Enhancing Hummus

Hummus, the traditional Levantine dish made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon and sometimes garlic has become a staple in Western kitchens. Whether you make your own or use store bought, hummus is a workhorse when it comes to snacking, entertaining, making lunch for kids or hikers, breakfast … you probably already have a longer list than this. Here are some things you can put on top of hummus:
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, agrumato lemon or jalapeno flavored olive oil, Olio Nuovo
  • Tapenades *See below
  • Bruschetta Toppings **See below
  • Spices; curry, smoked paprika, chili powder, sumac, Aleppo pepper
  • Herbs; chopped parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, cilantro, mint
  • Nuts and/or seeds; pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts
  • Dukka - a nut, seed and herb blend that you can buy or make
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Pickles or fermented vegetables
  • Pesto
  • Roasted peppers
  • Citrus zest - lemon, orange or lime
  • Edible flowers
Just to name a few! *McEvoy Olive Ranch makes several outstanding tapenades: Artichoke and Almond, Olive and Roasted Red Pepper, Black Olive and Spicy Green Olive. **McEvoy Olive Ranch has new bruschetta toppings: Cherry Pepper, Classic Italian and Mediterranean.

Photo by James Ransom

Author Notes: This recipe is simple and the results are perfect, but here's the real coup: Most from-scratch hummus recipes involve simmering the chickpeas for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Ottolenghi and Tamimi's are done in 20 to 40 minutes. How? See step 2. Briefly cooking the soaked chickpeas directly with baking soda scruffs up the skins and allows them to cook much faster and puree smoother. (Without having to peel the chickpeas by hand.) Recipe adapted slightly fromJerusalem(Ten Speed Press, 2013) (less) —Genius Recipes Makes 6 servings
  • 1 1/4cups dried chickpeas
  • 1teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 1/2cups water
  • 1cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini (light roast)
  • 4tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 1/2tablespoons ice cold water
  • Salt
  • Good quality olive oil, to serve (optional)
  1. The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  3. Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine sill running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to mix for about five minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  4. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Optionally, to serve, top with a layer of good quality olive oil. This hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.