Winter Squash Hummus

Winter Squash Hummus: 
1 (1 1/2 pound) acorn squash (or other winter squashes like delicata or butternut squash), halved
Olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rises and shucked 
2 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 1/2 lemons) 
3 tablespoons tahini paste
3/4 cup water (may vary) 
Sea salt   

Baked Pita Chips: 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon sumac, plus more for topping the hummus
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Sea salt
3-4 slices pita, cut into strips or triangles

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the squash halves onto a baking sheet and drizzle them with a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Transfer the squash to the oven to bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the squash is tender when poked with a fork. Allow to cool for a few minutes until the squash is cool enough to handle. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Next, spoon out the flesh and set it aside. 

2. To the jar of a blender or food processor, add the garbanzo beans and garlic cloves; pulse a few times until the garbanzo beans resemble a coarse meal. To the jar of the blender or food processor, add the reserved acorn squash, lemon juice and tahini paste. With the blender or food processor on, drizzle in 1/2 cup of water, scraping down the sides every so often, until the consistency is super smooth. You may need to add additional water (I added about 1/4 cup of water extra) to get it to your desired consistency. Give it a taste test and adjust the seasoning (I added about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt). Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and top with a sprinkling of sumac. 

3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. To a small bowl, add the cumin, fresh thyme leaves, sumac, sesame seeds and a liberal pinch of salt; mix until combined. Lay the pita strips or triangles onto a baking sheet and brush each strip with olive oil. Sprinkle the slices of pita with the zaatar mixture. Transfer to the oven to bake for 6-8 minutes, until lightly browned. Carefully flip over the pita slices and brush the opposite side with olive oil; sprinkle the slices of pita with the zaatar mixture and return to the oven for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly golden browned and firm to the touch. Remove and set aside to cool. Serve alongside hummus. 

Serves 4-6, as an appetizer

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