Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Artichoke hummus (and a book review)

artichoke hummus

I came upon this recipe for artichoke hummus in an unusual way. Knowing that The Ninj enjoys cooking and living in a generally healthy way, a college friend of mine asked me if I'd like to review a lifestyle book to which she had contributed. Since she herself is an awesome writer, of course I agreed to check it out.

So what does this have to do with hummus, you may be asking? Don't worry, I'll get there.

The book turned out to be Vibrant Living by Molly Shattuck, a health and fitness advocate and philanthropist from Baltimore who has designed a program to help people embrace a healthier lifestyle in 21 days.

Now, bear with me – I, too, was skeptical. I'm not an advocate of fad diets or “fix your life in 3 easy steps” kind of crap. You know me by now. My motto is everything in moderation: I think we often sabotage our efforts to be healthier and fitter by shunning every single “bad” food or by only eating restrictive, special diets that are too difficult to maintain, as well as setting unrealistic fitness goals.

I'm happy to report that Molly's ideals are quite similar (good thing, or it would have made for some awkward email exchanges with my college pal). She, too, embraces the idea that being fitter and eating better involves a fundamental lifestyle change but that need not be difficult or require you to subscribe to a packaged meal plan or to eat crazy-ass food. Her program emphasizes taking 21 days to establish a new routine of daily exercise (she includes easy-to-follow workout plans that don't require more than a pair of sneakers) and, my favorite part, eating “real”, unprocessed food.

Hellz yeah, Molly! High five from The Ninj.

Which brings us, at long last, to the artichoke hummus (See? I told you I would get here).

artichoke hummus

To help you along on the 21-day program, the book includes some of Molly's favorite easy recipes, from entrees and desserts to snacks and appetizers. I whipped up a batch of her artichoke hummus and loved it; not only did we eat it with brown rice crackers and veggie sticks but I also used it as a pizza “sauce”, topped with cooked chicken, spinach, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese – delish!

(BTW, Mr. Ninj has "issues" with artichokes so I didn't tell him what was in the hummus. Surprise: he loved it.)

If you know someone that could use a little coaching and guidance on how to start eating better and beginning an achievable fitness routine, Vibrant Living would make a great gift.

Now, go make some of this hummus!

artichoke hummus

Artichoke Hummus

(slightly adapted from Molly Shattuck's Vibrant Living)
Note: This makes a boatload of hummus, good for a party or several days worth of snacking. Go ahead and half the recipe if you'd like.

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped (I chop them in the can using kitchen shears)
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 - 1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients EXCEPT the basil in a food processor and whirl the crap out of it until it's smooth. If it's too thick, add some water, about a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. Scrape into a bowl and mix in the basil. Add salt and pepper to taste (it won't need much). Serve with rice crackers or crunchy veggies like cucumbers, carrots and celery.
-- print recipe --


  1. I ADORE artichoke hearts! I must try a variation of this for sure! :)

  2. I've made this twice now and it rocks! I didn't bother precutting the artichoke hearts, I just put them in the food processor first to chop them before I added the other ingredients. The second time I made it I didn't have the artichoke hearts but I added 1/2 jar of roasted red pepppers, and that was great, too. I can't wait to try sun dried tomatoes, I think that would taste great, too.

    1. So glad you liked it! And I think both the roasted peppers and sun dried tomatoes sound like great additions.