I was in high school the first time I made hummus. I wasn’t much of a cook back then, relying almost entirely on bagels, boxed turkey sandwich lunches from my school cafeteria and whatever my mom was cooking for dinner to sustain me. However, I fell hard for hummus after tasting the mezze platter at Nicholas Restaurant. I quickly developed an expensive hummus habit, which sent my mother and me in search of a recipe, in the hopes that we could make it more cheaply ourselves.
We quickly discovered, it is possible to make nearly a quart of hummus for nearly bupkis and so I began a ritual of firing up her vintage Vita-Mix (I still long to have one of these of my own. Occasionally, I’ll search eBay for the shiny, stainless steel 3600 models, just like the one I grew up with. I haven’t broken down and purchased one yet though, but I’ve come close) once every couple of weeks to whir a can of garbanzo beans into a garlicky, lemon-y delight. As these things go though, I eventually fell out of the hummus making habit (I think it coincided with the time I went off to college. It becomes far harder to make hummus when you’re working in a dorm room. Not impossible, but harder).
Recently, Scott and I have been on a hummus kick and I was once again reminded how expensive it can get when you’re buying your chick pea spread from Trader Joe’s in 8 ounce containers. This time, I got even fancier than I once did, using my pressure cooker to reanimate 2 1/2 cups of dried garbanzo beans. After 35 minutes of pressure, the garbanzo beans were fully cooked and tasted pleasantly firm and nutty, nothing like the slightly mealy beans you get when you just open a can (not that I’m demeaning canned beans. Goodness knows they’ve saved me more than once. It’s just that these are so much better).
I measured out two pints for the freezer and tumbled just over two cups of beans into the bowl of my great-aunt Flora’s Cuisinart (it’s older than me and still going strong). I pulsed the beans with several cloves of garlic, a massive pinch of salt, an oversized dollop of tahini and some lemon juice. After things were broken up, I ran the motor and streamed in about a 1/3 cup of olive oil and the same of water.
After it was all combined, I stood in the kitchen for a few minutes, dipping my finger into the bowl for tastes and remembering back to high school. Later I handed some to Scott, with a bowl of cucumber slices, for a snack. He declared it tasty, but then pointed out the unblended clove of garlic that landed in his bowl (how does that happen in the midst of all that processing?). The rest I scraped into a large jar for storage. In the last 24 hours, we’ve already made a considerable dent.
This is one of those recipes that gets better with age, as the ingredients get a chance to hang out and intermingle with one another. I’m planning on making several batches for my wedding (the reception is going to be a potluck), because it can safely hang out for a bit without being refrigerated, it makes the vegetarians happy and it goes down very, very easy. There’s a more specific recipe after the jump.
- 2 1/2 cups of garbanzo beans approximately 1 1/2 cans
- 3 large garlic cloves peeled
- 2 lemons juiced
- 2 over-sized tablespoons tahini sesame paste
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt make sure to taste at the end and add more if necessary
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1/3 cup of water
- Combine the beans, garlic, lemon juice, tahini and salt in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Pulse to break down. After 6-7 pulses, set the motor running and slowly stream in the olive oil. Do the same with the water, stopping when about half is combined, to check the texture and consistency. You don’t have to use all the water, but some really helps smooth everything out.
- If you’re more adventurous, you could also add some cayenne pepper for kick. I was making this batch with Scott’s very sensitive taste buds in mind, so left it out.
- Store in the fridge in an air-tight container (might I suggest a quart jar?). It will keep for 4-5 days, if you can make it last that long.
I made some hummus today as well. I’ve been getting experimental—adding different things like cumin, preserved lemons, sun dried tomatoes, smoked paprika (not all in the same batch, obviously). Hummus makes me happy.
Tea, I am delighted at the idea of preserved lemons in hummus, that’s a wonderful idea! I can’t wait to try that! -Marisa
I haven’t had hummus in too long, it almost never works quite the way I want it when I’ve made it before. They put cumin in all the kinds at our local coop I think; I personally don’t care for cumin in hummus. I do like a little paprika in mine though. Time to start cooking some chick peas I think!
