The Candle 79 Cookbook and Smoked Paprika Hummus

January 6, 2012(updated on October 18, 2023)
Candle 79 Cookbook

I’ve never been the type of person who handles big changes well, particularly if they include a great deal of pre-planning and anticipation. For this reason, I’m not particularly good at grand resolutions for the new year. Don’t get me wrong, I can list my goals like a champ, but even as I write them down, there’s a part of me that knows that I’ll only be able to manage them for a day or before sliding into my old ways.

Candle 79 mushroom page

This doesn’t mean that I lead an entirely static life. Just that I’ve had to develop ways to work around my innate desire to resist change. For example, during the holidays, my eating habits started to slide a little bit (I can’t imagine I’m the only one who experienced this). I went from a girl who drank green smoothies for breakfast to someone who started her day with two cups of homemade Chex Mix (what? It contains cereal!). Something had to be done!

Smoked Paprika Hummus

Instead of resolving to change everything on January first (that would have been asking for dramatic and immediate failure), I started with just entertaining the idea of finding ways to get more vegetables into my life. By getting my brain on board first and approaching it with thoughts of addition instead of subtraction (and thankfully, the Chex Mix is all gone), I’ve been able to make the shift.

hummus ingredients

The other thing that has helped this ‘more vegetable’ habit is cookbook that showed up in my mailbox back in November. Called the Candle 79 Cookbook (published by Ten Speed Press), it is bursting with gorgeous, appealing vegetable-focused recipes. It’s written by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda of New York’s Candle 79 and Candle Cafe. Both are vegan restaurants that stress the importance of organic, farm-fresh vegetables.

wooden scraper
A tip! Never use your rubber, silicone or plastic utensils to scrape out your food processor. The blade will chew them up. Stick with durable wooden utensils.

And though I’m no vegan (and have not even the most latent desires to give up meat and dairy), I do have a highly developed appreciation for the kind well-conceived veg-focused recipe that this book features. I’ve earmarked at least 12 recipes and have added ingredients for Granny Smith Coleslaw, Spinach-Mushroom Pate and Butternut Squash and Chestnut Soup to my shopping list.

carrot in hummus

Earlier today, I whirred up a batch of the Smoked Paprika Hummus found on page 17 of the book. While it’s not exactly a vegetable, have such things around encourage me to eat more veg, which is also a big help. I used canned garbanzo beans (the book also gives instruction for making it from dried beans, but alas, I did not plan that far in advance), a bit less cayenne than called for (I wanted to ensure that my spice-averse husband would be able to eat it) and cilantro in place of the flat leaf parsley (it’s what I had in the fridge).

hummus and recipe in book

As so often happens to me when I make hummus, I was astounded at how fast it came together (you’d think I’d have learned this lesson by now) and how cheaply too. The recipe made a scant quart for right around $3. Best of all, it tastes wonderful. I ate it with the remains of a bag of baby carrots and, when they were all gone, I ate it by the fingerful. Truly, delicious. If you want to try it, the official, straight-from-the-book recipe is after the jump.

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Smoked Paprika Hummus


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika plus more for garnish
  • 1 ⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 ⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
  • 1 ⁄3 cup tahini
  • Optional garnishes: roasted red bell peppers roasted garlic, lemon slices, olives, mint or parsley sprigs


  • If using dried chickpeas, put them in a saucepan or bowl and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Soak in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
  • Put the chickpeas in a saucepan and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and let cool, reserving 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup of the cooking water.
  • Combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, parsley, olive oil, and tahini in a bowl and stir to mix well. Transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until well mixed. Add 1⁄4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid (or water or vegetable stock if using canned chickpeas) and process until smooth and almost fluffy. Add more liquid if necessary. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The hummus can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)
  • To serve, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the hummus and sprinkle a bit of paprika. Serve with desired garnishes.


Recipe reprinted with permission from Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant. Copyright © 2011 by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this cookbook. However, my opinions are all my own.

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41 thoughts on "The Candle 79 Cookbook and Smoked Paprika Hummus"

  • The candle cafe tofu sandwich is the best in the world in my opinion. I miss it dearly. I may have to invest in this cookbook.

  • I was just looking at the dry chickpeas I bought a few months ago and thinking I needed to find a good recipe for hummus. I also bought a jar of tahini and it’s been waiting for me to figure out what to do with it. Looks like you’ve solved two of my dilemmas!

  • I was just looking at the bag of chickpeas in the fridge, thinking, “I should make some hummus.”. Thanks for sharing!

    To make cooking the beans more hands off, I usually do my chickpeas in the crock pot, I have a pretty big one. I fill it 1/3-1/2 way with beans, cover with a few inches of water and turn the crockpot on high for a couple of hours while I’m home before work. I turn in down to low before I leave and let it cook for the day. When I get home- perfectly cooked chickpeas! I pack it up in gallon freezer bags after the beans have cooled. It’s easy to scoop out what you need (they don’t stick together nearly as much as other kinds of beans) and stick the bag back into the freezer!

  • I ate at Candle 79 once by chance and the food was amazing. I had no idea there was a cookbook. I, too, have been meaning to make hummus more often, I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing it regularly, thanks for the reminder.

  • We need to start chex mix addicts anonymous. My daughter needs to gain wait (I KNOW) and so I made her fortified chex mix. By fortified I mean it has extra nuts and butter. I. Cant. Stop. Eating. It. She on the other hand has little interest and instead prefers the celery sticks I cut for myself. But this hummus looks like just the thing for both of us!

