Hummus is one of those wonderful, widely-adored foods that more of us should be making at home. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago when we looked at homemade Teriyaki sauce, the idea that we, ourselves, can make something that we’re accustomed to buying at a store is often so simple that it escapes us. Hummus is no exception.
If you love hummus, great news! You can whip up a big batch of your favorite flavor for drastically cheaper than what you pay for that cute little tub. If you don’t like hummus, good news! There’s probably an adaptation of it that you’ll love. If you’ve never had hummus, stop reading and skip to the how-to!
Kind of like a tasty mediterranean bean dip, hummus is a nutrient-packed combination of garbanzo beans, oil, tahini (or sesame butter), lemon, garlic, and spices. It offers lots of essential fatty acids and about 20 grams of protein per cup, made complete by the combination of beans and seeds or nuts. Garlic and citrus are cleansing and full of anti-oxidants. Some recipes also include fresh parsley, which has a menu of micronutrients all its own. All-in-all, it’s a powerhouse of a food, especially for those who don’t do meat.
Traditional, original, no-frills Greek hummus is a thing of perfection just how it is if you ask me, but you can also use the general hummus forumla to create a number of other variations. Subbing black beans, cannellini beans, or a combination of beans, using a nut butter in place of tahini, or blending in additions like roasted peppers or artichoke hearts are all great ways to tweak it to your liking.
Here’s what you need:
You can get garbanzo beans (or chick peas) in about 14-ounce cans. Or, if you really want to save money, buy them dry. Soak for 8-12 hours, then rinse and boil them until very tender, about 30 minutes. Or, substitute black beans, pintos, red beans, whatever you please. Save some of the liquid—you’ll need it to get the right consistency.
Tahini is traditional—if you can’t find it at the store, try a mediterranean grocery or health food store. Or, use a nut butter instead. My mom’s favorite is natural peanut butter, while I like almond butter. Adding more tahini will make your hummus richer.
Extra virgin olive oil is best (got those good fats!), but feel free to experiment. Coconut, grapeseed, and avocado would all be great fill-ins. Adding more oil will make your hummus smoother.
Fresh is the way to go. I like using lime instead of lemon, but both are wonderful. If you feel like your hummus is missing something, try adding a little more. It adds a tanginess and brightness and can also help thin it out if it’s still chunky.
Again, go fresh! You don’t need to mince since you’ll be throwing it into the food processor, but a rough chop will help it get evenly integrated. If you don’t have fresh garlic, granules work too.
Salt is a must. Paprika and parlsey are popular. The possibilities are endless.
Want more flavor? Try adding sun-dried tomatoes, chiles, roasted red pepper, pesto, hot sauce, wasabi, artichoke hearts, or whatever else you’ve got. Throw in cooked veggies to add more nutrition (and/or hide them from your kids!)
A basic recipe is as follows:
- 3 cups cooked beans (or 2 cans)
- 1 tablespoon tahini or nut butter
- 1/3 cup oil
- Juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
- 2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Liquid as needed
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to combine. Turn to puree and add liquid, a little at a time, until mixture moves easily. Taste and adjust as needed.
I barely ever measure anymore—once you get the hang of it, you’ll just add a little of this and a little of that until it tastes right. Looking for a place to start? Check out this video, in which Kim makes it three different ways. Sarah did a great Tuscan hummus to bring in the new year; my mom and I used almond butter and chipotle peppers in this recipe.