White Bean Hummus with Herb and Olive Salad
Why This Recipe Works
by Sasha Marx
Tepary beans were first cultivated by Native Americans in the American southwest and are prized for their drought-resistant properties. The tepary bean’s tolerance of heat and water stress makes it an attractive crop for forward-thinking agriculturalists as the effects of climate change become more pronounced in the coming years. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture has begun cross-breeding tepary and common beans (think: black, red, and pinto beans) in an attempt to transfer these genetic traits to the common bean. The two main types of tepary beans are white and brown (both available from Rancho Gordo and Acacia Artisans). When we cooked off a test batch of the white variety, the beans’ earthy flavor and creamy texture called out for a pureed treatment.
This recipe is inspired by Michael Solomonov’s “tehina” hummus, replacing chickpeas with tepary beans (it also works well with cannellini beans). We found that soaking the beans overnight in water with a little salt and baking soda before simmering them on the stove yielded supertender, creamy beans that are perfect for pureeing. Both salt and baking soda work to weaken cell-wall structure; the alkalinity of baking soda helps dissolve hemicelluloses, and sodium displaces magnesium, which facilitates the dissolving of cell-wall pectins. We finish the supersmooth bean hummus with a bright and briny herb and olive salad and a sprinkle of crunchy toasted seeds for a dish that can be served with some pita bread as a light lunch or dinner or as an appetizer dip for a dinner party that will win you points with the vegan contingent.