“Hummus” is an Arabic word meaning “chickpeas.” It is extremely popular fare throughout the Middle East. The recipe consists of cooked chickpeas blended with tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, garlic and salt. I occasionally buy a container of hummus for my kids to snack on after school. It’s healthy – high in protein and fiber and low in fat. The fat it does contain is the good kind that is being touted for having heart-healthy benefits. I’ve always liked hummus but I can’t say I was ever excited enough about it to warrant serving it at a dinner party. With all of the recent positive news about the Mediterranean diet, I decided to give homemade hummus a try.
I haven’t been to Lebanon to try their hummus, but if my research is correct, I’ve gotten fairly close. Now I know what all the fuss is about. This homemade hummus is creamy, garlicky, and has a fresh hint of lemon. With a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika and warm toasted pitas, it is a beautiful, healthy and delicious dish. And it’s definitely worthy of serving to guests!
- 2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 3 cups of cooked chickpeas, drained (soak 1 cup dried chickpeas overnight and cook per package directions, making sure to add 1 teaspoon baking soda to cooking water to soften the chickpeas)
- ⅓ cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into quarters
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil plus more for drizzling on top
- Paprika for sprinkling on top
- Optional toppings: a handful of cooked chickpeas or a handful of toasted pine nuts or a tablespoon of chopped parsley
- Put chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Process 30 seconds longer. Add 2 tablespoons oil and process for another minute or so, until smooth.
- Put hummus into a bowl. Drizzle generously with olive and sprinkle with paprika.
- Serve with grilled or toasted pita. (I like to brush pita with olive oil and heat on a grill pan or on the barbecue grill. Then slice with a pizza cutter)