Pimento Cheese-Style Hummus

Prep: 10 minutes Chill: 1 hour Soak: 2 hours

Serves:6

By Susan Voisen
For the uninitiated, pimento cheese is a common filling for sandwiches and spread for crackers in the Southern U.S. It’s made by grating various cheeses and mixing them with mayo (or cream cheese), seasonings, and pimentos–you know, those little red peppers stuffed into green olives. (Here in the South, at least, you can buy jars of pimentos in the same section of the grocery store as olives, but if they’re not available, you can substitute minced roasted red peppers, which I find actually have more flavor.) It’s the kind of old-fashioned Southern dish that always seems to show up at potlucks and picnics. I developed a fondness for it in college, where a deli container of the lumpy, orange spread and a loaf of bread were all I needed to get me through the penniless days before my work-study check came in.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, drained chickpeas, divided
  • 3 ounces silken tofu (1/4 package MoriNu brand)
  • 6 tbsp pimentos (about 4 ounces), drained well, divided
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (red) pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste (use less if chickpeas are salted)

Directions

Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover them with water. Allow them to soak at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Drain the cashews. Put half of them into the food processor along with half of the chickpeas, the silken tofu, 4 tablespoons pimentos, and all remaining ingredients. Process until it's as smooth as you can get it. Then add the remaining cashews and chickpeas and pulse about 10 times until chickpeas and cashews are broken but not completely smooth.

Check seasonings and add more red pepper and salt to taste. Transfer into a serving bowl and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of pimentos. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend.

For a soy-free option, try using a couple of tablespoons of almond or rice milk instead of the silken tofu.