When it comes to putting a new spin on hummus with the unlikely additions of chocolate, caramel, or even cake batter, for the life of me, I just cringe.
But leave it to Melissa Clark to come up with a novel and genius use for hummus that actually makes sense.
She takes portobellos and stuffs their generous-sized caps with homemade hummus, then crowns them with chickpeas, before roasting them.
If you’ve been there, done that with classic itty-bitty stuffed button mushrooms filled with chopped mushrooms, butter, cheese, and toasted bread crumbs, this more sizeable riff will make you see them in a whole new way.
“Stuffed Portobellos with Creamy, Lemony Chickpeas” is from Clark’s newest cookbook, “Dinner in One” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.
The book’s release was delayed this year, after its shipment was purportedly lost at sea during a rough storm in January. Thankfully, a new shipment finally made it to our shores, because the arrival of a Melissa Clark cookbook is always an occasion to celebrate. That’s because her recipes always tempt, and always work.
This book is an especially appealing one, because it offers up 100 meals that can be made in just one piece of cookware in mostly under an hour.
That means dishes such as “Garlicky Pork Chops with Cauliflower and Pomegranate” cooked on a sheet pan; “Creamy Peanut Chicken with Charred Snow Peas” (cooked in a skillet); “Bacon and Egg Spaghetti with Greens and Herbs” (cooked in one pot); “Turkey and Bean Tamale Pie” (made in a dutch oven); “Red Wine, Mushroom, and Pancetta Risotto” (done in a pressure cooker); and “Easy Chocolate Fudge Torte” (a one-bowl cake).
Clark credits British food writer Nigel Slater for this take on stuffed mushrooms, which she adapted.
Canned chickpeas are used two ways here. First, in a quick hummus that gets blitzed in a blender with garlic, tahini, and lemon juice, then enfolded with sumac and fresh thyme. Then, the remaining whole chickpeas get pressed into the hummus-filled portobello caps before getting a sprinkling of cumin seeds.
I took the extra step of using a spoon to remove most of the dark gills before filling the mushrooms. It results in a slightly deeper cavity; plus the gills tend to color everything darker, which isn’t always appetizing looking. So, I added that step to the recipe, if you’re so inclined to do the same.
The mushroom caps get roasted in the oven on a pan along with green beans or broccolini, and cherry tomatoes. I actually went with yellow wax beans, so I added that alternative, too.
Some of the hummus may overflow the mushroom caps while baking. But just nudge it back into the caps before serving, and you are good to go.
This is such a fun dish. You get a real meatiness from the big mushroom caps that are garlicky, earthy, and vibrant with citrus from both the lemon juice and the cumin seeds. The hummus adds a voluptuous richness and creaminess while the chickpeas add nuttiness, texture, and heft.
This makes for a fantastic vegetarian entree. Or as a side to Merguez sausages or lamb chops. It is ideal for a potluck, too, because it can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature.
Forget all those other crazy takes on hummus. Make this sure-bet winner instead.
Stuffed Portobellos with Creamy, Lemony Chickpeas
4 large portobello mushroom caps, at least 5 inches in diameter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed, divided
4 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
1/4 cup tahini
Juice of a lemon, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 teaspoons ground or crushed sumac
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
8 ounces trimmed green beans, yellow wax beans, broccolini, or cherry tomatoes (or use a combination)
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. With a small spoon, gently scrape out and remove the black gills of each mushroom, if you like. Score the inside of each mushroom cap with the tip of a knife and arrange, cavity side up, in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with oil.
In a blender, combine 1 can of the chickpeas, the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and a large pinch of salt and blend to form a paste. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the 1/2 cup oil, scraping down the sides once or twice. Use a spatula to stir in the thyme and sumac. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if you like. It should be bright and tangy.
Fill each mushroom with the creamy chickpea mixture. Cover with the remaining can of chickpeas, gently pressing them into the hummus so they stick, then sprinkle with the cumin seeds and more salt.
Add the vegetables to the pan and drizzle everything — vegetables and the mushrooms — with more oil, tossing the vegetables to coat them. Bake until the mushrooms are tender when pierced with a fork, 30 to 35 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve warm or at room temperature.
Veg It Up: Plop these on top of a bed of spinach, arugula, or baby kale tossed with a little olive oil and lemon juice. If your mushrooms come with stems attached, slice them up, toss with a little olive oil and salt, and add them to the sheet pan along with the other veggies.
Adapted from “Dinner in One” by Melissa Clark
More Melissa Clark Recipes to Enjoy: Sauteed Chicken with Meyer Lemon