Monday, January 12, 2009

Recipe: My Favorite Sandwich - The HSAT

I can actually recall a time when I didn’t think hummus was all that appetizing. I was working at the UC Davis CoHo (Coffee House, for you non-Aggies) in the cold foods section, watching it being made in great quantities. The tahini was in this large, opaque plastic bottle with a faded label written in old Sharpie, so you couldn’t really tell what was in there, and when they were squeezing it out into the garbanzo bean mix it just looked…… WRONG. The guy training me also had me try it before the lemon juice and spices had been put in, so all I got was bland goop. Needless to say, I was not impressed. I like to give things second chances though, so I wound up trying it again, this time from a tub of Haig’s Hummus that my friend Don had lying around. NOW we were talking! It was creamy, lemony, garlicky… just delicious! I became an instant devotee and now eat it very regularly.

Though I’ve never made it from scratch (it’s on my To-Do list), I know exactly the flavors I’m looking for, so I do stick to Haig’s a lot of the time. However, it’s a bit pricey and I’ve shopped around for something more affordable, trying a variety of different brands. I was very unimpressed with the Athenos brand, so I’ll never touch that again; the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op has a few different varieties, but like everything there, they are really expensive; the Davis Food Co-Op makes their own and it’s outstanding, but alas, they’re in Davis; lastly, Trader Joe’s has a couple different kinds, my new fave being their Mediterranean Hummus. Their traditional one is just fine but this Mediterranean one comes with pine nuts, parsley, spices, and a nice drizzle of olive oil, all suspended in the middle, ready for you to stir into the rest of the generous 16 oz. tub. It is a little too creamy though, so I use the traditional one in my sandwiches instead since it’s a little sturdier.

Before I launch into yet another super-easy recipe for one of my favorite lunches ever, I feel I should discuss why hummus is such a staple in this Poor Girl’s fridge. First of all, it’s relatively inexpensive if you shop around for something you like. I’m sure making it from scratch would cut the cost in relation to the volume, but I can’t say for sure since I’ve yet to do so. Still, when you figure how many different ways you can use it, it pays off. Second, it’s a great source of protein and healthy fats, and when you’re tight on cash it becomes a little harder to pay attention to nutrition v. just filling one’s belly. Since I’m hell-bent on staying relatively healthy no matter how poor I am, this is a huge selling point for me. Lastly, it just tastes GOOD. Whether it’s the traditional kind, black bean, white bean, or TJ’s new edamame one, hummus is just GOOD.

So the recipe sounds like an entrance exam into a professional school, but once you read the simple ingredients you will know what they stand for. Creamy hummus, crisp spinach, ripe avocado, and tangy tomatoes, all on toasted whole grain bread. Though I'm a firm believer in a mean grilled cheese, this truly is my favorite sandwich to eat. I hope it will become one of yours too. And now, on with the show.


My Favorite Sandwich - The HSAT (Hummus, Spinach, Avocado & Tomato)

2 slices of whole grain bread
4 T good quality hummus
1 small Roma tomato
1/2 avocado, sliced
Small handful of fresh spinach
Drizzle of Italian dressing or balsamic vinegar
Couple of sprinkles of ground pepper

Lightly toast the bread. Thinly slice the tomato and avocado, and rinse the spinach (unless you’re using the bagged kind, though it’s always a good idea to rinse it anyway). Spread the hummus on each slice of bread. Put a few slices of the tomato on one side, spinach and avocado on the other. Drizzle with either vinegar or some yummy Italian dressing onto the tomatoes and/or the spinach (not too much so it's not messy), sprinkle plenty of fresh ground pepper on both sides, put the sandwich together, and enjoy! Oh, and be sure to grab plenty of napkins... sometimes if the avocado is too ripe this can get a little messy, though ever-so-tasty.

23 comments:

  1. This looks delicious! I would add turkey bacon (are you a vegetarian?).

    http://hopeinthekitchen.blogspot.com/

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  2. Nope! I'm a proud omnivore. I realized that my last few postings do make it seem like I am one, though. Part of that is because meat & seafood tend to be too expensive at times. Still, there are a couple recipes with meat & seafood on here and there will be many more!

    Let me know how the sandwich works out w/the turkey bacon. I've never combined meat other than chicken with hummus, but it could be interesting! :)

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  3. I love hummus. My daughter and I drive 30 miles to a Greek restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas to buy their hummus by the quart. We usually pick up some of their fresh made pita bread too. It's wonderful.

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  4. I'm so going to have to try this sandwich! It looks so good! I wonder if I can get my little boy to eat it too... Hmmm. Can I get my 2 year old to eat anything that doesn't include peanut butter? Thanks for the recipe!.

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  5. Can you change your favorite sandwich's name to 'The Shat'? Por favor????

