Seasonal Flavors: Hummus

Photo: Denise Zico

Hummus is ubiquitous in the grocery stores these days, and on the bar and restaurant menus. It hasn’t always been so. I tasted my first hummus at a Middle Eastern restaurant in D.C. in the late seventies. Hummus was exotic and you couldn’t get it just anywhere.

So, some things do get better, including the plethora of ethnic foods available. God bless America and our diversity!

These days there are many variations in commercially available hummus: roasted pepper, roasted garlic, with spinach, with artichokes, etc. I’ve also had it using sweet potatoes instead of garbanzo beans….very tasty!

Hummus isn’t cheap. Most stores sell it for about $4 for a cup. What if I told you that you could make it for $1 a cup? Great deal, right? And your time investment is only about 30 minutes.

It will be $1.75 per cup if you use canned beans, but I prefer to cook my own.

Before you go to bed one night, put some dry garbanzos in the slow cooker, fill it with water, turn it on low heat and have a good sleep. They are ready in the morning. Reserve two cups for the recipe below and then freeze the rest in one or two cup portions for more hummus, or to sprinkle on your salad.

I have never owned nor aspired to own a food processor. It always seemed to me that by the time you cleaned the thing, you could have already chopped whatever it was that needed ‘processing’ and you’d have had the added enjoyment of all that time with a knife in your hand. I also never had space to store a food processor. But my parents gave me a mini-processor for my birthday once, and it is perfect for preparing hummus (and pesto; but that’s another column).

The Best Hummus Recipe Ever

What makes this the ‘best’ hummus is lots of lemon juice and lots of garlic. Both give that sharp, fresh tang to the humble garbanzo bean.

  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 2 cups of cooked sweet potatoes)
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame butter)
  • ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more to garnish
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Paprika for garnish

Put everything except the paprika into the food processor or blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Serve in a shallow dish, add a swirl of additional olive oil and a liberal sprinkle of paprika. Serve with pita wedges or celery or carrot sticks. Donate the other $6 you would have spent to some good cause.


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