I was introduced to hummus and several other Middle Eastern dishes by a Jewish friend who had spent some time living in a kibbutz in Israel. If our paths had not crossed, I would be missing out on some of my favorite treats. Hummus is one of them.
A basic hummus recipe follows with instructions. Aside from the basic mixture, you can add a number of different items that effect the flavor and color.
Whether you go with the basic mix or an amended one, you can enjoy hummus as a dip or as a sandwich filling (especially in a fresh pita bread). This mixture also makes a great base for a composed salad where you can show off your garden-fresh vegetables.
This recipe makes an abundance of hummus. Feed it to guests, freeze it, or make a number of flavors at once for a hummus extravaganza. You can also cut the recipe in half. It is all very forgiving. This mixture will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. We just keep digging into it all week long.
Basic Hummus Ingredients
- 3 cups dried chickpeas.
- 4-6 cups water for soaking the chickpeas.
- Water for cooking.
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried garlic
- Juice of four lemons
- 6 cloves of minced garlic
- 1/2 cup of finely minced Italian flat leafed parsley
- A sprinkle of cayenne
- 1 1/2 cups of tahini (sesame butter)
- Extra olive oil, paprika, and parsley for garnish.
Basic Hummus Steps
- Soak your chickpeas overnight in warm water to improve digestibility and to shorten cooking time.
- Rinse beans. Cover with water. Cook over a low-medium flame for about 1 1/2 hours until soft. The cook time can vary depending on altitude and climate.
- After the cooking water comes to a simmering point, add about a tablespoon of salt, ¼ cup of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic. If you add these ingredients on the front end, it could extend your cooking time. The seasonings you add here cook up a really tasty bean. I often reserve some of these beans after they have cooked to top a salad — flavorful and satisfying!
- After the chickpeas have cooked to a soft state, you have two choices. One choice is to mash them by hand or with a food mill. This produces a chunky hummus. If you want a smooth, creamy hummus, use a food processor. The flavor is the same.
- Add the lemon juice, minced garlic, parsley, cayenne, and tahini. Mix by hand or in a food processor.
- Pile your hummus into a splendid bowl that can showcase your creation.
- Pour olive oil over the hummus to keep it from drying out.
- Sprinkle with a bit of paprika and minced parsley for garnish.
Add your favorite flavors to the basic hummus recipe above for a flavor treat. Hummus is very forgiving in terms of texture — you can add any herb or seasoning that suits you. You can add roasted or rehydrated dried vegetables for a flavor treat. Here are some ideas:
- Roast 2 or 3 sweet red peppers and whip them up into the hummus using the food processor. The color is lovely and the flavor memorable. This is especially good as a dip with fresh vegetables or as a base for a composed salad with grilled eggplant, tomato wedges, olives and feta cheese.
- To the basic mix add ½ cup of chives and a few mint leaves, all finely chopped.
- Add sun dried tomatoes but rehydrate them in oil first. Add about 1/2 cup of dried tomatoes to the recipe above, including the oil you used to rehydrate them.
- Add one can of black olives and blend them in with the hummus in your food processor.
- Add three tablespoons of curry powder, and perhaps more, to taste.
- Add about 5 tablespoons of your favorite herb. For extra flavor, saute it in a bit of oil and add both the herb and oil to the hummus.