Like chocolate chip cookies and marinara sauce, hummus is one of those things that you can buy at the supermarket but you're far better off making it yourself. In fact, if all the hummus you've ever tried has come out of a small plastic tub, please . . . get ready for a revelation.
Hummus ~ or more properly, hummus bi tahina ~ has been around for a really, really long time. Just how long, however, is a matter of great speculation. This tasty dip has been credited to sources from Saladin to the ancient Egyptians. What we do know with a reasonable degree of certainty is that it originated somewhere in the "Middle East" (a pretty big swath of land) and that it is pretty dang yum.
Hummus recipes abound, differing slightly from country to country and even chef to chef, but the basic formula is this: cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans or ceci) are mixed with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive or sesame oil, and salt. Beyond that, the basic hummus may be flavored with a vast array of herbs, spices, or vegetables. Popular additions include parsley, mint, red peppers, cumin, chilies, olives, sumac, paprika, and/or cilantro.
Hummus may be eaten as a dip, with lavash crackers, pita wedges, or cut vegetables; a sandwich spread; or a sauce for fish, chicken, or falafel. And it gets major bonus points for being not only delicious but virtuous, too. Hummus is a good source of protein and fiber (thank you, chick peas), it's high in iron (ditto), and it packs a significant amount of vitamins C, B6, and folate, too.
Now here's the even better thing . . . all this delicious healthfulness can be yours for about 20 seconds of labor. That's right ~ freshly made hummus, at the touch of a button on your blender (or food processor). Let's get this party started.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
This version of hummus relies on roasted sweet red pepper to add a subtle tanginess and a gorgeous pink-orange hue. Enjoy it with toasted pita triangles, lavash, or cut veggies.
- 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans* ~ reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (or more to taste)
- 1 whole roasted red pepper, seeded*
- 1 large clove garlic, quartered
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients except reserved liquid in blender canister or food processor. Add 1/4 cup reserved liquid. Process in pulses until smooth, adding more liquid, if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired texture is reached.
- Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary. Let chill for 1/2 hour before serving.
*Canned garbanzo beans work fine in this recipe; be sure to reserve the liquid from the can to add to the hummus.
*You can make your own roasted red peppers or the use the jarred variety. Either will give excellent results.
*By request: Make-Your-Own Lavash ~ a recipe (pictured above)