Easy, healthy, genius flavor boost.

You can make hummus in less than 10 minutes and feel good about serving this healthy chickpea-based dish.  Canned chickpeas are a great pantry staple and make hummus an option any time.  It stays fresh in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to four days.  Hummus has smart carbs which are slow to digest, making you feel full – longer.  Hummus is high in protein and fiber and low in fat.  It has B6, manganese and other dietary nutrients.  It has a little sugar from the tahini, but not much.  Need more inspiration?  Hummus was the Bon Appetit 2015 ‘Dish of the Year’.

Classic hummus is a savory mash of cooked chickpeas, associated with Middle Eastern and Greek food (although it is not well known in Greece), and it is a staple of vegan meals.  In addition to chickpeas, most hummus includes tahini, lemon juice and garlic.  It can be a dip for pita bread or vegetables, a spread for sandwiches and the basis of a hummus bowl meal.  It is served at room temperature

Even with all of its health advantages, hummus can be a divisive food.  For some, it is a feel-good, healthy flavor boost and for others, it is forever associated with hippies, ‘judgy’ vegans, sprouts, and mild deprivation.  The answer is to serve really good hummus.

You can buy hummus at most grocery stores but take the ten minutes to make it and enjoy the appeal of the variations and personalization.  From garlic and white beans to roasted red pepper and fava beans, to pine-nuts, cumin, paprika and za’atar– hummus is not boring.  Here are some choices.

Most classic hummus recipes are similar – here is a recipe I combined from a number that I’ve found.

Classic Hummus

Ingredients:

1 15½-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained or 1.5 cups of cooked chickpeas

(Note: Garbanzo Beans are the same as chickpeas, Garbanzo is the Spanish name.)

¼ Cup of lemon juice

1 garlic clove, chopped

½ cup tahini, well mixed (Tahini is made of sesame seeds)

¾ tsp. (or more) kosher salt

10 cranks of freshly ground black pepper

¼ to ½ tsp. ground cumin

      • extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Paprika, red pepper flakes, parsley, Za’atar and/or sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions:

Step 1 – Prep ingredients

    1. Canned chickpeas – Drain 15½ oz. chickpeas in a strainer or colander and rinse thoroughly. Let drain again while you do the other prep, or

Tip: Boil canned or leftover cooked chickpeas are improved by adding ½ tsp baking soda to water and soaking for twenty minutes to get peas with just the right soft texture.

    1. Dry chickpeas – Place the chickpeas in a medium saucepan and add ½ tsp of baking soda. Cover the chickpeas with several inches of water, then bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling, reducing heat if necessary to prevent overflow, for about 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas look bloated, their skins are falling off, and they’re quite soft. Drain the chickpeas and run cold water over them until cool.

Step 2

Prepare 3–4 Tbsp. of lemon juice

Step 3

Smash 1 garlic clove with the flat side of your knife on a cutting board and remove peel. Continue to mash with side of knife until a paste forms.

Step 4

Combine chickpeas3 Tbsp. lemon juicegarlic½ cup tahini¾ tsp. salt10 cracks pepper¼ tsp. cumin, and 2 Tbsp. water in a food processor.

Step 5

Process until smooth, about 1 minute.

Step 6

With the motor running, stream in 3 Tbsp. oil, then continue to process until hummus is very light and creamy, about 1 minute longer. Taste and season with more salt, if needed.

Step 7

Transfer hummus to a shallow bowl, top with za’atar and/or sesame seeds, and drizzle with more oil.

Cookie and Kate offer tips to improve upon even the best classic hummus.

    1. Use great Tahini.

(ASE note – I have seen the following tahinis recommended:  Trader Joe’s Organic Tahini, Cedar’s, Seed and Mill and Soom.)

    1. Use 1/2 cup tahini per can of chickpeas for rich and irresistible hummus.
    2. Mix ice-cold water with tahini. It seems to help make the hummus light and fluffy and lightens the color of the tahini to a pale ivory color.
    3. Mince the garlic in the food processor or blender with the lemon juice and let that mixture rest for a few minutes, the garlic will lose its harsh, raw bite and mellow out.

 

Here are Cookie and Kate’s ideas of variations on basic hummus.  Add any of the following in with the chickpeas.

