Recipe Review

Here’s How to Turn Hummus into the Ultimate Family Dinner

published Aug 15, 2019
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Didn’t I Just Feed You is a candid weekly podcast about feeding families hosted by Stacie Billis and Kitchn’s Associate Food Editor, Meghan Splawn. Each month, Meghan brings the best of Didn’t I Just Feed You to Kitchn with practical takeaways for parents who want to make family meals easier, more fun, or just a little more delicious.

Let me tell you about the best family meal you aren’t making yet: the hummus bowl. That’s right — they’re not just for young urban wellness influencers! Hummus bowls hit all the high points of family dinner: They can use up leftovers, be no-cook if needed, and are easily and widely customizable. Plus, they use a basic fridge staple — hummus — that you’ve probably only been using for snacking up to this point.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Here’s How to Turn Hummus into a Legit Family Dinner

This episode of Didn’t I Just Feed You was actually inspired by the rise of trendy fast-casual restaurants serving hummus bowls to busy urbanites at lunch. The idea made so much sense — make a healthy meal out of snackable food — that my colleague at Kitchn, Sheela Prakash, put together a collection of snapshot hummus bowls to make at home.

That’s when I realized they would work well for families, too — for the same reason taco nights are so popular. You can build one large hummus bowl and serve up all the toppings in one fell swoop, or you can set out the ingredients and let everyone build their own bowl. For younger kids, you can even build plates of individual components rather than a layered bowl.

The key to making hummus bowls an easy family dinner is to focus on assembly rather than cooking or making the components. That includes the hummus itself. Save your favorite homemade hummus for your book club friends who will actually appreciate it, and just pick up a couple of the big tubs from your favorite store.

Next, both Stacie and I like to add a protein. This can be crispy or canned chickpeas, rotisserie chicken, or even leftover taco meat. Hard-boiled eggs are perfectly happy on a hummus bowl too. This part of the bowl can be served up warm or cold, which adds contrast to the finished bowl — and there’s no shame in just microwaving those leftovers either!

Pick two to three vegetables. Three seems to be the perfect number for my family, because I can include one I love, like leftover grilled eggplant, and my kids still get two vegetables to choose from. (Someday they’ll love eggplant. Someday.) A few ideas: shredded carrots, sliced cucumber, baby tomatoes, shredded lettuce or cabbage, or quickly heated frozen green beans, peas, or corn.

For the last component, I like to add a wildcard! This is a bit of a bold flavor that ties it all together. It can be cheese, pickles, a drizzle of yogurt, or a sprinkle of everything bagel spice. Fresh herbs like thyme or basil can also be really nice, if you’ve got them.

A last word of advice: If you serve hummus bowls with chips or pita bread, then you can also say you’re serving dip for dinner. My kids love that.