Recipe 2. No Mayo Tuna Salad Wrap


Tuna Salad without Mayo

I don’t remember who suggested this to me, but it inspired the idea for using  olive oil in tuna salad instead of mayo.  Click this link for some interesting info.  I figure olive oil makes a healthier tuna salad than mayo,  even better than the light varieties, including the ones made of soy and whatnot.  Aside from the wholesome goodness extra virgin olive oil provides, it also adds no sodium.  My hypertension always keeps me looking for any way to cut sodium.

Ingredients

Preparation

Prepare the tuna salad first.  Open the can lid, squeeze the juice out of it by pressing the tuna with the lid into your sink or disposal, and place the tuna in a bowl.  Chop your scallion into small pieces and add it to the bowl.  Add the celery, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.  Stir to mix evenly, then pepper to your taste.  Cover the bowl, place it in the fridge, then allow to marinate for at least an hour.  Overnight makes for the best results.

Rinse, dry, and remove the stems from the 6 spinach leaves.  I recommend the smaller taco-sized whole wheat tortilla for better portion control, fewer calories, and less sodium.  Spread a bed of spinach leaves on your tortilla.  Take two tablespoons of tuna salad and place it in a thick line across the middle of the bed of spinach leaves to make it wrapping friendly.  Place 2 teaspoons of hummus on the tuna.  Click for my hummus recipe here.  I used spinach hummus in the wrap pictured below.

Tuna Salad Wrap, unrolled

Rolled Tuna Salad Wrap

To make spinach hummus, I follow the hummus recipe in the link above, I use 12 leaves of spinach, with stems removed, that I shred in the blender after mincing the garlic.  I also spike the hummus with 2 tablespoons of milled flaxseed, which is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3.  The very subtle flavor adds a nice touch.  The picture below shows how the spinach colors the hummus an appetizing bright green.

Spinach hummus in the blender.

After placing 2 teaspoons of hummus on the tuna, wrap it burrito style and enjoy!  The versatility of this recipe invites all sorts of creative variations.  Please leave comments with your ideas, and mention how it tastes if you tried one.

Recipe 1. Hummus a la Blender


A couple of years ago, a passion for trying new things with cooking ignited in me.  Despite doing it since childhood, the past few years became the most difficult in my lifetime of food preparation.  Hard lessons of trial and error taught me much about the art.  I learned making food by following the recipe verbatim lacks a guarantee of success.  Experience teaches the nuances of the culinary craft needed for making great food.  Becoming skilled simply requires cooking as much as possible.  If this blog was about nothing but recipes, I could save time and just post links. I plan to write each recipe as my personal account of its preparation.

Hummus a la Blender

Hummus a la Blender

Hummus tastes great as a dip for pita bread, pita chips, and spreads nicely on bagels, sandwiches, crackers, and just about anything you like.  Low in sodium and calories, the fats in it come mostly from the olive oil and tahini, which have plenty of the good kind of fat.  It tastes marvelous plain, but you can make different flavors of hummus by adding spices or other ingredients to the recipe.  Store brands classically use roasted garlic, jalapenos, roasted red pepper, spinach, Kalamata olives, pine nuts, and other things I probably forgot.  I tried a few of those ingredients and others like Huy Fong Foods’ sriracha sauce , cumin powder, dill pickles, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

I found this recipe on a website called Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  Many vegans and vegetarians eat hummus for its great flavor and nutrients vital for such diets.  I am not vegan nor vegetarian, but websites and books concerning those diets provide many healthy and tasty recipes.  One time I tried making hummus in a an old harvest gold-colored (YUCK!) blender but it broke in the attempt.  This time I made it in a new sleek black Osterizer blender, made for crushing ice, with no problems.  I normally use a cheap 2 cup food processor.  It works well, but the blender makes a larger quantity.  The blender also produces smoother hummus than the food processor.

Hypertensionenlarged heart, and other medical problems call for reducing my sodium intake where possible.  Making my own hummus rather than buying it prepared allows me to do that.  It also means avoiding the ridiculously inflated prices for prepared hummus.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chick peas (garbanzo beans) (or two cans chick peas, drained)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (or 4 tablespoons sesame seed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

You can find this at Kroger, but I don’t know about their other stores like Safeway.

Canned chick peas work well for convenience.  Unfortunately, the cheaper store brand chick peas contain high sodium.  However, Kroger offers organic chick peas in their Private Selection line with lower sodium than other brands.  They cost a little more than the store brand, but go for less than the major brands.

Cooking my own chickpeas saves money and adds no sodium at all.  I cook them in a slow cooker.  Click here for the recipe.  I do just about the same thing as the link, but I leave out the salt and add a couple of cloves of fresh, peeled garlic.

To mince the garlic with the blender, I add it first by throwing in the whole, peeled cloves and start with the lowest speed and progress slowly until the garlic becomes tiny bits.  Try mincing certain ingredients to make flavored hummus with the garlic, like chipotle peppers, Kalamata olives, and roasted red peppers, for even distribution.

After that, I mix any flavored hummus ingredients I don’t mince with the garlic , like spinach, artichoke hearts, etc., with the chickpeas in a separate dish, then put them in the blender.  Next comes tahini, followed by the olive oil and lemon juice.  A jar of tahini costs from $6-10.  The recipe calls for only two tablespoons, so it lasts.  I never made my own but I plan trying to make and write about it.

This brand adds no sodium. I found it in the “health food” section at Kroger.

Next, I turn on the blender to the lowest  speed and increase it slowly.  To deal with air pockets, I stop the blender and stir the mixture.  During this process, I add water a little at a time and DO NOT dump it all in at once.  I pour and stop often to check for texture.  Then I add salt and spices, tasting to adjust them as needed.  I finish when I find the texture and flavor satisfying.  Then I scoop it into a dish, cover it, and place it in the fridge to chill and marinate for at least an hour.  It keeps in the fridge for about a week.

Many recipes call for sprinkling ground sumac on hummus when serving it.  The dark red spice has a subtle but sour flavor and aroma.  Finding ground sumac in conventional stores proves difficult.  After some searching, I found it in the spice section at Whole Foods in Cleveland, OH.  Some recipes recommend drizzling extra virgin olive oil on hummus when served.

Find the canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Mexican food aisle.

At my friend Tammy’s request for the chipotle hummus recipe, I use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from a can.  These have no fat and low calories but have high sodium.  I recommend about 4-6 peppers depending on how spicy you want it.  I mince the peppers with the garlic to get an even distribution of each.

With so many possibilities for this tasty and healthy treat, Please comment and share your ideas for flavors, things to dip in hummus, and anything else creative.  R’amen!