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.