Friday, January 30, 2009

Hummus & Feta Veggie Bagel Sandwich: Bring Extra Napkins

As part of my new life plan to be as financially responsible as possible (when I'm not busy blowing my paychecks on exorbitantly priced meals out), I have recently taken to recreating my restaurant favorites at home. Sometimes I am successful and produce something like my version of the open-faced roasted asparagus sandwich from Zinc Cafe, and sometimes, I am not.

A couple weekends ago, I decided to attempt the hummus and feta veggie bagel sandwich I used to order all the time from Einstein Bros Bagels when I was living in Evanston, Illinois. (Yes, for college.) The bagel sandwich was my way of treating myself when I couldn't stomach yet another one of my grilled cheese or Whole Foods' cranberry tuna salad sandwiches. Today, the sandwich can be seen as my way of fighting nostalgia (and clearing out the fridge).

On the particular day when my recreation efforts were to take place, I was already in possession of four pivotal ingredients for the dish: 1/2 a can of chickpeas, lemon, a red pepper, and feta cheese. Not wanting to waste $3 on a tub of my favorite Tribe roasted sweet red pepper hummus, I endeavored to make my own from scratch loosely based on a recipe from one of my favorite sources of foodie inspiration, Esi at Dishing Up Delights. I changed things up quite a bit (omitting the parsley and paprika, and adding in roasted red peppers and garlic), but the results were still worthy of a spot on my amazing sesame seed bagel from the Bagel Broker.

After my hummus was ready, I sliced up some red onions (that I soaked in water so they'd lose some of their bite), a juicy vine-ripened tomato, and some zucchini and red pepper to roast in the oven. The process of procuring the aforementioned bagel, making my hummus, and preparing my veggies was altogether a bit exhausting, and by the time I sat down to enjoy my lunch, I was ready to start Googling the nearest Einstein Bros.

As I sank my teeth through the toasted top of my sesame bagel, I suddenly remembered why it was I used to eat this sandwich alone. It is really messy to eat. With my precious ingredients tumbling out onto my plate and all over my hands, I became incredibly frustrated. Even more infuriating was my suspicion that the best part of the whole darn thing was the tender, doughy bagel from the Bagel Broker. I ultimately ended up taking the sandwich a part and eating the top with just my splendid hummus topping and a liberal sprinkle of feta.

The following weekend, flush with a rapid craving for another Bagel Broker sesame seed special, I decided to be a little less practical about my lunch. I bought a tub of hummus, an over-priced cucumber and a tomato from Ralph's, toasted that fine bagel up, and then topped each half with a much simpler spread of the aforementioned ingredients. Everything stayed in place and I didn't have to resort to using more than one (err... three) napkins. Sometimes it's just more practical to be a lazy, wasteful bastard. Especially when it involves really good bagels.

Hummus & Feta Veggie Bagel Sandwich
(Inspired by version at Einstein Bros.)

1 Sesame Seed bagel
Feta cheese to taste
Sliced vine-ripened tomatoes
Zucchini, red pepper that have been roasted in oven until tender
Red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in water
Hummus (homemade recipe to follow)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
(Adapted from Dishing Up Delights)

1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 a red pepper, roasted until tender
1 clove garlic, roasted until tender
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processer. Pulse until smooth or reaches desired texture.


Esi said...

Looooooove Bagel Broker! The only good thing about my last job was that every Friday they used to bring in dozens and dozens of bagels from there and we would all go insane!

Alessandra said...

"Sometimes it's just more practical to be a lazy, wasteful bastard. Especially when it involves really good bagels."

Amen, Sister!

Heather said...

wow! that sounds so good. i love hummus and feta together - it's such a wonderful mediterranean combination!

Diana said...

Esi - Oh I so miss those days! There was always something yummy to nibble at my old job too - donuts, bagels, sweets from Joan's on Third, Sprinkles cupcakes... it was relentless!

Ali - Everything I know about bagels I learned from YOU. Okay, not really, but you are the reason I get sesame seed bagels and not lame whole wheat or plain.

Heather - Hummus and feta are the best! I could eat a big plate of that and pita and be a happy camper! :)

Nicole said...

Feta with hummus is a must!!!!

Jan said...

I love using up ingredients that I have on hand too. I may have to try your homemade hummus. The bagel sandwich looks so good! (it is worth the messy fingers.)

Erica said...

mmmmmmmmmm Sounds great. I haven't ever made homemade hummus and really want to give it a go. Once I have my blender/food processor/magic bullet back....I will be a hummus making lady ;) Have a good Monday

The Blonde Duck said...

Totally agree with you on the lazy part!

Diana said...

Erica - It's so easy and I loved being able to customize it to my own tastes. Can't wait to see/read about your homemade hummus! :)

Duckie - I find I have hills and valleys with laziness and ambitiousness. I'm either uber-sessed with making everything from scratch, or am raiding the freezer for something I can just pop in the oven!

Tokyoastrogirl said...

I love hummus in sandwiches too! It's a great way to use leftover veggies since hummus goes well with practically any veg. I love your healthy recipe ideas.

Martwork said...

As a fellow Northwestern alum and a recently displaced to L.A. Chicagoan--I feel your pain. And I love Potbelly's too! Did you know that Noah's Bagels out here are owned by the Einstein Bros. people?