Inspirations for more variations from Love and Lemons:

  • Spice it up! 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and/or coriander adds an extra layer of flavor.
  • Add roasted red peppers. For a nutty, romesco-style dip, blend in 1 roasted red pepper, 1/4 cup toasted almonds, and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika.
  • Blend in pesto. Add spoonfuls of pesto, to taste, to make an extra-lemony, herbaceous dip.
  • Go green. Blend in 1/2 cup fresh parsley, cilantro, or basil, or up to 1 cup spinach.
  • Turn it pink! Find my beet hummus recipe here.
  • Make it sweet & smoky. Add 1/2 baked sweet potato, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, a big pinch of chili powder, and more water as needed, to the blender along with the other hummus ingredients.
  • Give it an autumn harvest twist. Add cumin, coriander, cayenne, and roasted butternut squash to the traditional dip for a delicious autumn variation! Find the full recipe here.

Beyond chickpeas

White Bean Hummus

Joe’s Hummus with Pine Nuts

Fava Bean Dip, Very Similar to Hummus, Martha Stewart

Cauliflower Hummus

Sweet Potato Hummus

Zucchini Hummus

Avocado Hummus

Cilantro and Lemon Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce can of garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba, liquid from the canned garbanzos
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, finely chopped

Steps to Make It

  1. Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from the can.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3 to 5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
  3. Place in a serving bowl and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Add a small amount (1 to 2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well.
  4. Garnish with extra cilantro (optional). Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.

Hummus from the grocery store.  There are times when even ten minutes is too much to commit to cooking.  Here are some recommended ‘store-bought’ hummus choices.

All Recipes

Best Overall: Ithaca Fresh Lemon Garlic Hummus 
Runner-Up: Sabra Classic HummusCedar’s Organic Original Hommus
Best Topped Hummus: Private Selection Traditional HummusPrivate Selection Mediterranean Hummus
Best Naked Hummus: Lilly’s Classic Hummus
Best Organic Hummus: Boar’s Head Simplicity Organic Hummus
Best Garlicky Hummus: Hope Foods Original Hummus
Best Citrusy Hummus:  CAVA Traditional Hummus
Best Spicy Hummus: Fresh Nature Jalapeño Hummus
Best Low-Sodium Hummus: Boar’s Head Traditional Hummus
Best Budget Hummus: Whole Foods Original Hummus

Delish

Roots Hummus, Original

This flavorful hummus uses light, low-cholesterol safflower oil instead of the typical canola oil you’ll find in most store-brand hummuses. The original version comes seasoned with cumin, black pepper, and tamari.

Cedar’s

Sets itself apart with its ultra-creamy texture and distinctive tahini taste.

Epicurious

Tribe Classic Hummus

Cedar’s Organic Original Hommus is more lemony than Tribe, and a bit earthier, too (and also, yes, it’s spelled with an “o”).

Hummus is useful for more than a dip for crudité and pita and a spread for sandwiches.  Try diluting the hummus with olive oil and using it as a garlicky salad dressing.  Most of us think of hummus as a dip or a sandwich spread, but it is also the base for a bright, fresh hummus bowl.  Think ‘Buddha Bowl’ with a creamy, garlicky base.

Mediterranean Hummus Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1/2 cup cubed, roasted eggplant
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 soft-boiled egg, halved
  • 1/4 cup tabbouleh salad
  • Instructions – Spread the hummus in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Top with the eggplant, chickpeas, egg, and tabbouleh salad.

Quick Hummus Bowls

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup hummus
  • 8 English cucumber slices (or standard cucumber, peeled)
  • 1 handful of red onion slices (or shallot)
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 handful of Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese, to sprinkle (optional or use vegan feta for vegan)
  • 1 handful of baby greens or chopped lettuce (optional)
  • ½ cup cooked rice or packaged pre-cooked rice (optional) or Couscous
  • 1 pita bread, pita chips, or gluten-free crackers
  • Optional toppings: Jarred Calabrian chilis or roasted red peppers, caper berries, fresh herbs, falafel, etc.

Instructions

  1. Place greens and rice in the bowl, if using (try packaged pre-cooked rice for a quick shortcut). If using rice, season it with salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Top with hummus, sliced cucumber, sliced red onions, sliced tomatoes, olives and feta cheese. Eat with pita wedges, using the hummus as a dip/dressing for the veggies.

For spice inspiration, check out this ASE article.