If you asked me to describe hummus, I’d tell you that it was a creamy dip made mainly of chickpeas and tahini. Yet here I am, calling this pinto bean and jalapeno-packed dip by that name, even though it has neither chickpeas nor tahini in it. What gives? Well, flavor and texture-wise, Jalapeno Pinto Bean “Hummus” is a cross between spicy refried beans and, of course, hummus. It’s creamy, smooth, and tastes delicious served cold or at room temperature. You can dip in vegetables, chips, crackers, or pita, or even spread it on a sandwich, to get a protein-packed, Middle Eastern-inspired snack that is chock full of your favorite Mexican flavors. Tell me that doesn’t sound like the best of both worlds?
To start, I blacken the jalapenos. This makes the flesh softer, which helps in blending the dip to a smooth consistency, and it also gives a deeper, smokier flavor to the peppers. A lot of times people will roast their peppers for about an hour, but in order to get the char on the jalapenos as quick as possible, I stick mine under the broiler. After the skins have blackened, I remove the jalapenos from the oven and wrap them in foil to trap in steam as they cool. Once they’re cool enough to handle, I remove the skins, seeds, and stems, and put the flesh of the peppers in the bowl of a food processor. I use 3 small jalapenos, but you may want to add one at a time until you get to your desired spice level if you’re worried about too much heat.
Pinto beans, cumin, cilantro, garlic, salt, lime juice, and olive oil join the mix, and then all it takes is a quick blend to get a smooth, ready-to-eat dip. If I find that my dip is a bit thicker than I wanted, I’ll add just a tad of water until the dip is perfectly creamy. To serve, I transfer everything to a bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil, some sliced black olives, additional cilantro, and smoked paprika to amplify the smokiness of the jalapenos.
I decided to keep this dip tahini-free because I’ve found that a lot of people have issues finding tahini or don’t think that they would wind up using enough of it to warrant buying it. However, the nutty, earthy flavor is made up for with the addition of ground cumin, so nothing is missed. I like to serve mine with tortilla chips for some salitness and crunch, but if you want to go the healthier route, celery, bell pepper, and baby carrots make great dippers as well.
- 3 small jalapenos*
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 15 oz cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 handful fresh cilantro, plus more to top
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons sliced black olives, to garnish
- Smoked paprika
- Tortilla chips, to serve
- Rub the jalapenos lightly with oil and place on a baking sheet. Place the rack about 4″ from the heat source, put the baking sheet in the oven, and heat to a high broil. Broil until the skins have completely browned, about 15 minutes, turning often.
- Wrap the roasted jalapenos in foil and allow them to sit to steam. Gently peel off the skins and remove the stems and seeds. Add the roasted jalapenos, pinto beans, lime juice, garlic, cumin, cilantro, and 3 tablespoons olive oil to the food processor. Process and add salt to taste. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach a smooth and creamy consistency.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and top with cilantro leaves, sliced black olives, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Serve with tortilla chips.
With the 3 jalapenos, this dip may be too spicy for some. If you’re nervous about the heat level, start off with fewer jalapenos in the food processor and add more if you want more spiciness.
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