For a new spin on hummus, take note of Food Orleans's blog and swap out butter beans for standard chickpeas.

I started making hummus from scratch last year, when I discovered the organic dried chickpeas in bulk at the neighborhood Rouse's. I love to make it, but let's be honest: chickpeas take forever to cook, especially when you want them really soft, for hummus. But you can make a serviceable hummus out of just about any dried bean or pea: black-eyed peas, lima beans, black beans . . . and butter beans! While all of these might be tasty, the prettiest ones are going to be made from white or very light-colored beans. I've made black bean hummus before, and it turns out kind of blue-gray. Not untasty but not winning any beauty contests.

Butter beans, a.k.a. large limas, are perfect for making a from-scratch hummus, because they cook very quickly — just about 45 minutes in gently boiling water. You can also use canned, of course, just as you would use canned chickpeas for hummus. I like the fact that butter beans are a Southern cooking staple, too. Try some! 

Use your own favorite hummus recipe, or if you don't have one, here are some amounts to get you started.

Keep reading for the easy yet enticing recipe.

Butter Bean Hummus

  • 4 cups cooked butter beans, drained and liquid reserved (or 2 15-ounce cans)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sumac, paprika, or cayenne pepper, for garnish
  1. Drop the garlic cloves in a food processor, fitted with the steel blade and process until finely minced. Add the butter beans, lemon juice, a few tablespoons of bean liquid or water, and tahini, and process until pasty.
  2. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until a creamy mixture is formed. Season with salt and additional lemon juice, if necessary.
  3. Sprinkle the top with sumac, paprika, or cayenne, and drizzle with a little more olive oil.

Makes 2 cups.

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