Back in the days of my early veganism, I made hummus with lima beans!I started teaching a class on compassionate eating at church. Pretty cool, huh? That's the UU denomination for you. I'm pretty sure I'd be allowed to teach just about any subject so long as I could connect it to how the lesson brings people together. I was so psyched when my proposal was accepted! The class meets once per week for two hours for ten weeks. My angle was to teach and NOT preach my experience, strength, and hope eating a vegan diet. No expectations, just sharing good food and fun.
The weather was iffy, so I only had half the class in attendance. It was still a blast! We had introductions and part of the process was to finish the sentence, "When I hear the word vegan I think..." Here were the responses:
"Fake Blood at PETA demonstrations."
What an array of responses! I talked to them about my vegan journey and why I do what I do. Then I launched into a discussion about hummus and schmears. You do NOT have to have the standard hummus as a dip. Live it up and try to make your own unique schmear! A good schmear or hummus is made from the following: a source of protein, fat, vegetable, salt, garlic, lemon juice (or some kind of acid), and spices. I regret not taking pictures of our awesome meal, but I'll let you know what was on the menu:
Black Bean Dip- 1 can of rinsed black beans, 1/2 cup of store bought salsa, 1/4 t cumin, 1/2 t ms. dash's Caribbean citrus, and some sea salt. Puree in a blender. Low fat! Serve with pita, fresh colored peppers, and avocado slices.
A heavily improvised muhamara- 1/2 c. bread crumbs, 1/2 c. olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 cap of AC vinegar, sea salt, 1/3 c. raw pumpkin seeds, red pepper flakes, black pepper, roasted yellow peppers and one roasted mirliton. Add contents to blender and add a little water. You want it to be the consistency of pate. Serve with cheesy quackers from 500 Vegan Recipes.
Buffalo Black Eye Pea Dip- Buffalo Dip from 500 Vegan Recipes + 1 can of rinsed black eye peas. Pulse in a food processor. You don't want this to be smooth--let it have some texture! Serve with cuke slices, celery sticks, or both. This was the belle of the ball.
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Dip- My own creation! This was inspired by one of my readers, Sharine. I took 2 cups of canned pumpkin, 1/4 c. brown rice syrup, 3 chopped dates, 1/4 t vanilla, 2T soy or coconut coffee creamer, 3T water, 1/4 t nutmeg, 1/2 t cinnamon, and a shy T of cocoa powder. I served this with apple slices as a non-traditional dessert option. It went over so well!
Fig and Lentil Soup from 500 Vegan Recipes- If you can't already tell, this is my new favorite cookbook. Seriously people, this book doesn't get enough love. I own many vegan cookbooks, but not this one. I checked it out at the library and I'm now convinced this is the ONLY cookbook I need. Stay tuned for a full review-(and giveaway!) at a later date.
I brought in a few of my cookbooks, and I had a very informal Q&A session. I discussed where I get my protein, that milk can be made from anything-(that's next week's topic!), and that one could make an exciting dip from just about anything.
One student asked, "How can I make a dip low fat?"
Easy. Bypass the amount of oil. You want a little, but not the standard amount in recipes. You don't even really need the fat, but a little gives a big punch of flavor. Example: the "muhamara" had the most oil, and I cut 1/4 out of the recipe based on a bunch I reviewed. The buffalo dip used light mayo instead of full fat vegan mayo. The bean dip had zero oil added as well as the pumpkin pie dip. I explained one could roast or boil a vegetable-(their choice, try to go with one that is creamy when pureed) and cut it into the bean, lemon juice, garlic, and spice mixture to reduce the amount of oil or nut butter one would normally use. That approach enhances the texture, color, and flavor without a bunch of extra fat.
Their homework? Easy-invent your own creative bean schmear and tell me about it.