Sauce/Spread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sour cream
Author: Angela Liddon & The Plant-based Bear

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked
  • ¾ cup water err on the side of less rather than more*
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  • Cover cashews with water in a bowl and soak overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can do the "quick-soak method", where you pour boiling water over the cashews and soak them for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the cashews when ready to use.**
  • Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend on high until super smooth. For me, this was 1-2 minutes. At the end, you might slowly slow down your blender until stopped to get out extra air bubbles. Depending on your blender, you may also have to stop a few times and scrape the mixture down a bit. Adding slightly more water will help it, if it doesn't seem to be blending.
  • Scrape out of blender and into an airtight container and chill. The cream thickens as it chills, and will last 1-2 weeks.
  • Angela says: You can also freeze it for up to 1 month. I like to freeze it in silicone mini muffin cups. Once solid, transfer the cups into a freezer-safe zip bag for easy grab and go portions.

Notes

*Start with barely 3/4 cup water and see how it goes.  Don’t use a “generous” 3/4 cup.  If you need more liquid to make it properly blend, add it, just a little at a time, until you get a good blend going.  Remember, this cream will thicken in the refrigerator, and it’s best to chill before serving, as the blender can heat this up quickly!
**After soaking cashews, they are a weird gray color.  Don’t worry.  The cream gets pretty white upon blending!

Angela’s original recipe calls for less lemon juice, and the use of apple cider vinegar.  I find that the extra lemon juice makes the cream more “soury” and that the apple cider vinegar adds a strange sweetness that seems to get even stronger over the life of the cream.  I don’t really want my sour cream to be sweet, so I’ve made these modifications, and find it pretty tasty, indeed.

And those country potatoes I wanted for breakfast? They were delicious! I added in diced bell peppers and yellow onions before I was done cooking, and then topped them with last week’s Plant-based Cheddar Cheese (shredded), and some salsa!

No-Oil Air Fryer Country Potatoes with bell peppers and onions, and topped with Plant-based Sour Cream, Plant-based Cheddar Cheese (shredded) and some salsa!

May your days be sour, and creamy! Or at least your potatoes!

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Plant-based Cheddar Cheese (Revisited)

Last time I made Michelle Blackwood’s Vegan Cheddar Cheese, I lamented about the ratio of agar powder to water.

Well, tonight I decided to try the recipe again, as it is a good recipe, just not my all-time favorite so far. And, I’ll stand by my thoughts on the agar powder ratio, and my final verdict, again!

But, just to help you get inspired, I’ve taken a few more pictures on my journey tonight.

To recap, here’s Michelle’s recipe:

Vegan Cheddar Cheese

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cheese
Calories: 118kcal
Author: Michelle Blackwood

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water for mixing with agar powder
  • 2 tablespoons agar powder or 2 teaspoons kappa carrageenan
  • 1/2 cup water for mixing with other ingredients
  • 1/2 cup cashews raw
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped, seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil optional
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon non-gmo cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch Cayenne pepper optional

Instructions

  • If using a high-speed blender, add water, cashews, bell pepper, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, coconut milk, coconut oil, tapioca starch, cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  • Process until smooth and creamy.
  • Mix cold water with agar powder in a saucepan, bring to boil on medium stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and immediately add to cheese sauce.
  • Process until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into an oiled container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Alternatively, especially when using a regular blender, process all the ingredients including agar powder in a blender until smooth. Pour sauce into a non-stick sauce on medium heat whisking constantly until thick and bubbly. Immediately pour into an oiled container and refrigerate for an hour.

Notes

I find the consistency of the method using the high-speed blender better. This recipe is not like storebought processed vegan cheese. So it’s not as firm. Yes, it slices and shreds but not like storebought and tastes amazing!
The recipe calls for agar powder, if using agar flakes, use 3 times the amount instead.
If you prefer a sharper flavor then add extra lemon juice

I was making a double-batch, as I do have a large blending container, and if I’m going to go through the work and mess to make it happen, I might as well make enough to matter! And, although not awesome, it does freeze “okay.” So if I don’t use it, in the freezer it’ll go!

Doubling each ingredient (except that coconut oil, which I again avoided, and the first water and agar powder listed), I added them to my blender container and blended for about 1 minute, starting off at slow, but quickly working up to high.

Plant-Based Cheddar ingredients
All ingredients added to high-speed blender and blended about a minute.

Next, I heated the agar (which I forgot to double, but, forgetting that I had the agar/water ratio problem, added another tablespoon for good measure. So I had 3 T of agar powder and 1 cup of water.

Heating the agar powder and water, stirring almost constantly.

Once the agar mixture was super goopy, I added it to the blender, and blended for about a minute again. Previously, I had prepared my tiny loaf pans to create my cheese blocks. I still love my idea of lining the loaf pans with plastic wrap, and can’t understand why you’d do it any other way! It makes for super easy cleanup; just fold the plastic wrap neatly over the cheese, and turn upside down to dump out!

Tiny loaf tins lined with plastic wrap.
Tiny loaf tins lined with plastic wrap for easy cheese wrapping and cleanup!

Working quickly once the blender stopped, I poured the goopy cheese into my loaf pans, and then simply popped them into the refrigerator.

Cheesey loaf ready to set!
Many cheesey loafs ready to set!

This was fun, and I was excited that my double recipe created 4 loaves! But, then I got to wondering, would that coconut oil really make a noticeable difference?

Now, here at the Plant-based Bear, we don’t use oils, really, at all. But the recipe calls for the coconut oil. Why put the ingredient in there for no reason, as I’ve had success without it? And, the amount of oil is quite high. But, against my instincts (or perhaps just resolve) I decided to do it anyway.

(The Plant-based Bear doesn’t use oils at home, in general, but acknowledges they’re almost impossible to not have when dining out. So, from time to time I do have some oil, although I still try to avoid oily foods and everything deep-fried. I guess this was to be one of those times.)

After repeating the whole process for my new batch and then waiting for everything to get cooled in the refrigerator, it was taste-test time!

I neatly folded over the plastic wrap, then turned over and dropped the loaf out of the pan. For longer storage, I still keep everything in zipper bags, or airtight storage containers in the fridge.

Neatly fold the plastic wrap over the loaf, and then lift out of the pan, and turn over!
It’s ready!
The no-coconut-oil cheese seems fine, and slices easily, and tastes great! Notice more bubbles, particularly in the shadows.
The coconut-oil-included cheese looks about the same, but slightly lighter in color (which probably has nothing to do with anything), but seems a bit smoother, with fewer air pockets.
Closeup of coconut-oil cheese to show a slightly smoother, less bubbly cheese, than without the coconut oil.

The coconut-oil cheese tastes identical, however, it does seem to have a smoother, less bubbly texture. The mouth feel is the same, although it’s slightly smoother there, too, more like Velveeta or something. It’s also possible I simply blended this batch a little bit longer.

So, to coconut oil, or not to coconut oil? NOT! The Plant-based Bear will still continue to NOT use oil as much as possible, and this experiment proved, that again, it’s simply not necessary for the amount of downsides.

Now, I have 8 little loaves of cheese for my upcoming weekend trip. I realize that sounds like I’ll only be eating cheese all weekend! But, I will take a couple of loaves on my trip, along with some homemade whole-wheat bread to makes sandwiches or whatever! Delicious!

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