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  6. Okay, that just made me choke on NOTHING, I was laughing so hard.

    I will see what I can do about the name change... I just don't think it would be as appetizing to the average reader, doll!

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  7. I have been making hummas with edamame and tofu. Its a great mid-afternoon pick me up!

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  8. This sandwich is pure genius. Thank you!

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  9. Not a fan of avocado, but love hummus and pretty much anything from that culinary/geographic region. Making your own hummus is crazy simple, but note: if you decide to include black olives in your hummus, stir them in afterwards rather than blend with everything else, or you will end up with gray hummus. I found this out the hard way......

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  10. i love this sandwich!!! i tried it today with turkey and no tomatoes and it turned out mighty tastey!!! the TJ's hummus is divine. don't know what i would do without trusty Joe. Props on the blog, poor girl!

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  11. i love this sandwich... i tried it today without tomatoes and with turkey today and it was mighty tasty. the TJ's hummus is divine. don't know what i would do without trusty Joe. props on the blog, poor girl!

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  12. Sounds very similar to an avocado sandwich I had at a vegetarian restaurant once, plus alfalfa sprouts and provolone.

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  13. Trader Joe's has a flavor with cilantro that is now my new favorite! Check it out.

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  14. I just found your blog and I love it! :) This is the first thing I tried and WOW! So easy, but so yummy! I used the TJ's flatbread. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. DEFINITELY make your own hummus to cut costs: it is super-easy with canned chickpeas (stock up when they are on sale), or ridiculously cheap - if a tad more work - with cooked-from-dried ones. Plus, you can tweak it to get the flavour and consistency just as you like it. I generally just do it to taste, starting with a can of chickpeas (drained, but save the liquid!) Place chickpeas in a blender or food processor, add in a couple of Tbs of tahini (a little goes a long way - can always add more), a few cloves of garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a good amount of olive oil (this is where I use the reserved chickpea-canning liquid: you save fat and $$$, and it also adds salt *so be sure to first blend, taste and then season accordingly* But you do want to use at least a little olive or other good oil, for flavour and velvety texture). Other good additions can include parsley and a dash of paprika. **Remember you can always add more flavours later - it is harder to take away (you'd have to add more chickpeas) - so don't add too much of anything, to start.** Blend mixture - adding oil and/or bean liquid as needed to keep things moving and get to the consistency you want - until combined but not fully smooth, then taste and add salt and pepper as desired; you can also add more tahini, lemon juice and/or garlic if desired to tweak the flavour profile. Continue to blend until you reach the thickness and consistency you want. Once you get a good, basic hummus you like, it can be fun to experiment with all the wild flavours you see selling for premium prices in the stores: roasted red pepper or garlic (roast your own for cheap!), herb or spinach/arugula, jalepeno, curried... You can also change it up by replacing some or all of the chickpeas with white/cannellini beans, edamame (fresh soy beans - sold frozen and shelled for pretty cheap)... Experiment, use your imagination and HAVE FUN :) yay for healthy, fun food!

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  16. Love love love hummus! You should definitely try homemade, I can't imagine it wouldn't be cheaper than buying it premade. You don't need even to use tahini (the most expensive ingredient) - usually I just do a can of beans (or dried to be cheaper), olive oil, garlic, seasonsings and puree it all together. You can make it taste exactly how you like it every time and it's so easy.

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  17. My first hummus-experience was during a visit to Boston. We went to a way cool brew house where I had a hummus roll-up kind of thing and a pumkpin ale. Delicious! I have since learned to make my own. My favorite variety is a roasted-red pepper hummus. Tastey, simple and oh-so economical!

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Oh, trust me, I HAVE made my own hummus since posting this last year (this post is over a year old, btw)! I haven't posted many of the random recipes yet, but I've had a lot of fun with my Spicy Red Lentil Hummus Sans Tahini (some folks are allergic to sesame products so I wanted to give them a different option. It's UBER cheap and delicious. Check it out!

    http://www.poorgirleatswell.com/2009/10/recipe-spicy-red-lentil-hummus.html

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  20. UCD ftw!
    I'm about to attempt to make some roasted red pepper hummus.

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  21. This would be PERFECT with bacon... I'm just sayin'... Also, to minimize mess while eating, toss the spinach with dressing or vinegar in a bowl first. Less drippy, but more tasty that way.

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  22. This sandwich was amazing! I made red pepper hummus and used some left over guacamole. I wasn't sure how the combo would work, but I think I found a new favorite sandwich. I also added some cucumber which gave it a nice crunch.

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  23. I just had this for lunch and may I say, my tastebuds were in hummus heaven! This is going to be one of my favorite healthy lunches! Thanks for your blog and for being so creative about all the recipes you come up with!

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