I’ve been searching for a good hummus recipe for several years now, and have tried quite a few along the way that didn’t make the cut – one was too acidic, another just plain bland. I’ve eaten hummus at many different restaurants and always liked it, and I’ve even enjoyed the mass-produced stuff from the grocery store, so it seemed like it shouldn’t be that hard to find a decent recipe. Much thanks (again) to Cook’s Illustrated, I finally have. I’m not quite sure what made the difference in this recipe – I think it uses a lot more tahini than previous ones. The others I used were also more high maintenance, calling for dried chickpeas that then had to be soaked and cooked down for hours, which was very tiresome, but the recipes claimed that the outcome would be far superior to any recipe involving canned chickpeas. I trusted them, and was let down despite all my hard chickpea-soaking labor.

This recipe calls for canned chickpeas, and is thus much faster, much less annoying to make, and, most importantly, much creamier (I know some people like chunky hummus, but I am not one of those people). It has just the balance of flavors I was looking for, along with the right texture, and thus my quest for the perfect basic hummus recipe is now ended. I am trying to make more healthy homemade snacks to have around whenever I get sudden snacking urges. It doesn’t take all that much work to whip up some hummus or salsa, and then when you get hungry in the afternoon, your healthy snack is already there, waiting for you, reaching out a helping hand to keep you from eating something processed and full of weird artificial crap – or if you forget about it (as I often seem to do with homemade healthy snacks) and let it mold, it may actually reach out a real and not metaphorical helping hand…

For what it’s worth, the weird artificial crap may never mold, which is even scarier. And to move away from that creepy image, I’ll end this little discussion with a nice (non-moldy) picture, before we get to the recipe.

Basic Hummus

I was going to post that whole wheat pita recipe along with this, but I clearly need some more time in pita boot camp before I advise anyone else how to make it. I’ll have a pita recipe at some point, once my wounded pride recovers and I give them another try. The original hummus recipe instructs you to pour in various liquid ingredients while the food processor is running, but I have a piece o’ crap mini food processor, in which it is not possible to do that. Instead, I just added the liquid ingredients gradually, giving the processor a few whirls in between each addition, and the hummus still came out nice and creamy.

Makes about 2 cups

1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
6 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnishing
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
Parsley and paprika, to garnish (optional)


Combine water and lemon juice in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil and the tahini until smooth.

Place chickpeas, minced garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in food processor, and process until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds (this may take longer if you have a crappy food processor). With machine running, add lemon juice/water mixture in a steady stream (or see note above if your food processor doesn’t have a chute for this purpose). Once all lemon juice has been added, continue to process for 1 minute. With machine still running, pour in the olive oil/tahini mixture in a steady stream. Once all the tahini mixture has been added, continue to process until smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds.

Spoon hummus into a serving bowl, and garnish however you want – I like to whisk together a half tablespoon of olive oil and a half teaspoon of paprika and drizzle this over the hummus (as in the pictures). I added the parsley mostly because it would look nice in the picture – but you too can garnish with some minced parsley or cilantro if you want your hummus to be extra pretty! The original recipe says that the hummus will stay good in the refrigerator for five days – I think mine is pushing a week now, and it still tastes fine (and is sans mold).

Adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

One Comment on “hummus”

  1. Charlene says:

    Sounds yummy, I’ll have to try this too! 🙂

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