Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pita Bites

This Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pita Bite appetizer is everything!  There is a textural depth to these appetizers not to mention an incredible flavor!

The hummus is heavenly and creamy, which is the perfect contrast to the crunchy pita chips.  The feta adds a touch of saltiness while the lentils add the perfect bits of crunch!  Top it off with some pomegranate seeds and you have yourself an awesome appetizer for your next get-together!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pita Bites

This appetizer stirred up memories about how Robby and I first got together.  I don’t think I have told this story yet!  I came back to L.A. In October 2007 from Oregon and Robby came back in 2008 from Massachusetts.  We hadn’t seen each other since we were teenagers and we both showed up to our mutual good friend Christine’s house for dinner.  In the next few weeks Robby and I had gone on a few bike rides and the last time he came up to my tiny studio apartment for some water.  We started looking through old photos and he says he felt something, a spark all of a sudden, which he told me years later.  I felt it too but I ignored it thinking we were just old friends.  I called him a few times but never heard back.  It turned out that his mom had passed away and he needed to be alone.

Roasted-Red-Pepper-Hummus-Pita-Bites

A year went by and unfortunately our good friend George’s mom had just passed.  Robby and our friend Antonia drove down from Santa Cruz.  They had a conversation about relationships and Robby told her he was fine being by himself.  We all showed up to Saint Sophia’s Greek Orthodox church at the same time.  After the ceremony, everyone went across the street to a Greek restaurant Called “Papa Cristo’s Greek Grill and Catering”  We started off with Greek appetizers including hummus. Everything was phenomenal!  After everyone headed to the cemetery but me, I had to do some work and I met up with them later at the Moose Lodge.  I had a couple glasses of wine when our friend Christine said ” Steph, why don’t you and Robby get together? And I said, “because I didn’t consider it was an option since he never returned my phone calls.”

After a few cocktails, we all went to George’s house.  Antonia was going to be flying back to San Jose but everyone was guilt tripping her so she left to see if she could stay another night.  When she returned I was sitting on Robby’s lap.  It was pretty funny, Antonia was all “wait? what? I left for thirty minutes, what happened?  Well, as you can see the rest is history!

_Red-Pepper-Hummus-Bites

These cuties pair well with a light Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Albariño

or a White Rioja.

Hummus-Bites

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Bites Recipe:
48 Bites
  • 1/2 Cup or as needed Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – recipe below
  • 1/4 Cup Crispy Black Lentils – recipe below
  • 48 Pita Chips – recipe below
  • 1/4 Cup Feta Cheese – crumbled
  • 1/4 Cup Pomegranate seeds – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar – reduced – optional
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – makes about 1 cup – for the whole recipe click here
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Garbanzo Beans – 3/4 Cups Cooked
  • 1 Small Red Bell Pepper – roasted – deseeded – destemmed
  • 1/4 Cup Roasted Tahini
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoons Chili Olive Oil – homemade or store-bought – can sub regular olive oil
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Hot Paprika (can sub for regular paprika)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Crispy Black Lentils – adapted from Life and Health – for the whole recipe click here

  • 1/4 Cup Black Lentils – cooked
  • 1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch Sea Salt
 Pita Triangles
  • 8 Pita – cut into 6 wedges each
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano – minced – optional
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste

Balsamic Reduction

  • 1/2 Cup High-Quality Balsamic Vinegar
Instructions:
 Prepare garbanzo beans for the hummus
 You can cook the garbanzo beans two different ways: one is the quick way, the other is by soaking the beans overnight which is better for your digestion.  This is how I prepare them, plus if you are going to make falafels this is the way to go.

Place them in a large bowl and cover with filtered water, they will expand to over double their size, make sure you cover by several inches of water to allow for expansion.  Soak overnight for at least 12 hours then drain.

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Quick method

Place the beans in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water above the beans and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let the beans soak in the warm water for 1 hour then drain the water and rinse.

*
Cooking the beans

If you want extra smooth hummus you can do as Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi do from their cookbook “Jerusalem”  and remove the skins from the garbanzo beans.

Just add chickpeas and 1 teaspoons of baking soda to a large saucepan over high heat.  Stirring constantly for about 2 – 3 minutes.  Covers the chickpeas by about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes to 1 hours or until soft, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer.  Skim off the foam and skins that float to the surface.  They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.

or

Put the beans back in the pot and cover with several inches of filtered water.

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until tender.  They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.

When the garbanzo beans are cooked and cooled, measure everything and put in a food processor or blender and puree until the desired texture.

*
 Peppers

Roast peppers on the stovetop on medium-high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems then dice them.

*
Crispy Black Lentils

Preheat oven to 400°F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl toss the lentils, oil and salt together then spread out on the parchment.
Roast lentils for 25 – 30 minutes, stir in between.  Roast until crunchy.  Watch them closely at the end so they don’t burn.  Let cool.
 *
Hummus
When the garbanzo beans are cooked and cooled, measure everything for the hummus and put in a food processor or blender and puree until the desired texture.
 *
Balsamic Reduction

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small pan and turn heat to medium-high then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally until it coats the back of your spoon.  Keep an eye on it because it can happen fast and burn.

*
Baked Pita Chips
 Turn down the oven to 350 degrees

Cut each pita into 8 triangles and place on one side of a parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and gently toss.  Sprinkle on the oregano and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until crispy.

