MAKE-YOUR-OWN HUMMUS

Hummus has become almost ubiquitous on the American food scene in the last few years—and I think this is a good thing. I love hummus; it’s delicious, good for you, and pretty much everybody likes it. It can even motivate finicky kids to voluntarily eat carrot and celery spears (as vehicles for dipping, of course). Unfortunately, ubiquity often leads to mediocrity and such, I find, is the case for poor hummus.

Too many pre-made versions are slimy and unappetizingly pasty; even the stuff that comes out of some restaurant kitchens is seasoned with such a tame hand as to induce yawning. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Now, great people of the internet, is the time for change.

chickpea goodness

If you own a food processor or a blender, out-of-this-world hummus is within your grasp. All it takes is a few (cheap) ingredients and the willingness to taste-test until you get the seasonings the way you like. Hummus is the perfect dinner-party staple because you can make it wayyyyyy ahead of time and, should you make it from scratch, you will impress the heck out of all of your guests.  I like to make a big batch and take it to work on Monday and eat my way through it all week.

A note about fussiness: you can (and should) make this recipe with canned chickpeas—it will still taste MUCH better than the store-bought variety and can literally be done in minutes. However, this is one place where high-maintenance-foodery does prevail. Starting with dried chickpeas instead of canned will take you to a new level of hummus enjoyment. If you’re up for giving dried chickpeas a whirl (added broken economy bonus = they’re even cheaper than the canned stuff!), please do; I promise it will be worth it.

HUMMUS…MAKE THAT REALLY, REALLY GOOD HUMMUS

special equipment: Cuisinart or other food processor, blender (only the heavy-duty kind)

ingredients:

partial components

partial components

1 16 oz. can (approx. 2 cups) chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans /ceci beans*

2 T tahini a.k.a tahina/tahine**

2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp. salt (if you soak your own chickpeas, you may need to add more)

½ tsp. ground cumin

juice of 1 lemon

½ cup water (reserve the cooking liquid if using dried beans), more if needed

¼ cup olive oil

optional garnishes—oregano, paprika, or za’tar spice blend
pine nuts (toasted or untoasted)
drizzle of olive oil

Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor or blender. Process until smooth, adding water as needed until desired texture is reached. Check the hummus’ taste and add extra garlic, salt, or cumin accordingly. Finally, with the processor or blender running, pour in olive oil.
Transfer to bowl and garnish with any of the options listed above. Goes excellently well with pita chips (storebought or homemade), crackers, and any kind of cut vegetable.

hummus with veggies

*If using dried, you’ll need to soak your beans overnight and then cook them for an hour before making your hummus. The chickpeas will double in amount, so if you want to end up with 2 cups, you only need to soak 1 cup of beans. Cover them with room temperature water and allow to soak overnight. You can stash them in the fridge at this point if you’re not planning to use them right away. Drain off the soaking liquid and transfer to a medium saucepan, covering with fresh water. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow the beans to simmer for an hour or until soft. Drain the beans but RESERVE THE COOKING LIQUID! Save it to thin your hummus; it will add more flavor than plain water.

**Tahini is a sesame seed paste most often used in Middle Eastern food. You may need to go to an ethnic grocery store for this, but it’s actually become readily available—check the “International Foods” aisle of your regular grocery store or call around to more foodie-inclined locations. Once you’ve opened it, keep your jar in the fridge for months. Like natural peanut butter, you’ll need to stir it when using again.

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8 responses to “MAKE-YOUR-OWN HUMMUS

  1. I love this hummus – it is so fluffy and light, way more than most of what I’ve eaten in restaurants.

  2. Just a tip on soaking the beans. Add a handful of salt to the soaking liquid. Rinse well when you drain. The beans are surprisingly more tender and the skins stay on.

  3. YUM!!! I just made this and it is delicious! I am at this current time also letting the pita chips sit in a warm oven for 15 minutes, too! I’m having guests for dinner tonight, had heard about making hummus out of a can of chickpeas & so I Googled and came across this site and these recipes. FANTASTIC!! Thank you! I saw the top post for today (Sept 15, 2009) of roast beets, too, and can’t wait until beets start showing up in the markets here in Paris, where I live. I have been discovering roasted veggies and the beets sound excellent!

    I also have gluten-intolerance/suspected Celiac disease, and I see lots of recipes here will work for the diet I have to keep. Thanks for such a wonderful site!

    • hi karin! I’m so excited to hear you are so excited to have found BJG! I hope that we can be a resource for you, all the way across the ocean. please keep me posted on any future recipe trials…glad you enjoyed the hummus and hope the pita chips were a success, too.

  4. The hummus and pita chips both have been such a success in my household here that I am making still more today, lol! I had written down the hummus recipe & have made it two more times in the past month, and am doing the pita chips again today, but needed to check on a couple things before making them again (“OREGANO!” she says to herself. “That’s right…”). They are a HIT! 😀

    Something related to the roasted beets comment here. Today I roasted cabbage, kind of the same as the pita chips, actually, lol. I cut half a head into 1/2″ to 1″ wedges/chunks (I wasn’t too careful about it, lol), put ’em on a parchment lined pan, drizzled olive oil all over the slices, salt & peppered them and roasted for something like 30-40 minutes, until the edges were brown. YUM. I am probably going to regret it later (lol — you know how cabbage can be) but I pretty much ate the whole half a head by myself today! It was THAT good. From pita bread to cabbage to beets, I am really liking this idea of drizzling things with olive oil and baking the heck out of them! 🙂

    • bluejeangourmet

      dang, Karin–you may be about to make me into a cabbage lover, something I have historically NOT been! I will be trying this soon…thanks for the great feedback!

  5. Pingback: What I Ate for Breakfast Today aka Ghetto Living in Paris, Part Deux « An Alien Parisienne

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