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 za’atar – a Middle Eastern spice blend that is not only aromatic but also flavorful.
Smooth hummus is the key
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. I explain the process and then they become excited at the prospect of making their own.
Don’t skip the tahini!
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. 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. It 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.
The mighty chick pea
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 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 or vegan yogurt 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.
Steps to make hummus two ways: silky smooth and textured
- Gather all your ingredients and have them measured and ready to go: canned garbanzo beans, cumin, plain Greek yogurt, tahini, fresh lemon, garlic, black pepper, olive oil and za’atar.
- If you want the silky smooth restaurant style hummus follow steps 2 through 8. If you like your hummus slightly textured or want to make a quick batch skip ahead to step 9. Drain and rinse the beans, place them in a bowl and add 1.5 tsp baking soda.
- Stir the baking soda into the beans until well combined.
- Add the beans to a sauce pan on medium heat, stir continuously and get them hot. This takes about 2-3 minutes.
- You will notice the skins starting to come off the beans while you stir.
- Add the hot beans to a large bowl of cold water.
- Vigorously rub the beans between both hands being careful not to smash them or break them. The skins will fall off while rubbing them.
- Pour off the skins, add more water to the bowl and repeat this 2-3 times until all the skins are off.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- Place the beans, cumin, tahini, black pepper and garlic clove to the food processor. Add 1/2 of the Greek yogurt.
- Add the juice from 1/2 of the lemon. Blend the mixture on high. Stop the food processor, scrap down the sides and check the consistency. The hummus should “flow” as it gets smooth. Add more Greek yogurt and lemon juice until you reach the desired consistency. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl while gradually adding more Greek yogurt and lemon juice.
- The final texture is your preference but it is typically about the consistency of mayonnaise and will form soft peaks. Drizzle the olive oil on top, sprinkle with za’atar and serve.
Q: How long can I keep the hummus?
A: Refrigerate in an air tight container and try use up your hummus in 3-4 days.
Q: Can I freeze the hummus for later use?
A: I never freeze mine as that would ruin the consistency.
Q: Can I add other flavors to the hummus?
A: Sure, you can swap out some of the moist ingredients for others so reduce the yogurt but add some roasted red peppers or avocado. The key is to watch the consistency while blending. You can also experiment with spices. Sometimes I like to add a little Spanish smoked paprika to mine.
Q: Can I use dried garbanzo beans?
A: Yes, you will need to soak them overnight in a large bowl. Be sure they are covered with 3 inches of water as they expand. Drain them the following day and bring them to a boil in a large pot of water. Boil for 5 minutes and then turn down to low and simmer for about 1 hour. When they are soft and not dry in the middle they are done.
Q: Can I make this in my high speed blender?
A: Yes, but you may need to slowly drizzle some extra virgin olive oil in while blending to get the hummus to “flow” and get really smooth.
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 Jordanian chef friend suggests adding yogurt for a smoother texture.
- 15.5 oz garbanzo 1 can, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- 1/4 tsp black pepper fresh cracked
- 1 clove garlic
- 6 oz plain yogurt Greek yogurt is fine too or vegan yogurt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice fresh squeeze - juice 1 lemon
- 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on top
- 1 tsp za'atar for sprinkling on top
Rinse garbanzo beans and place in food processor for a slightly textured hummus. For smoother type hummus see the notes below.
Add the cumin, tahini, black pepper and garlic clove to the food processor.
Add ½ of the Greek yogurt and ½ of the lemon juice and start blending on high in the food processor. The hummus should "flow" as it gets smooth. Add more Greek yogurt and lemon juice until you reach the desired consistency. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl while gradually adding more Greek yogurt and lemon juice.
Place in serving dish and drizzle olive oil on top with za'atar.
- Serve with toasted pita wedges
Steps for a smooth restaurant style hummus:
- Place the garbanzo beans in a bowl and add 1.5 tsp baking soda then stir to combine.
- Once coated, pour into a sauce pan on medium heat and stir until they are hot.
- Pour the hot garbanzo beans into a bowl of cold water and vigorously rub them between your palms to remove the skins.
- Pour off the skins and add more water. The skins will float off the top as you pour.
- Add more water and rub the beans with your hands two or three more times, pouring off the skins each time until all have been removed.
- Rinse and drain the beans then follow the steps above to blend.
Tips and frequently asked questions:
- Refrigerate any unused portion and try use up your hummus in 3-4 days.
- I never freeze mine as that would ruin the consistency.
- Can I add other flavors to the hummus?
Sure, you can swap out some of the moist ingredients for others so reduce the yogurt but add some roasted red peppers or avocado. The key is to watch the consistency while blending. You can also experiment with spices. Sometimes I like to add a little Spanish smoked paprika to mine.
- Can I use dried garbanzo beans?
Yes, you will need to soak them overnight in a large bowl. Be sure they are covered with 3 inches of water as they expand. Drain them the following day and bring them to a boil in a large pot of water. Boil for 5 minutes and then turn down to low and simmer for about 1 hour. When they are soft and not dry in the middle they are done.
Can I make this in my high speed blender?
Yes, but you may need to slowly drizzle some extra virgin olive oil in while blending to get the hummus to "flow" and get really smooth.