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Assemble
Spoon a dollop of hummus onto each pita triangle then top with a little feta, pomegranate seeds and lentils.  Serve with a side dish of balsamic to let your guest drizzle over the top of each pita.  You will have about 1/2 cup of hummus leftover.  I usually make the whole recipe and extra pita chips for serving or for my snacking purposes.
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Health Benefits:

Garbanzo beans are super high in protein and extremely high in fiber, just one cup provides 50% of the Daily Value.  Because of the fiber, they are great for your heart, lowering blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack as well as help prevent constipation and digestive disorders.  Just one cup provides 84.5% of the daily value of manganese, which is an antioxidant that acts as a monitor of the free radicals in the body.  If you are low in energy the high iron content will help and will transport oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body.  They also help to balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Garbanzo beans are helpful for weight loss as they keep you full longer.

Red Bell Peppers are matured green bell peppers and have more nutrition as they mature.  They are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

Kale Persimmon Salad with a Red and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

This gorgeous Kale Persimmon Salad seems so simple yet the flavors are absolutely outstanding!  Honestly, I am completely hooked!  There is a lot of texture going on from the burrata to the pomegranate seeds and the red and white balsamic vinaigrette really steps it up a notch.

Christmas is over and the New Year starts tomorrow.  I don’t know about you, but I had my fair share of holiday treats and I am ready for lots and lots of salad!  This salad is loaded with vitamins and minerals from the kale, pomegranate seeds, basil and persimmons making it the perfect winter salad!

Kale Persimmon Salad Tomorrow is the start of a new year and I’m looking forward to a very productive, inspiring and all around awesome year!  How about you?  This is the time to move forward and let go of all that which is not serving you.  It could be almost anything like a job, where you live, your diet or even a relationship.  It can sometimes be scary to bust a move, but if it’s the right move, you will be amazed at how your life can change for the better!  A sign of when it is time for a change is usually when bad things or feelings continue to occur over and over again.

 I was in a 14-year relationship before I moved back to California.  It wasn’t a bad relationship, it was just that we were growing apart and wanted different things in life.  Although it wasn’t easy for me to leave, I knew I had to move on if I wanted to grow.  As soon as I made the decision, everything fell into place.  I left with $1,200 to my name and a free plane ticket.  I sold some old silver clippings from my jewelry business to a gold and silver dealer; I sold a bunch of beads to the local bead store and I sold some vintage clothing to a vintage clothing shop.  My dad’s friend had a plane ticket that was going to expire in a month so I got a free plane ticket.  My dad had an extra car for me to use when I got back to California so I had a car waiting for me.  I had talked to my friend Janelle about how I was going to need a place to stay and she invited me to stay with her for the first month while I looked for a job.

After a couple weeks, I saw my friend Sam and I told her that I was in need of a job and the next thing I knew she called to tell me she had arranged for me to meet the manager of a small shop on Abbot Kinney.  The manager hired me and when I told her I was looking for a place to live she said she might know of a room for rent.  Her friend Brian came into the shop to meet me and it turned out that I knew him from back in the day.  I firmly believe that everything was falling into place because I had faith and decided to act on my intuition!  And this was just the beginning of all the amazing things that was about to happen after I made that scary decision!

Kale Persimmon Salad

I love a light Pinot Noir with this salad, preferably an Oregon varietal.  It is also wonderful with a Riesling, Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc.

Kale-Burrata-and-Persimmon-Salad

Kale Persimmon Salad:
4 – 6 servings
Salad
  • Red & White Balsamic Vinaigrette – drizzle to taste – (recipe below)
  • 1 Head Dino Kale, stems removed, leaves chopped into thin strips (about 6 to 7 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Handful Basil Leaves – roughly chopped or torn
  • 2 -3 Fuyu Persimmons – thinly sliced – halved or quarterd
  • 1/2 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
  • 1 Ball Burrata – torn in pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Salted Pistachios – roughly chopped
Red & White Balsamic Vinaigrette – for whole recipe click here
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons  White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Stone Ground or Dijon Mustard – or to taste
  • 1 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
  • Dash of Black Pepper
Crostini – optional
  • 1/2 Baguette Crostini – 12 thin slices
  • Approx. 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions:

 Vinaigrette
*
 In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegars, garlic, salt and pepper.  Next slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Or use a hand held blender to emulsify.
Salad
*
Wash the kale and remove main rib by holding the end of the steam and pull down with your other hand.  Discarding the main rib.  Chop kale into thin strips, add to a large bowl along with the tablespoon of olive oil and massage the oil into the kale.
Mix in the basil, persimmon, pomegranate seeds and pistachios.  Mix everything together or arrange it nicely on a platter.  Add dressing to individual salads and top them off with burrata and crostini.
Crostini
*
Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices.

Place slices onto a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.

Kale-Persimmon-Salad

Health benefits:

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma.  Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol.  It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)  More on kale

Persimmons Latin name means “food of the gods.”  They are high in fiber helping to maintain a healthy digestive system. Due to their bright orange skin they are an excellent source of vitamin A that nourish the eyes and help prevent age related macular disease. They help to detoxify the large intestine, and increase immunity. They have an excellent source of anti-oxidants that helps reduce high blood pressure and are a very good source of vitamin C, especially native Chinese and American persimmons, which provide 80% of the daily requirement. They give the body energy and help symptoms of stress, fatigue and tiredness.