by Renu Chhabra
Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.–Albert Einstein
In spring, I look forward to visiting farmers markets and produce stands. Spring vegetables are piled high in abundance everywhere — fresh, clean and inviting. Slender stalks of asparagus, colorful varieties of artichokes, vibrant radishes, and tender leaves of greens are just a few to name. In fact, produce speaks for itself. Just simple preparation and a few good ingredients are all it takes to make it shine.
Keeping simplicity in mind, I made this sandwich with fresh vegetables and mint hummus. The hummus packed with flavor and freshness of mint was good enough to complement the vegetables. Even though authentic hummus is not combined with any additional vegetables, the American version contains several of them: roasted eggplant, red pepper, sun dried tomato, and more. I decided to incorporate some mint to the original version to add a refreshing element to it. Another reason for this minty addition was my new herb pot from farmers market. Sitting at my kitchen window, it was gazing at me as if it wanted to remind me of its presence. And I couldn’t ignore the fragrant mint leaves, calling out for my attention. Adding them to the hummus gave it a light touch of color and a subtle minty hint.
Hummus is a good accompaniment to crudités such as cucumber, radish, celery, carrot, and more. My farmers market finds fit perfectly to combine them between two slices of whole grain bread. Persian cucumber and tender radish layered on the mint hummus, and topped with some crisp herb salad finished the sandwich — a perfect healthy bite.
Persian Cucumber: A Tender Crunch
Persian cucumbers come from the gourd family, and have a very smooth, thin skin compared to regular garden cucumbers. They are basically seedless and measure 4-6 inches in length. Even though they are available all year long, it is a spring-summer variety. They have the perfect texture and taste sweet. These days they are visible more in supermarkets and farm stands as their popularity has grown. At the moment, they are in stores in large quantities — greeting spring.
These slender cucumbers are ideal for pickling as they absorb the flavors very quickly. They are excellent for salads and salsas or as a healthy nibble. And they pair well with mint, parsley, cumin, and citrus. Use them in yogurt as cooling agents with spicy dishes. They are a welcome treat for any meal. I can’t have enough of them in salads, sandwiches, yogurt or just as a snack.
Recipe1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic
15-20 leaves of mint
Juice of a large lemon or to taste
2 tablespoon tahini
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced thin
2 radishes, sliced thin
Ground cumin or sumac (optional) A handful of herb salad or any greens of your choice
4 slices of whole wheat bread
- Put first six ingredients for hummus in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Slowly pour olive oil in while machine is running. Add a little water, if it is too grainy.
- Adjust salt and lemon to taste. Set aside. This recipe is more than you will use for two sandwiches.
- Slather a generous amount of hummus on each slice of bread.
- Arrange cucumber and radish on two slices. Sprinkle salt and a pinch of sumac or cumin.
- Toss greens with a slight drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste.
- Arrange it on the vegetables.
- Cover with the remaining two slices of bread.
Store leftover hummus in the fridge, and enjoy with pita, crudités, toasted bread, or in a wrap.
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