We’re 4 days into our stay here at the West Coast Headquarters of the Circle B Kitchen on the Central Coast of California, and in those 4 days we’ve managed to cook and eat more food than I want to even admit to. Our first night here we were served super delicious chicken enchiladas by my husband’s parents, and the second night I made pizza for everyone. The third night I made fish tacos, rice, beans and a blackberry cobbler for the big family gathering, and then last night we ate out at our favorite restaurant in town. I should be fasting for the next week, but there’s no chance of that. Today we’re headed to our cousin’s for a big tamale lunch (yum!) and tonight we’re putting together another big fish taco dinner with all the leftovers from Friday night. Help! We have a few more days here, and my only hope is that I’ll still fit into my jeans when we leave. I can so relate to that scene in Eat Pray Love when Julia Roberts is trying to get her jeans zipped. Yikes!
Even though I shouldn’t even be talking about food right now, I can’t help gushing over this 7-layer dip, which actually aspires to be a salad, a very hearty salad, I might add. With layers of hummus, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onion and feta cheese, this is a pretty nutritious dip that you can eat freely without the remorse associated with other "dips". We often begin by dipping into it with pita chips, but just as often end up heaping mounds of it onto our plate and using a fork just to get more of those lovely flavors into each bite.
I make my own hummus (see below for that recipe), but just use your favorite. And I like making my own pita chips (recipe follows), but again, store-bought is great here. The other great thing about this “dip” is how fast and easy it is to assemble. The recipe calls for a 9x13 pan, but use whatever vessel makes you happy. And don’t feel limited to these 7 ingredients. I’ve thrown in roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, avocado and any number of veggies just for the fun of it.
We love this stuff, and I hate myself for even thinking how much I would love to be eating it right now. And as good as it is as a party dip, it actually also makes a great summertime dinner. So forget the guilt, I say. I’m now officially hungry again.
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup silken tofu
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 ½ T tahini
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ t ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend ingredients in food processor until very smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and cover. Le sit at room temp for 20-30 min. Before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.
7-Layer Mediterranean Dip
1 1/2 cups hummus
3/4 cup peeled and diced cucumbers
3/4 cup shredded romaine lettuce
3/4 cup diced red onions
3/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced kalamata olives
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
pita chips, for dipping (see Note)
In a 9-by-13 baking dish (or any nice serving dish), spread the hummus in an even layer. Add layers in the following order: cucumber, romaine, onions, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese. Serve with pita chips.
Note: If you want to make your own pita chips, brush 8 pita rounds with a little olive oil (or spritz with cooking spray) and cut into 8 triangles each. Sprinkle with a little cumin, paprika, salt and pepper, and bake in a 375° oven until golden, about 10-15 minutes.
Serves 8 as an appetizer