On the one hand, shelled green peas are a vibrant vegetable that brings freshness to the plate. But they also have a deeper, more substantial side, with beanlike qualities: a savory undertone, satisfying starchiness and rich protein content.
The accompanying recipe puts all the peas’ assets to work by whirring them into a rich, creamy hummus that is lighter in texture than a chickpea hummus, subtly sweet and gloriously green.
You make it by simply placing peas (boiled until tender if fresh, defrosted if frozen) into a food processor with lemon juice, olive oil, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, salt and a little water, and processing until smooth. You can serve the hummus in a pita sandwich or with vegetables for dipping as a fun, seasonal alternative to regular hummus.
This preparation goes a step further, making the spread into a sumptuous main course by using it as a bed for juicy chunks of lamb that can marinate for as little time as it takes to make the hummus (15 minutes). The meat is lean and quick-cooking, so it grills up in minutes, and that makes for an easy rush-hour dinner. Alternatively, you can make the hummus up to three days in advance and let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for up to eight hours, so the dish is also do-ahead friendly.
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Once together on the plate, the smooth pea hummus and chunks of lemon-garlic-infused, char-grilled lamb are showered with chopped fresh mint leaves and drizzled decadently with extra-virgin olive oil. Served with warm pita, the dish is a satisfying twist on a favorite spring trio of lamb, peas and mint.
Krieger’s newest cookbook is “You Have It Made: Delicious, Healthy, Do-Ahead Meals” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016). She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.
Pea Hummus With Grilled Marinated Lamb
From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds lean lamb tenderloin or leg meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound (3 cups) fresh shelled or frozen, thawed peas
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
In a medium bowl combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, half the garlic, the cumin, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Add the lamb and toss to combine. Let sit as you prepare the hummus, or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
To make the pea hummus, if using fresh peas, boil them until tender, 6 to 10 minutes; drain and allow to cool. Place the peas in a food processor with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the tahini, the remaining garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons water and puree until smooth. Hummus may be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Soak 12 wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes, and preheat a grill or grill pan over a medium-high heat. Thread 3 to 4 pieces of meat onto one end of each skewer then grill, turning once or twice, until the meat is cooked to medium-rare and grill marks have formed, about 6 minutes total.
To serve, spread about 1/3 cup of the pea hummus onto each plate, top with 2 lamb skewers garnish with mint and drizzle each plate with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining oil.
Serve with warm whole grain pita.
Per serving: 370 calories, 28 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 23 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar
Yield: 6 servings