Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fast and Delicious Hummus Recipe

I lived four summers in Jerusalem as part of my graduate work, which means that to date I have probably personally consumed 10-20 gallons of hummus.  Maybe more!  In the Middle East, hummus is a staple of life, to the extent that there are dozens of jokes and idioms centered around hummus.

Aside from being delicious, hummus is full of fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.  Plenty of garlic and lemon and you have a veritable superfood!

I have dined in many a Jewish or Palestinian home and partaken of exquisite homemade hummus.  The result is that I just can't be satisfied by anything store-bought here in the states.  (Especially when you look at that ingredient list and see a mass of items that do not contribute to the texture, taste, or nutrition of the hummus.)

I have finally found a recipe that I love, and it's the easiest one I've ever tried too!  Once the beans are soaked and cooked, which only takes about 5 active minutes, it only takes 5 minutes to throw it all together!  Thanks to Kitchen Stewardship for posting the original recipe.  Here it is with my own modifications and notes, including details of soaking.

1. Soak the Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas)

I get Organic Garbanzo Beans in bulk from Azure Standard.
To eliminate anti-nutrients that interfere with proper digestion (ahem...and in the case of beans that come with uncomfortable consequences), soak the beans overnight before making your hummus.  It's so easy!  For this recipe, soak 1.5 cups of uncooked beans --- which will yield about 3 cooked cups.  Cover with warm water and 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice.  Let sit overnight (on the counter is fine).  Soak 12-24 hours.

Beans will almost double in size during soaking.

2. Cook the Garbanzo Beans

Start early!  This can take a few hours, though it goes faster if you have soaked the beans beforehand.  My batch yesterday took 3 hours, but plan for up to 6.

Sorry for the blurry photo.  These are fully cooked garbanzo beans.  You can see how they have split open.
To cook, cover with water (about 2 cups per cup of beans) and add some salt.  Bring to a boil and skim.  Then return to heat and simmer, covered, for 3-6 hours until soft.

I often soak and cook a double batch to have beans on hand for other projects... or for more hummus.  They will last a week in the fridge.  You can also freeze them.

3. Gather the following ingredients

Delicious Tahini (sesame seed butter).  You will need 1/2 cup.
1/3 cup EVOO

3-4 cloves garlic (or if they are small, or if you are like me, 5-6)

Three, count them, three lemons.  (I used all mine up yesterday making... hummus).  I like lemony hummus, but you could probably do just as well with 2.
1.5-2 tsp Sea salt, 2 tsp cumin, a dash of cayenne, and I use a bit of fresh ground black pepper too.  Paprika or Cayenne for garnish.

4. Blend

Combine all of the above ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth!  That's:

  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • Juice of 3 Lemons
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4ish cloves Garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1.5-2 tsp Sea Salt
  •  2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • Dash Cayenne Pepper (or to taste, or leave it out)
  • Dash fresh ground Black Pepper (ditto)

I crush the garlic into the mix so I don't need to rely on the blender for it.  (Plus, crushing the garlic rather than chopping it breaks the cell walls to release the antibacterial Allicin.)

Actually, I don't use a blender.  Because I am blessed to own a hand blender (also called immersion blender).  Oh I love this kitchen tool.  It cuts dishes-time in half because I can blend right in the serving dish!  If you don't have one, I promise you won't regret the (very reasonable) investment.

So, I combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Then blend until smooth. 

Add half the beans and blend again until smooth.

Add the rest of the beans and blend until smooth.

Add water carefully during the bean-blending process as necessary.  The original recipe calls for 1/3-2/3 cup water from the get-go, but I have found that makes it too runny.  I do add probably 1/3-1/2 cup by the end each time.

Garnish with a few unblended cooked chickpeas, with cilantro, with roasted peppers or tomatoes, and/or with a bit of cayenne or paprika.  Or leave it plain and dig in!

5. Oh my, enjoy

While you are blending hummus, set your husband or kids to work chopping carrots, celery, cucumbers, and bell peppers for dipping!  Way yummier than pita.

So, I made a beautiful batch yesterday, but forgot to take a picture of my final product.  Until after we had already ravaged it.  So here instead is a montage of others' hummus pictures to get your mouth watering.  (Well, the first one is mine).

Oh yum



  1. Let's make some more to relieve my watering mouth!

    Hummus is so easy to vary depending on what flavor you want. Based on your experience in the Middle East, is your recipe here the typical? Or do they also vary a bit?

    I will link this into my real food snacks post. Great tutorial.

  2. This is a very typical recipe... what you'll find at almost every meal. There are some other varieties, but this is a good base recipe for those. (From here you could add some blended roasted red pepper, or even blended steamed greens, etc.) You can also spice it up more! Using different garnishes can change the flavor, since they end up as mix-ins --- roasted pepper or tomato, pine nuts, parsley or cilantro,etc.

  3. I like mine lemony too... mmm... I also like chipotle mixed in, not exactly traditional, but tasty!

    1. I love chipotle!! Good idea for hummus add in.

  4. Just made this, so so tasty. I always thought I didn't like hummus that much, just turns out I don't like the supermarket hummus.