Healthy hummus. It usually doesn’t rate high on the excitement level for me. Oh sure, I buy it quite often for a healthy snack for dipping raw vegetables, and I like it just fine. On a couple rare occasions I’ve drug out the food processor and made my own. But a recent visit to Ya Ya’s restaurant and found me grabbing for canned chickpeas the next time I was at the store.
Ya Ya’s Euro Bistro is located in the heart of the Denver Tech Center, a large business complex on the south side of Denver. DTC, as it is commonly called, is also dotted with upscale housing and restaurants.
Ya Ya’s is one of those restaurants and it’s a wildly popular dining destination. Chic decor, a cozy and lively atmosphere, fresh tastes and artistic presentation, the food is a culinary experience and the service is great. It’s an over the top appropriate place to entertain a client for lunch, celebrate a birthday, and with a Wine Spectator accredited wine list, a sought after selection for a special dinner.
They’ve created an oasis for their patio area, which overlooks a pond where you can relax to the sound of a soothing 20-foot water feature. Lined with trees and bushes, you hardly notice you’re surrounded by office buildings.
A couple of weeks ago, I invited a client to join me at Ya Ya’s for lunch. For an appetizer we ordered Ya Ya’s Famous Grilled Pita and Hummus. I loved it so much I wanted to try and recreate it at home. They’ve taken a hummus recipe and from what I could tell, simply folded in some feta, chile oil and dotted it with Kalameta olives. Served with warm and soft pita wedges that have a crunch here and there from a toss on the grill, this was really a treat. Just start with your favorite tub of hummus from the grocery store or make your own. I like Ina Garten’s recipe below. Simple and easy to follow.
I’m sure Ya Ya’s makes their own pitas. The package I purchased at the grocery store just didn’t measure up. A little dry, a little “cardboardish”. Next time I make this I’ll stop by Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill here in Highlands Ranch and buy a package of their thick spongy pitas.
Even with the sub-par pitas, this was a great appetizer. Here’s what I came up with:
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ⅓ cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
- 1 t. olive oil
- ½ C. Feta Cheese
- ¼ C. assorted Kalameta Olives
- 1 T. chile oil
- Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients (through olive oil) to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning.
- Pour mixture into a bowl and fold in Feta cheese, chile oil and olives. Top with additional feta and olives. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to three days in the fridge. Serve with warm or grilled pita wedges.
Ya Ya’s Grilled Pita and Hummus…It’s What’s for an Appetizer.