Every Middle Eastern country seems to have their own special hummus recipe. There is some argument among food historians whether this dish originated in Greece or Arabia. Hummus is easy to make and takes only a few minutes. If you have a food processor, you can make hummus. I especially love my hummus topped with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with zatar-a Middle Eastern spice blend that is not only aromatic but also flavorful.
To me the consistency of the hummus is very important, so I make sure to process it until it is very smooth. Believe me, once you make your own you will never buy the prepackaged stuff again. Hummus is really one of my favorite dips. When I tell people I make my own they are often baffled, until I explain the process and then they become excited at the prospect of making their own.
One of the key ingredients in hummus, and please don’t skip this ingredient is tahini-a sesame seed paste used in Middle Eastern cooking. It is kind of like peanut butter but made with sesame seeds. Tahini is a bit expensive at first, but a little goes a long way. You only need to use 2 tablespoons of tahini for my recipe. Tahini has a long shelf life too, some you can store in the refrigerator for up to 2 years. Check the date on the jar when you purchase your tahini.
Garbanzo beans are very high in protein, and lend themselves to multiple uses. These are the base ingredient in hummus. I tend to want to make my hummus last minute so I buy the canned garbanzo beans. Some friends also make hummus with the dried garbanzo bean and then soak them and cook them. As long as the end result is a soft moist be you are all set to use them in your hummus. I also like to use Greek yogurt in mine for a creamy rich flavor. If you want to make this a vegan recipe you can substitute olive oil but just add it in slowly and stop the food processor to check the consistency. I think it should have a little body like a mayonnaise. Other tips I have would be to refrigerate any unused portion and try use up your hummus in 3-4 days. I never freeze mine as that would ruin the consistency.
If you like the exotic flavors of Middle Eastern food here are some of my favorites you can bookmark for later or pin them on Pinterest.
Middle Eastern lentil soup is a simple soup that has lots of rich flavors and little lemon juice.
Zatar or za’atar is a spice blend you can easily make at home for dipping oils, sprinkle on hummus or toasted pita bread.
A salad to try would be a traditional Middle Eastern style tabouleh or tabbouleh that consists of lots of parsley along with bulgur wheat, mint, tomato and onions. You will love the bright flavors in this dish!
Your meal Middle Eastern dinner would not be complete without a dessert of these pistachio rose water shortbread cookies. These are so easy to make and have such a nice floral note.
Here is a "mostly" traditional recipe for hummus with tahini and garlic. You can whip this up quickly for a delicious and healthy appetizer. I like a little cumin in mine also. My chef friend from Jordan suggests adding yogurt for a smoother texture.
- Rinse garbanzo beans and place in food processor
- Add other ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth
- Place in serving dish and drizzle olive oil on top with zatar
- Serve with toasted pita wedges