The color pink hit its peak in 2017. And I’m convinced it’s here to stay. It has made its way to our clothing, kitchens, and even our food. Trendy – yes. But there’s no denying the instant surge of calm, youthful happiness I feel whenever a pink cupcake, salad, or this hummus is set in front of me.
Although I love beets, they aren’t the main flavor component in this recipe. Their sole job – the color! Sure, beet hummus sounds delicious and intriguing, I’ve had one too many renditions in restaurants or cafes that are overpowered by the earthy characteristics. Or on the other hand, bland and grainy.
When I think about the proper dip, contrasting texture is very important. That’s where the toasty, seedy, crunchy, dried Montmorency tart cherry topping comes in. Reminiscent of a savory granola, but made quickly on the stovetop, just enough to produce a golden brown flavor and bring out the nuttiness of the seeds. With every bite, you get a little bit of creamy with a little bit of crunch. So good!
Besides its special pink color, this vegan hummus recipe has an incredibly smooth texture from my go-to technique: peeling half of the chickpea skins and adding up to 1/2 cup of the chickpea water while blending. This, in addition to the tahini and olive oil send it into ultra creamy territory. Both those ingredients add rich flavor as well.
The dried Montmorency cherries are a tart, sweet component that really compliments the rest of the savory ingredients – similar to how we often use them in salads. July is actually harvest month for this specific variety of cherry, which grows vibrantly in Michigan and six other American states. I even had a chance to visit Traverse City, the tart cherry capital of the world, and explore the cherry farms a few years ago. The harvest process is called “shaking”. When the Montmorency tart cherries are ripe, a harvesting machine encircles each individual cherry tree, agitating the trunk in a figure-eight motion until the cherries are shaken loose from the tree and dropped into a bed beneath.
A conveyor belt then whisks the fallen cherries to large bins of cold water, referred to as a chill down, before they are transported to a facility where they are rinsed with even colder water to retain firmness.
Because fresh Montmorency tart cherries are extremely delicate, 99% of the cherries harvested become frozen, dried, or juice products. Which is why we can enjoy them all year round!
You can serve this hummus with crackers or vegetables, roasted summer squash, pita bread, or as a spread for a lunch wrap.