Lemony Hummus Dressing on Chopped Salad

by Julia Robarts on May 10, 2015

in Salads/Sides

Happy Mother’s Day to all you fantastic mums out there!! I hope you had as wonderful a day as I did, with all the things and people you love. Maybe it was special time with your own mom or other special women in your life. A fun day with your kids — or without your kids :)  A delicious meal at a local eatery. Flowers or candles or a homemade card. Whatever YOU like, that is what Mother’s Day is about.

I feel lucky to have my mum living right next door. Even today, when she asked for hard labor as a Mother’s Day gift. How could we refuse? Along with my two sisters, my husband, and brother-in-law, we hacked, raked, scooped, shoveled, and mowed for a better part of the morning. Gladly and willingly, of course.

Juggling With Julia pic9After hours of sweat and grime and fun (really!), I headed next door to my own house where my kids told me it was time for my presents. YIPPEE!! Somehow they managed, together, to make a card and a chocolate cream pie. Precious. Don’t be fooled by their sweet faces, though. They spent 10 minutes discounting each other’s efforts and claiming credit for themselves :)
Juggling With JuliaBut still, I got a pie!

I’ll be wrapping up my very awesome day with this yummy and easy Lemony Hummus Dressing on Chopped Salad, or on whatever vegetables I can find in the fridge, because, to be honest, I have no idea what’s in there  (Mother’s Day Rule #1 NO GROCERY SHOPPING!)

While my go-to dressing is usually a homemade balsamic or Newman’s Own Caesar, I love the creaminess of this dressing and the way it really sticks to the salad. It whisks up in just a couple of minutes, and before you know it you’re wiping off your chin. It is also big-time yum inside a chicken roll-up, and would be an absolutely fabulous dressing drizzled over a roasted vegetable/grain salad.

As if being delish, quick and easy wasn’t awesome enough, this recipe makes enough for the salad you’re now thinking about, plus the roll-ups that you want to make for tomorrow’s lunches. Problem solved. You’re welcome :)

Lemony Hummus Dressing on Chopped Salad -- Juggling With Julia Lemony Hummus Dressing on Chopped Salad -- Juggling With Julia Lemony Hummus Dressing on Chopped Salad -- Juggling With Julia

Lemony Hummus Dressing on Chopped Salad
Makes approximately 3/4 cup

Prep time: 3 minutes (dressing), 5 minutes (salad)          Cook time: Zip, zero, nil, nada

1/2 cup prepared hummus
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the hummus, water, lemon juice, and olive oil together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3 cups chopped greens (romaine, spinach, baby kale, arugula)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup diced raw carrot
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Drizzle about 1/4 cup of dressing over the salad, or more to taste. Store the remainder of the dressing in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in a sealed container.



Photo courtesy of Meal Makeover MomsPhoto courtesy of Meal Makeover Moms

Oatmeal Butternut Pancakes with Browned Buttered Nuts. Goat cheese and real maple syrup. Such a dreamy, creamy, flavorful way to eat pancakes. For sure, I never would have thought to put all these ingredients together on my own.

Who was the genius, then, behind this stack of stupendousness? Maria Speck, that’s who. Maria, a journalist, accomplished cook, and serious lifelong fan of grains of all kinds, is the author of a new cookbook, Simply Ancient Grains, .

simply ancient grainsSimply Ancient Grains
Photo courtesy Maria Speck and Ten Speed Press

What exactly are ancient grains? Don’t worry – I had to ask this question myself. It turns out many ancient grains are quite familiar, such as wheat, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, oats, quinoa,and rice. I have dozens of recipes featuring these ingredients. Ancient grains also include less well-known varieties, like amaranth, kamut, millet, farro, teff, and spelt. Some of these I’d never heard of before!

Ancient grains are making a huge comeback, and for many reasons. Several are gluten-free, and most varieties pack more protein and fiber than modern grains. The taste of these grains is “phenomenal,” according to Maria, with each variety offering a difference flavor nuance, like honeysuckle, vanilla, or cinnamon. Maria also touts the flexibility of grains, which can be interchanged easily in cooking. Finally, while ancient grains typically have a longer cooking time, some, like freekah, bulgur, and quinoa, cook up just as quickly as white rice. That is a huge selling point for anyone interested in incorporating these into their cooking.

As part of a foodie event I was invited to, I received a copy of  Maria’s book from her publisher, as did a handful of others. We were charged with making a recipe from the book to share when we got together. With no time to shop, I decided on the Oatmeal Butternut Pancakes with Browned Buttered Nuts because 1) I always have oats and nuts in the house, and 2) I had  some roasted butternut squash from my summer CSA taking up precious real estate in my freezer.

