You know those unconventional food combinations from your childhood that, even now, you suddenly crave on occasion?
I can think of a few myself: pakoras and ketchup, sugar roti’s, corn and cheese sandwiches, sugar and yogurt with rice.
One recipe from my youth that has stood the test of time thanks to its healthy-ish yet satisfying vibes is my mom’s sourdough with hummus and sautéed carrots. She says she didn’t invent it, but I give her all the credit. Apparently, she spotted something similar in a food magazine back in the early 2000’s, and tried out a batch for our after school snack one day. After rave reviews from me and my brother, it was added to our weekly rotation.
I can remember standing over the pan of sautéed carrots with my brother, trying to determine how many slices we could get out of the caramelized goodness in the pan, both racing to see who could eat theirs faster and snag the last piece of toast. Ah, simpler times.
The other day, as I stared down a sad bag of carrots in my fridge while trying to scrounge up something for dinner, I remembered these toasts. As I sautéed thin slices of garlic in olive oil, tossed the carrots, and lathered hummus over a charred slice of sourdough, the genius of this combination come back to me.
This recipe proves, once again, that the simplest things taste the best. As usual, my philosophy for recipes that lean on just a handful of ingredients is to go for quality. Use really great, crusty sourdough as your base and char to impart more flavor. Use your absolute favorite hummus. I definitely like a really garlicky hummus here to play off the garlic in the carrot mix. Bonus points if you use homemade! I lean heavier now on the red pepper flakes than I did when I was younger, but if you prefer less heat, just add a small pinch.
The most important thing is to fresh grate your carrots. Yes it’s annoying. Yes carrot shreds get everywhere. But it is the one piece of effort I am asking you for in this recipe. Trust me, I’ve tried it with pre-grated carrots: the texture is just not there. So please, fresh grate your carrots.
There’s just something special about this flavor combination. A slight char and crunch from the bread, the garlic and creaminess from the hummus, and then this slightly sweet and spicy flavor from the carrots is just almost too perfect.
There’s really no need to get fancy with any extra toppings. I’ve occasionally added a splash of lemon juice or some shreds of basil, but I personally don’t think these toasts need them. I loved these as a kid, and I love them just as much now.
Make a batch for yourself or your kids for their afternoon meal, and I promise I won’t tell if you try and sneak and extra toast for yourself!