1 cup dried red lentils (or 1 can garbanzos/chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste, available in speciality stores, health food stores, or sometimes in the Jewish food section of the grocery store) (use less with the lentils)
2 Tbsp olive oil (use less with the lentils)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
pinch or two of cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
salt to taste
If using the red lentils, cook until very soft. Drain of excess moisture and allow to cool.
Place the legumes in a food processor and pulse until pulverized. Add garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Combine in the food processor until smooth. You may need to add a bit of water or a bit of vegetable broth in order to acheive a smooth, creamy consistency. I usually add a bit of water. You will not need any extra liquid if using the red lentils. You only need some extra liquid when pureeing the larger, harder chickpea.
Place in a bowl or on a platter and chill. Before serving, drizzle with a little more olive oil and garnish with small, whole black olives. You can also sprinkle on a little paprika for color, or add some chopped parsley. Or both! Oh, the red lentil spread is so, so delicious!
For 8, as part of an appetizer selection