  • Hummus is great to make at home. I pressure cook the garbanzos so I don’t have to use canned. I don’t have time to cook them any other way. I stay away from wood when using the food processor. I had a chunk come off a very good wooden spoon – caused by the blade. I couldn’t find the chip and had to throw the entire bowl away. It’s hard to find a wood chip in something of nearly the same color (s) like carrot cake. Now I remove the blade if when I need to scrap.

  • My problem with hummus is the texture.

    Now I have had hummus a few times that was to die for (no recipes available) they were smooth like peanut butter (but more dippable).

    Most though have a almost grainy texture, and this I have a problem with.

    Any suggestions?


    1. If you’re using a food processor, try switching to a blender. I’ve found that while it’s harder to get the mix started the end product is much smoother.

    2. I find that if you add a bit extra water and puree for far longer than advised, you’re able to get a very smooth hummus. A powerful food processor or blender helps too.

    3. I make my hummus with white kidney beans, and I find that the texture is much smoother and tolerable. Plus, my bf has a weird chickpea allergy, so this is a great way to make hummus for our house.

    4. Blend/puree the chickpeas while still warm, and they will have the best texture you can imagine. Got that tip from Cook’s Illustrated and it totally works.

    5. I buy chickpea flour from a middle eastern store for a song, and then use the recipe over at the Bob’s Red Mill site. It is actually TOO silky for my liking. I like hummus with texture. But this might be what you are looking for. Bob’s makes a chickpea flour, too, but it is difficult to find and overpriced.

    6. Chickpeas have a skin on them, which makes the grainy texture. If you are using canned chickpeas, boil them for 10 minutes or until you see the skins starting to separate. Drain them, then pop the skins off by hand and discard them. It takes a bit of time, but the hummus comes out incredibly smooth.

  • Any idea on how long a container of tahini lasts in the fridge after opened? I’m talking months…

    Also, I’ve always wondered what “after the jump” means – I see it all the time, but can’t figure out what the “jump” refers to since the recipe is always right there. Lots of blog writers seem to use it, and I’m wondering if it’s critical lingo that I have to incorporate, should I ever write another thing!!! 🙂

    By the way, this book and your book are both on my shopping list!!

    1. I keep mine 6-9 months typically.

      And the jump refers to the way the recipe is hidden when you’re viewing it on the main page of the site. If you’re looking at the post in a feed reader, email subscription or on its unique URL page, there’s no jump. It’s only on the main page of the site.

  • I think it’s important to note that this is a vegan cookbook. This fact is sort of hinted at in your review but never said outright, so I had to go investigating to find out. Maybe that might turn some people off, but to me it’s a huge selling point! Thanks for putting me onto it – I’m adding it to my Amazon wishlist right now!

    1. Crysta, my apologies if I didn’t make that clear. I wasn’t trying to keep the fact that’s it’s a vegan cookbook hidden, it’s just not the primary selling feature for me, so it wasn’t what I emphasized.

  • I never have tahini in the fridge when the hummus urge hits, and I also prefer a very light hummus to something more dense. I usually make mine with a tablespoon or two of toasted sesame oil instead of the tahini, which I always have around and I’ve found this gives a really deep sesame flavor and keeps it nice and light. I also process the heck out of it, for about 5 minutes, to make sure it is completely smooth and airy.

  • I’m kicking myself about the fact that the whole year I was going to a vegetarian culinary school in NYC, I never got around to going to Candle 79. But I guess I’ll just have to go back for a visit… and pick up that cookbook. Looks divine!

  • A friend makes her hummus with local yellow eyed beans rather than garbanzo. Sounds like experimenting with beans would be fun. Thanks for the recipe!

  • I started going “mostly” vegetarian about 15 months ago, making meat/fish more of a condiment than the main event. I really appreciate your book recommendation – I’m going to look into it today. Love your blog!!

  • I usually make a spicy pepper hummus. I’m not fond of that version with vegetables but I made this hummus today and it was delicious with carrots. Thank you for sharing!

  • I’ve been to both of their restaurants in NYC, and I find their food on the bland side. However, since hubby is vegan, and I’ve vegetarian, I cook vegan. The chocolate cake recipe in their first cookbook is the only chocolate cake recipe I have used in years. It’s really moist, and no one can ever tell its vegan.

  • MMMM – you had me at smoked paprika – one of my favorite flavors! That book looks fab, I’ll have to see if the library has it. Those mushrooms look amazing, can’t wait till morel season!

    Best of luck in 2012 – may it be a prosperous one for Food In Jars!

  • Haven’t come across this cookbook…I’m interested in looking it up now though! Could definitely use a little less eggnog and more veg in my post-holiday diet 😉

  • Ive been vegetarian for 16 years and plan on being as vegan as possible for the New Year. If you don’t put the pressure on yourself eating more vegetables are easy! I don’t have the cookbook but really enjoy the restaurant.

  • My mom just gifted me with this book….. it looks totally awesome! Polenta fries & black bean burgers are on the weekend food menu 🙂

  • ps – recently had hummus with the addition of roasted beets pureed into it. out of this world good!!!

  • I can never find Tahini in the store. Always wanted to make my own hummus too. Where the heck is the stuff kept in the store?

  • ps – you reminded me how i’m destroying my silicone spatulas using them in the blender! i just took some scissors and cut off the mangled part; they look stubby but still work ok, just not as flexible as they were since the thinner bit is gone.

  • Don’t know if you ever tried the butternut squash soup recipe but it is the best! I’ve made it several times a year since I found the recipe and every one raves about it. The combination of spices is so warm and complex, no one can ever figure out what’s in it, but everyone loves it.
    The balsamic glazed pears puts it over the top!