What is Hummus?
Just so we are all on the same page, let’s talk about what hummus is. If you aren’t familiar, hummus is a delicious spread or dip made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and spices. It’s commonly eaten in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Here in the US, you can find store-bought versions at the grocery store, but we think you should skip those and make your own. Let me show you how!
Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are the base for hummus. The softened beans breakdown into a smooth paste. You can use canned or home-cooked chickpeas in our recipe. I use them interchangeably and give home-cooked chickpeas a slight edge when it comes to the flavour (here’s how I cook dried chickpeas).
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and it makes the hummus taste incredible. You can buy tahini at the store or you can make it yourself. To make hummus that’s 100% from scratch, we use homemade tahini. It’s ridiculously easy to make yourself. Here’s our tahini recipe with a video showing how to make it. It lasts up to a month in your refrigerator and our recipe makes enough tahini for two batches of hummus.
Making hummus without tahini: In the hummus-loving world, there are two camps. Some love the zesty, tangy flavour of tahini, others could go without it. We like it both ways, but for the best hummus rivalling our favourite brands in the store, we include tahini. If you want to make hummus without tahini, simply leave it out. A chickpea purée without it is still quite delicious. Just add more olive oil. Another option is to use natural unsweetened creamy peanut butter in its place.
Fresh lemon juice is really important for excellent hummus. Bottled lemon juice does not taste nearly as good.
Fresh garlic adds a little spice and zest. I add one small clove and find it’s just right. You can also experiment with using roasted garlic for a roasted garlic hummus. You can see how we roast garlic here.
Ground cumin and salt help to make it taste amazing and the cumin add a little more spice and richness.
Olive oil makes the texture of the hummus luxurious. We also add a little drizzle to the top of the swirly hummus when we serve it. I like using fruity, light flavoured olive oils when making hummus.
In addition to the ingredients above, you can add more flavour and ingredients to your hummus. I love adding roasted red peppers for a red pepper hummus, but olives, pine nuts, and extra spices are also great options.
So, What’s The Secret For Making The Best Hummus?
It’s simple really. It’s the order in which you add ingredients to your food processor. Seriously, it’s that easy. Tahini and lemon juice go in first. Then before you add anything else, turn on the food processor and let it run for a minute or so.
Coldwater is our last trick for fluffy, creamy, whipped hummus. After all the ingredients are added and we’ve processed into a smooth paste, I love to drizzle in some cold water with the processor still running. The water (and extra process time) turns the already pretty smooth mixture into a fluffy, luxurious dip!
Do You Need To Peel The Chickpeas?
Another trick for the smoothest hummus is to remove the skins of each chickpea. We’ve done it. For one can of chickpeas, you’re looking at about ten minutes to remove all the skins. We didn’t want to add the extra time to our hummus recipe below, but just to make sure, we tried it both ways — skinless chickpeas and chickpeas right out of the can.