Rich, creamy, smooth & silky - hummus is a beloved classic. This nutty, slightly tangy, slightly garlicky, absolutely divine chickpea dip is most often paired with warm pita bread or fresh veggies for dipping, but it's also great slathered on burgers, sandwiches, wraps, toast, baked potatoes, or just eaten with a spoon as a side dish. It's quick and easy to make at home in minutes and tastes so much better than storebought! (Skip to recipe.)
Everyone needs a good basic hummus recipe - one that can be whipped up quickly and tastes fantastic. A great hummus has just the right amount of nuttiness and tang. This popular Middle Eastern chickpea dip is a staple for appetizers, lunchboxes, picnics, or snacking. The bonus is that it's loaded with good things, like all the protein and fiber from the beans and tahini (roasted sesame seed paste), the anti-inflammatory protection of the olive oil, plus many vitamins and minerals. You can feel good about slathering this spread liberally on everything (just make sure the dog moves out of the way quickly enough, so he doesn't get a smear, too!)
Hummus is now widely available in grocery stores, but why not make your own? It's quick and easy and you know the quality of the ingredients in it. It takes just minutes to whiz it all in a food processor or blender. There are many different tips and tricks out there to getting a good hummus, but I have found that the secret to fantastically creamy hummus is to use a high speed blender, or if using a food processor, to whip it for a long time - longer than you'd think. I love using my Vitamix to make a super-smooth, creamy hummus in just minutes. No need to do any peeling of the chickpea skins, as some sources suggest - the blender whizzes them into smooth submission.
You can use canned chickpeas or cook your own (make sure they are cooked very soft for the smoothest hummus). I like using the liquid from the canned or cooked chickpeas for extra flavour and nutrition.
The other tip for a really great hummus is to use the best quality ingredients. Whether using cooked or canned chickpeas doesn't really make much difference in flavour, I find, but using a good quality extra virgin olive oil (first cold pressing, if possible), makes a noticeable difference, and using a generous amount really helps increase the creaminess of the dip. Using a good quality organic tahini is also important. Tahini is made from toasted sesame seeds and is naturally very nutty and slightly, pleasantly bitter. However, a poor quality tahini can be overly bitter, and as with any nut or seed butter, it can go rancid if too old, so make sure yours is fresh and of top quality. Fresh lemon juice is also much preferable to bottled lemon juice for its vibrant flavour and living enzymes, and please use fresh garlic. I find one large clove of garlic is just right for our tastes, but feel free to add more if you like. The small amounts of cumin and cayenne in the recipe are not specifically noticeable, but add a subtle complexity that I love, and a touch of salt finishes it off.
There are as many variations for the ratios of the ingredients in hummus as there are Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooks, and you'll have to experiment until you come up with the exact right flavour profile that you love. This is a really good basic recipe for the hummus that I always make (it never lasts long in our house). If you use it as a starting point you can adjust ingredients to how you like them - maybe a bit more lemony, or garlicky, or different amounts of salt or spice, or maybe this smooth and creamy hummus will be just as much to your taste as it is to ours.
You can also customize a bowl of hummus with all sorts of add-ins if you wish. For yummy flavour excitement:
- use a few cloves of roasted garlic instead of fresh garlic
- top your hummus with caramelized onions
- or diced roasted red peppers
- stir in a few spoonfuls of pesto
- add toasted pine nuts
- or other chopped toasted nuts of your choice
- stir in a handful of chopped fresh herbs
- or chopped black olives
- or sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- or chopped, marinated artichoke hearts
- make it spicy with cayenne or chili flakes
- top it with spicy roasted chickpeas
- purée it with some cooked red beet and top with chopped dill and crumbled feta cheese
Or make the golden beet hummus or green pea version we love, too
Hummus is the workhorse of the appetizer/dip/spread world. This nutritious and filling spread is equally at home with a plate of crisp veggies, crackers, or pita chips to dip into it, or slathered onto a sandwich, wrap, or burger, dolloped onto a baked potato with some sauteed veggies and balsamic drizzle, stuffed inside a pita bread with veggies, or used as a base for spiced meat and vegetables. You can even thin it with a bit of extra lemon juice, oil, and water to make a delicious salad dressing.
*To cook chickpeas in the Instant Pot; put 1 lb (454gms/about 2¼ cups) of dried, unsoaked chickpeas into the instant pot. Add 6 cups of water. Seal the lid, press ‘Manual’ and set the timer to 50 minutes. Let the chickpeas cook, then allow the pressure to release naturally once the cooking time is up. Cool the chickpeas in the water if you have time (to prevent skins splitting), and then drain. Makes about 6 cups cooked chickpeas. The remainder can be frozen for up to 3 months.
You can feel good about this kind of healthy snacking.
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: Canned beans come in both 14 oz. (400ml) and 19 oz. (540ml) sizes. This recipe is geared to the larger 19 oz. size. If using a smaller 14 oz. sized can, you will need to reduce the amounts of the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
If using cooked chickpeas, make sure they are very soft; cook them longer than usual.
Really Good Basic Hummus Recipe
- 1 can (19 oz/540gms) chickpeas/garbanzo beans or 2 cups (480ml) cooked chickpeas, drained (save liquid from the can or from cooking)
- ¼ cup (60ml) cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup (60ml) tahini (good quality, organic)
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) fresh lemon juice (~1 lemon)
- 3 tablespoons liquid from canned beans, bean cooking liquid, or water (plus more if needed)
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (plus more to taste if using cooked beans or unsalted canned beans)
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- to garnish: a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of cayenne, sumac, or paprika, plus chopped parsley or toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts, if desired
Put all ingredients (except garnish) into a high-speed blender canister or food processor. (A high speed blender makes the smoothest hummus.)
If using a high-speed blender, start on the slowest speed and gradually increase the speed as the chickpeas are mostly puréed. Purée until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides in between. Add another tablespoon or two of bean liquid or water if the hummus is too thick. You should be able to just get it to blend easily without having to use the tamper. You will only need to blend it for a minute or a bit more. As soon as the hummus gets a bit warm and is smooth and silky looking, it is done.
If using a food processor, whiz it until the beans are chunky smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides. Now, blend it some more. Blend it for longer than you think. Blend it for 3 to 4 full minutes in the food processor to make a fluffy, smooth hummus. Drizzle in another tablespoon or two of bean liquid (or water) if it is too thick.
Whichever method you use, taste and add more salt or lemon if you feel it needs it. Leave the hummus to mellow and meld flavours for a half hour before serving it.
To serve it, spoon the hummus into a bowl and makes some swirls in the top, with ridges to catch the oil. Sprinkle lightly with sumac (nice and tangy), paprika, or cayenne pepper. Drizzle with a glug of olive oil, and add a bit of chopped parsley or pine nuts, if using.
Hummus will keep, in a sealed container, in the fridge for up to a week.
Makes about 2½ cups.
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