Lemony Hummus


Hummus is a wonderfully simple and satisfying dip.  It’s also great as an alternative to mayonnaise on a sandwich.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup tahini, at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup reserved bean liquid or water

  • 2 15-ounce cans garbanzos, drained, reserve half the liquid

  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • zest of 1/2 a lemon

  • up to a second 1/4 cup lemon juice if desired

  • To garnish:  olive oil, and one or two of the following:  minced preserved lemon peel, feta, cumin, zatar, sumac, parsley, green onions, red pepper flakes.  Did I mention olives?

If you’ve made hummus in the past, but found that your hummus did not have the texture of restaurant or commercial versions, there’s a fix for that.

First, water.  Adding water (or lemon juice) to the tahini first before adding the beans, and process till it is white and creamy.  It is recommended to use an equal amount water as tahini.  Add more water as needed while pulsing in the food processor makes for a lighter, airier hummus similar to those served in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants.  I use half of the drained liquied from the beans (about 1/2 cup), and about a 1/4 to 1/3 cup additional water to 2 cans chickpeas.

Second, olive oil.  Use a good olive in and on as a garnishment makes for a richer and creamier hummus.  Leave the oil out of the hummus (I do), but it always looks nice with a little drizzled on top.  If you are using a food processor (or Vitamix, like I did), DO NOT add olive oil into the hummus while processing.  Even a food processor can heat up the olive oil and make it bitter, which will ruin it.  If you want olive oil in the hummus, stir it in with a spatula after removing it from the food processor or Vitamix.  Instead, use your best olive oil as a garnishment on top where it can be best tasted and appreciated.

Third, tahini.  To use or not to use?  Your choice.  Most commercial and restaurant ones contain it, so, it may be what you are accustomed to.  However, it is a very strong taste, and too much can overcome the dish.  Even for me.

Fourth, keep it simple (KIS=Keep It Simple)  The best things in life are simple.  Start with your basic recipe: tahini, water, beans, garlic, lemon juice….then add more lemon juice, or sun-dried tomatoes, or artichokes, or roasted red peppers, or….my brother used to cook in several Mediterranean restaurants, and he likes to add pickled vegetables to his hummus- and it is delicious!

Consider this recipe a launching pad, there are many great variations to make it your own.

Parsley and/or green onions are great toppings.

My favorite sandwich wrap is a combination of hummus, labne or tzatziki, and tabouli with a little bit of briny olives and feta.  Fabulous!

To make this in the Vitamix:

I first blended the tahini with the lemon juice and water.

Then added the beans, garlic, and seasonings (and any other items like sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, chipotles, parsley, green onions would be added at this time, too).

To get everything moving, I used the smoothie/dip setting, and it worked great.  If you want to process it a second time, you will need to loosen the sides with a spatula so that some air can get down to the blades. I don’t know if it really needed the second process or not, but I did it.

Remove from Vitamix and transfer to a working bowl or storage container.  Taste for seasoning.  This is where you could add more lemon juice, olive oil, cayenne or other ingredients that do not require processing.


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