How to make quick, simple and healthy hummus

Hummus is one of my favorite snack foods. It’s delicious as a dip with simple crudités (I like it best with carrot or red pepper sticks), but it’s also a nice sandwich spread. It’s great with cucumber slices, pretzels, pita bread – even straight off a spoon. It’s a little addictive, so no wonder people spend $3 or more on a tiny tub of pre-made hummus.

When I ask people why they buy something they can easily make for a fraction of the price, they usually say it sounds too complicated. They’re wrong.

Hummus is one of the simplest things you can make – if you have a food processor. Recipes vary a lot. I probably tried 10 recipes before realizing you really don’t need one as long as you have the basic ingredients. Just play with it until you’ve found the consistency and flavor you prefer. Hummus is really hard to mess up.

These are the basic ingredients:

Canned chick peas (aka garbanzo beans), tahini, lemon, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and sumac powder if you have it. (Yes, tahini can be expensive, but one jar will go a very long way.)

Now the simple part.

Drain one can of chick peas and place in food processor. Empty the second can of chick peas (liquid and all) in as well.

Tahini tends to separate, so mix it up and add approximately 2 generous tablespoons of tahini to the chick peas. (Some people like a stronger tahini taste, so add more or less as desired.)

Tahini is like oily, unsalted “natural” peanut butter, only made from sesame seeds.

Add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (substitute roasted garlic if you want to avoid the overpowering bite raw garlic can have).

Drizzle in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, being careful to remove any seeds that fall into the mixture. Sometimes I’ve used one-and-a-half or even two lemons depending on how juicy they are, but hold off on adding any more lemon until you’ve processed and tasted it.

Process until fairly smooth. You want a nice dip-like consistency.

If it seems too thick, add a tablespoon or so of water or olive oil to thin it out.

Now the fun part. Taste the hummus to see if you like the flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste. I add a dash of cayenne pepper for a subtle kick, but that’s optional. Taste it again. Does it need more salt, pepper, lemon or tahini? One time the tahini taste was so strong that I added another can of chick peas and a little more lemon to balance the flavors.

It’s tempting to eat the hummus immediately, but the flavor seems to improve after an hour or so in the refrigerator.

Hummus isn’t the prettiest food in the world, so sprinkle a little sumac powder on for both flavor and garnish – I like to add a bit of parsley, too.

Once you’ve made hummus a few times  you should be comfortable enough to experiment with other flavors – roasted red pepper, cilantro, kalamata olives, whatever you like. Just have fun with it.

Now that you know how simple it is to make, there’s no excuse for buying pre-made hummus anymore – unless you don’t have a food processor.

Let me know if you give it a try!


About Paula Hendrickson

I'm a full-time freelance writer with an addiction to yarn, cooking and all kinds of crafty things. I come from a long line of creative and entrepreneurial types on both sides of the family, making creativity almost like competitive pursuit.

Posted on June 10, 2012, in cooking, food, recipes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Sitting here, reading this post, while dipping chips into a premade tub of bought hummus. If only I had a food processor!

    • Paula Hendrickson

      Well, if you ever buy (or borrow) a food processor and give it a try, let me know what you think. Seriously, hummus is next to impossible to mess up. And really, no measuring required.

  2. I’ve made it before but your post inspired me to make a batch today. I used a shortcut – Tahini Sauce from Trader Joe’s – only because I had it on hand and didn’t know what to do with the extra I had. Threw in some leftover cilantro I had also – yummy!

  3. LOVE hummus! Just made some over the weekend that was mighty good. I got rid of the garlic, plus didn’t use any onion. Instead, I put in fat-free mayo, sundried tomatoes, and oregano. The rest is nearly identical to your recipe.

    • Paula Hendrickson

      I used to add onion but it really didn’t add much. I normally use roasted garlic, but it was too hot this weekend to bother with that so I used two tiny cloves of fresh garlic. Never thought of adding mayo – is that mostly to help extend it when you have a hungry crowd?

      Did you use dry or oil-cured sundried tomatoes? Either should work – just cut back on the olive oil if you use the oil-cured. Sounds good!

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