I like the flavor of cumin in lots of stuff, but sometimes, all you want is the basic, wonderful flavor of straight hummus (with lots of garlic and lemon). I hope your batch turns out well! -Marisa
This recipe makes me think of a bean dip I used to make. It was so simple. Take a can of chili beans and blend them in the blender. Add a couple of drops of hot sauce and blend it in. Serve with corn chips. Used to be a good party dip. I haven’t made it in a long time and should do it again for the next event where I’m to bring a dish.
I love to throw in whatever bits and pieces I have in the fridge….olives taste great and I love the look of black flecks in my hummus….aritichokes are interesting, but very mild….threw in a plop of leftover babganoush and it was better than I thought it would be. Man, I’m hungry now!
I prefer my hummus with no oil or water, but extra tahini, which also smooths it out. I sometimes add parsley. I’ve sometimes gotten the un-pulverized garlic clove as a spicy surprise in my hummus-and-sprout sandwich…whoof!
Fran, I never would have thought not to put oil in hummus, I’ve always thought it was a necessary ingredient. I’ll have to try it your way sometime. -Marisa
I’ve made hummus for years, but started using a recipe I found in Saveur a few years ago. A little water or cooking liquid goes in the hummus, olive oil is drizzled on top. It’s also processed for about 3 minutes in the Cuisinart. It is the best hummus I’ve ever made — and maybe the best I’ve eaten!
I want to make hummus, but I don’t want to pay $5-7 for tahini. Any suggestions on where to get it cheaply?
Elizabeth, if you have any middle eastern markets in your area, you might be able to get it for cheaper there. Also, you could consider making your own. If you google “homemade tahini” you’ll find a number of recipes. However, the basic formula is 1/4 cup vegetable oil to 1 cup sesame seeds. Depending on how cheaply you can get sesame seeds (buying in bulk makes they fairly reasonable), this could be a less expensive option. -Marisa
Instead of tahini, I just use an equal amount of sesame seeds and a touch more olive oil. The food processor chops them up. It also tastes fresher as store-bought tahini can be hit or miss.
I make mine own tahini, but I lightly roast my sesame seeds first Be careful not to brown them, you just want to toast them golden and crunchy and let them cool before processing. Add extra virgin olive oil to the seeds in a food processor and blend to a consistency of nut butter.
Here in Istanbul, to make good hummus, we peel the chickpeas. Annoying and time consuming, I know, but it makes a difference!
Asli, I can’t even begin to imagine how energy-intensive it must be to peel the chickpeas before making the hummus. It must make an incredibly smooth hummus, though. -Marisa
You mention freezing extra beans–have you ever tried freezing the completed hummus? If so, how’d that work out?
Meryl, I’ve never tried freezing finished hummus, but I imagine it would freeze just fine.
I freeze my hummus all the time. Make it a bit creamier than you think you might want it before freezing and when thawed, will turn out just right. Option 2 is to add a speck of olive oil blended in to the thawed hummus just before sserving to make up for the bit of dehydration that occurs with freezing.
my recipe is about the same however I use 1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt instead of olive oil… can’t be left of all day but it does give a wonderful creamy tast… also I use 2 or 3 red peppers for a roasted red pepper hummas! YUMYUM YUMMY!
I am new to your site; I LOVE this idea for hummus because I am a hummus fan, but one batch makes too much for me. I appreciate the tip about freezing it. Hummus is so much less expensive to make yourself, and none will go to waste now that I know I can freeze it!
Marisa, you just made my night. A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to kick my expensive TJ spicy hummus habit. I was like, why am I buying half a dozen plastic containers from TJs and putting them in the freezer when I could be making and freezing my own. So tonight I was here with a huge pile of cooked chickpeas and no recipe. Google delivered me to you. How perfect is that?
I’m not fond of such creamy humus, I prefer texture. I pressure cook my garbanzos, then mash them with a old fashioned potato masher. Then I add fresh squeezed (real meyer) lemon, extra virgin olive oil and then I squeeze in fresh garlic with a garlic press to taste. When it’s served it’s garnished with hot powdered chili pepper, more olive oil. I like to put various fresh raw veggies on the side to scoop it up.
well how do i can the hummus into little pots and how long shoudl it be kept in the canner under pressure?
Hummus can’t be canned. If you notice, this is a recipe designed for refrigerator storage.
If you have frozen hummus, for how long can you keep it after it has been thawed? Would it be the same time as you would with a freshly made one, or do you handle them differently?
After thawing, it will keep 5-7 days.