Hummus is cheaper and more delicious when it’s homemade! It’s one of the easiest dishes to make.
Chef Michael Solomnov makes the creamiest Israeli-style hummus by cooking dried chickpeas until they’re falling apart, and then blending them with a generous amount of imported tahini (sesame paste).
Hummus can also be made from canned (or frozen) legumes. Here’s how to do it:
YOU’RE GOING TO NEED THE HELP OF A MACHINE
There’s no getting around it, you need an appliance to make hummus at home. A food processor is easiest, but a blender will work too if that’s all you’ve got—you just may need to make a thinner-textured hummus if you’re working in a blender. A mini-prep will do if you’re making a one-can batch. Sometimes I make it in my NutriBullet and that works fine too.
OPEN UP A CAN OF LEGUMES
Although “hummus” literally means “chickpeas” in Arabic, you can make hummus from any kind of cooked legume you like: chickpeas, black beans, white beans, soy beans, green peas, yellow lentils, etc. Yes, you can totally cook your own if you want to—you don’t have to use canned, it’s just the easiest option. One standard can of beans is equal to about 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans, so measure accordingly. Frozen legumes are great too—I’m particularly fond of edamame hummus right now, which I make by cooking frozen shelled edamame before tossing them in the food processor.
One can of beans will make about 1 cup of hummus, which honestly doesn’t last long in my house, so I usually start with two. Drain and rinse whatever kind of legume you’re using, then put it in whatever machine you’re using.
If you like garlic (I do!) add a peeled clove of garlic to the machine along with your beans.
ADD ABOUT 1/3 CUP OF LIQUID FOR EVERY CAN OF LEGUMES
For every can of beans, you need about 1/3 cup of liquid to create a creamy, smooth dip. Some of this liquid should be in the form of extra virgin olive oil, which lends richness and flavor to your hummus, and some should be in the form of lemon juice, which balances the richness of the beans and oil with a nice tart zip. Some of the liquid can be water, which thins without adding or subtracting flavor. I like to start with about 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and about 1 tablespoon water (which, if you’re counting, is 1 teaspoon shy of 1/3 cup, but it’s close enough to start with). But you can add more or less lemon juice or olive oil or water according to your taste, as long as it equals (or is just shy of) 1/3 cup.
TAHINI IS OPTIONAL, A THOROUGH BLENDING IS NOT
Traditionally, hummus is made with tahini, but I’ve made some lovely batches of hummus without it, and—though hummus purists would disagree—find that it’s not necessary, especially when you’re already breaking tradition by cooking with alternatives to chickpeas. But if you like tahini and you have some on hand, by all means add it—just don’t let not having tahini stop you from making hummus. If you do want to add tahini, start with about 1 tablespoon per can of beans—you can always add more later.
Once you have the beans, liquid, and tahini (if using) in your machine, give it all a good whirl. Don’t skimp on the processing or the blending here—keep buzzing it until it’s as smooth as it can get. Then dip a spoon in to check the texture. Is it too thick and clumpy? Add a bit more liquid (water, olive oil, and/or lemon juice), but go slowly: It’s much easier to thin hummus that’s too thick than to thicken it with an extra can of beans if it’s too thin. So add that liquid in small doses until the hummus reaches the perfect dip-able, spreadable, smooth texture.
YOU CAN ADD FLAVOR IN A FEW DIFFERENT WAYS
Take another taste to check the flavor. You’re going to want to add some salt for sure, and then the rest is up to you: try some black pepper, or smoked paprika, or lemon zest, or za’atar. Beyond the spice cabinet, you can flavor your hummus with olives, hot sauce, artichoke hearts, pesto, jarred roasted red peppers, fresh herbs, roasted beets, roasted eggplant, or even pickles. Add your flavoring in small doses, tasting as you go, until your hummus is just how you want it. You can also add more tahini, olive oil, or lemon juice to taste.
SERVE IT WITH A GARNISH
If you’re going to eat your hummus right away, swirl it into a shallow bowl and dress it up before digging in. An extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top of any hummus is always a good idea, along with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt. You can leave it at that, or you can sprinkle spices and fresh herbs on top for an even bigger impact. I love to add a handful of fresh parsley or a generous sprinkling of smoked paprika or Aleppo pepper on top of my hummus. Serve with your favorite crackers, bread, or crudités, and you’re good to go.
OR PACK IT UP
If you’re not going to eat your hummus right away (or if you made an extra-large batch, like a champion), you can pack it up in an airtight container and keep it in your fridge for up to five days. Or you can use a favorite lunch-packing trick of mine and put a generous scoop of hummus into the bottom of a jar, and then top it with crudités cut the same height as the jar. If the crudités are packed tightly enough, they’ll hold the hummus in place, so you can pull each one out for a pre-dipped snack at your desk (or for the kiddos at school).
However you serve it or pack it, I promise that once you start making your own hummus without a recipe, you’ll be eating better (and cheaper!) hummus forever.
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