Hummus

Hummus, chunky style.
Scratch-made Hummus. Choose from ultra-smooth to the ultra-chunky version pictured here.

Hummus is one of those dishes I used to pick up pre-made. I never really gave its origins much thought, surmising it was of Middle-Eastern or Mediterranean derivation. It turns out that, similar to spatchcocking, hummus has several claims to its origin. Turks, Lebanese, and Syrians claim it. It’s claimed to come from Northern India or Nepal. Some claim it is a Jewish food mentioned in the Bible. It’s claimed to have Palestinian heritage, too … and that has led to legal arguments. Still others point to the oldest printed version of the recipe … in a 13th century Egyptian cookbook. Hummus is even the main character in a movie, appropriately titled Hummus, the Movie! We may never know the full story behind hummus, just as we can’t know the full history of humanity … but we know what we like—and we like hummus. 

Hummus has been on my “make this” list for some time. After tasting fresh made, I’m not sure I’ll go back to store bought, even with the work involved. I wish I’d made this years ago. It’s lovely. It would be lovelier if I had better equipment to make it … more on that later.

Dear, sweet husband has been on the receiving end of many different foods I’ve made, but for some reason he was truly amazed that I made this hummus and that it tasted so good. Two bites in he was trying to walk out the door to buy pitas and all the fixings for a full meal. Four bites in and he was ready to invite his daughters over. 

There are many recipes for hummus out there, and plenty that include store-bought tahini, chickpeas, or both. If you don’t have time, certainly use those methods. But it’s worth taking time to prepare from scratch. I started the evening before by soaking chickpeas for a couple of hours and pressure cooking them in my Instant Pot for 20 minutes. They were so soft and delicious I had to set aside a few to eat before placing them in a container in the refrigerator. Good thing I made more than I needed for the recipe. 

The next day, I blocked off an hour and got to work and toasted sesame seeds. While they cooled I drained and rinsed the peas, and prepped the hummus ingredients in a bowl. Then I made the tahini. You’ll want to use fresh sesame seeds. I don’t have the world’s best blender or food processor, so I started by mashing them with my molcajete (mortar and pestle). Then I added oil and ran them through my tiny food processor until smooth. From there, I mixed the tahini and the rest of the ingredients together and blended until smooth. I’ve tried this thicker and smoother, and I prefer the smoother version, but it’s really a matter of preference as to feel in the mouth. The taste is the same. 

Some elements of food prep would be quicker and easier with a high quality food processor. I’m fairly certain making hummus in such a device would make my life happier, because I’d make hummus more often.

Loved the world over, this low-sodium, gluten-free, vegan dish is at home in different cuisines. It’s flexible and can be served in many dining situations. I especially like it as an afternoon snack or as part of an appetizers-for-dinner night. Does anyone else out there like to do appetizers for dinner?

Ingredients

For tahini: 

1/2 C sesame seeds

1-2 TBSP grapeseed oil

For hummus:

1/3 C tahini

2-3 cloves garlic, mashed

3 C chickpeas

3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP water

1 lemon

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cumin

Optional:

Olive oil

Red pepper flakes

Paprika

Basil leaves, finely chopped

Lemon zest

Directions

For tahini:

Heat pan to medium and add sesame seeds. Stir often and toast lightly. 

Remove from heat and cool.

Mash seeds by hand in a mortar and pestle or process in a blender or food processor. 

Add oil and stir. If needed, add more oil to reach the desired consistency. 

Hummus at a glance.
Hummus at a glance.

For hummus:

Soak and cook chickpeas or use canned. (Instant Pot works well.)

Drain and rinse peas. If desired, remove skins that have fallen off of peas. (If you like smooth and creamy hummus, this extra step seems to make the hummus smoother.)

Mash garlic. 

Juice lemon.

Place chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, water and seasonings in food processor or blender. Add tahini. Blend until smooth.

TIP: If the hummus is too thick after blending, add a little more water. 

Place in serving bowl(s) and top with garnish if desired.

Serving Suggestions

Hummus is great as a snack, as part of a meal, or as part of an hors d’oeuvres spread. Serve with fresh vegetables or toasted pita to dip, spread on toast, or enjoy on its own. 

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