I’m gearing up for our trip to Israel and getting so excited about immersing myself in the delicious world of Israeli food. We visit Israel every couple of years, and I always look forward to the fresh kibbutz-grown produce and flavorful Middle Eastern spices. One of my favorite indulgences when we visit Israel is the hummus.
Hummus was adopted by the Jews from Arab food culture and has become a mainstay in the Israeli diet. Fresh hummus is served in almost every Israeli restaurant. It’s eaten as both an appetizer and a main course, usually served with hot baked pita bread and a bowl of olives. It’s often paired with fresh fried falafel. I love hummus because it’s tasty, filling, and heart-healthy. It’s vegetarian and pareve, which means it can be served alongside a kosher meat meat. Twenty years ago, hummus was relegated to the health food stores, an oft-overlooked exotic Middle Eastern side dish with a niche audience. The dish has quickly gained popularity in the U.S. and can now be found at most major grocery stores. It’s nutritious and gluten-free… and if you make it yourself, it’s affordable too! You can make about three times the amount of hummus for the price of one store-bought tub, and it tastes so much better made fresh. As long as you have a food processor, nothing could be simpler. Of course, you could mash it the old fashioned way with a mortar and pestle, but it will take some serious elbow grease. I highly recommend the processor if you have access to one. 😉
I like adding roasted garlic to my hummus instead of plain garlic. The roasted garlic adds depth to the flavor, and just a hint of smokiness that I find delicious. It’s also easier on the stomach. I’ve provided instructions for roasting garlic on a previous blog. Feel free to use raw garlic if you prefer a stronger, sharper garlic flavor. Keep in mind that all ingredients are “to taste.” The key to great hummus is tasting often and adjusting the flavors as desired.
This hummus will taste best when made with cooked chickpeas instead of canned. To learn how to prep the chickpeas, check out this post: How to Soak and Cook Chickpeas.
There are endless variations on traditional hummus– you can add roasted bell peppers, spinach, or olives to make your own creative flavors. You can also use black beans in place of garbanzos. Enjoy!
Note: Since originally posting this recipe, I have improved it by doubling the amount of roasted garlic and cutting the amount of liquid added at the beginning of processing. I’ve also cut the salt lightly; salt it more to taste if you want. I am always working to improve my recipes, and these small changes take this hummus from good to fantastic. Enjoy!
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Learn to make traditional Middle Eastern hummus dip with perfectly balanced flavors, much cheaper than store-bought hummus. Kosher, Pareve.
- 3 1/2 cups canned OR soaked and cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans
- 1 tbsp baking soda (optional - to help skin the chickpeas, see instructions below)
- 1/3 cup tahini paste
- 8 roasted garlic cloves or more to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or more to taste
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Paprika and fresh minced parsley for garnish optional
You will also need: food processor
If using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them first. If cooking the beans, follow my soaking and cooking instructions here. Drain the beans after cooking and let them return to room temperature.
To make this hummus ultra creamy, you should peel the cooked chickpeas. While this step is optional, I do recommend it for creamy results. To peel and remove the chickpea skins easily, place them in a skillet with 1 tbsp baking soda and stir, coating all the beans thoroughly with baking soda. Heat up the skillet over medium, stirring the beans constantly, for 2-3 minutes until the beans are completely heated throughout.
Pour the hot beans into a large mixing bowl, then immerse them in 3-4 changes of cold water, agitating the beans with your hands to release the skins. Loose skins should float to the surface where they can easily be discarded with each batch of cold water. When most of the skins are gone, proceed with the recipe.
Another way of skinning the chickpeas (which takes a lot longer) is to take each chickpea and gently squeeze to remove the skin, then discard the skins before processing. While this step is not completely necessary, it will ensure that your hummus turns out very smooth and creamy.
Reserve about 15-20 whole chickpeas for garnish. Outfit your food processor with a blade attachment. Place chickpeas, tahini paste, roasted garlic, lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper into the processor.
Taste the mixture and add more salt, lemon juice, or garlic to taste. Process again to blend any additional ingredients. If the texture seems too thick, add lukewarm water and continue to process until desired consistency is reached.
Transfer hummus to a shallow bowl and create a well in the center with a spoon. Garnish with reserved chickpeas, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of paprika and minced fresh parsley. Serve with pita, crackers, or fresh dipping vegetables.