With my enthusiastic 9-year-old assistant by my side, I embarked on what turned out to be a very simple recipe. The night before, we made the batter in a food processor, then let it sit overnight in the fridge. Isn’t that a gorgeous hue? It just screams Vitamin A. You eat this and your great grandkids will see better :)

Oatmeal Butternut Pancakes - Juggling With JuliaThe next morning, I browned up the nut mixture, then packed up everything to cook it up at the Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen. I made minor adjustments to Maria’s recipe (below), based on the ingredients I had on hand. I used cashews and walnuts instead of the almond and pecans suggested, and freshly ground black pepper in place of Aleppo pepper.

Photo courtesy Meal Makeover Moms

Photo courtesy Meal Makeover Moms

Cooking pancakes is cooking pancakes, no matter what ingredients are used. By that, of course, I mean the ‘first pancake principle’ was in full effect. Boy, that first one was ugly. But the rest of them? Gorgeous, and more importantly, so yummy. Take a chance on these, I know you’ll love them!

Oatmeal Butternut Pancakes - Juggling With Julia~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oatmeal Butternut Pancakes with Browned Buttered Nuts
Reprinted with permission from Simply Ancient Grains by Maria Speck, copyright (c) 2015.
Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2015 by Erin Kunkel

Makes 12 to 14 pancakes (enough for 4-6 people)

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large eggs
1 cup mashed roasted butternut squash
3/4 cup whole or low-fat milk, plus up to 1/4 cup more as needed
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Browned Buttered Nuts:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 tablespoon golden or black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon nigella seeds (or more sesame seeds)
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or 1/8 teaspoon dried chile flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Fine sea salt

8 ounces soft mild goat cheese or cream cheese (optional), cut into 1/2 inch slices

Step One:
Start the batter the night before, or at least 30 minutes ahead. Add the oats, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until you have oat flour, about 30 seconds.

Tip in the eggs and the squash puree and pour in the milk, syrup, and vanilla. Pulse until just blended and no chunks of squash remain, about five 1-second pulses. Transfer the batter to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes (or chill overnight).

Step Two:
When you are ready to make the pancakes, prepare the nuts. Add the butter to a 10-inch skillet or a medium saucepan, preferably stainless steel, and melt over medium heat. Cook, watching attentively, until the color turns golden brown, the butter smells deeply nutty, and the bottom of the pan fills with brown specks, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the pecans, almonds, sesame seeds, nigella seeds, Aleppo pepper, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Immediately transfer the buttered nuts to a small serving bowl and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Place a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet and transfer the sheet to the center rack of the over — this will keep the pancakes from getting soggy. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the consistency of the batter. It will have thickened considerably. Gently stir in a few tablespoons more milk with a spatula until you have a thick, pourable consistency.

To finish the pancakes, heat a large cast-iron skillet or a griddle pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan with olive oil. When a drop of water sizzles and briskly evaporates on the surface, add 1/4 cup batter per pancake, leaving space in between so you can flip them. Cook until the edges of the pancakes start to look dry and the bottoms turn golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low if they brown too quickly. Flip and cook until golden and puffy, almost 2 minutes more. Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Do not stack. Continue until all of the batter is used, greasing the pan lightly in between as necessary.

Photo courtesy of Meal Makeover Moms

Photo courtesy of Meal Makeover Moms


What’s left to share with you? First of all, Simply Ancient Grains is gorgeous and the recipes are wonderful. After meeting Maria, who is charming and passionate, I can see her personality all over the book, especially in her ‘fine points’ at the end of the recipes. As if she’s watching over your shoulder, she shares how to modify a spicy recipe for children, when it’s OK to substitute an ingredients (and when it’s really not), and simple tips like “Be sure to zest your lemon before you squeeze it. It makes life easier.” You’ll be in very good hands, with this book in your hands, if you’d like to explore some unfamiliar ancient grains.

Finally, I leave you with beautiful photos of the other dishes we sampled that day, with my friends Janice and Liz from the Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen, as well as Rachel, Sara, and Kyle from Oldways. We cooked, learned, and then ate together. It was a wonderful lunch!

(L-R) Kyle, me, Rachel, Liz, Sara, and author Maria Speck (Janice is behind the camera)

Photo courtesy of the Meal Makeover Moms

Photo courtesy of the Meal Makeover Moms

Freekeh Salad with Caramelized Cauliflower and Tuna (a la Liz and Janice)
Photo courtesy Meal Makeover Moms

Photo courtesy Meal Makeover Moms

Bulgur with Chard and Saffron-Infused Yogurt – before we added the yogurt (a la Sara)
Juggling With Julia
Lemony Millet Pudding with Caramelized Grapes (a la Rachel)
Photo courtesy the Meal Makeover Moms

Photo courtesy the Meal Makeover Moms

Simple Maple Pudding with Farro Piccolo

Photo courtesy Meal Makeover Moms

Photo courtesy Meal Makeover Moms




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