Easy Potluck Idea: Homemade Hummus

by | Dec 5, 2008



Last night I went to a potluck and I have to admit, I was dreading it a little.

It’s not that I don’t love my friends or cooking for them, but I have been feeling queasy this week (I contracted some nasty food poisoning on my vacation–that’s what I get for not cooking my own meals!) and have not had much energy for anything, especially food.

But I have a food blog. Not only did I have to bring something, it had to be impressive!

I needed something quick, easy and delicious, made mostly from ingredients I have laying around. Hummus was my answer. Hummus is a Middle Eastern style dip made of chickpeas. Remember all that talk about how easy and delicious homemade beans are in the pressure cooker? Well chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are no exception.

Hummus is a perfect potluck contribution because it is easy to make, easy to transport and exotic enough to be impressive. Also, homemade hummus is way better (tasting, but also for you) than anything you can buy at the store… no offense to Trader Joe’s.

You can make the basic recipe with beans, tahini, garlic and spices, but I have added a couple extra ingredients if you want to take your hummus to the next level.

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • tahini to taste
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (gourmet paprika or fresh ground sweet chili powder is best)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you’re feeling spunky – optional)
  • pure olive oil or canola oil
  • good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • preserved lemon (optional)
  • parsley (optional)

I always have tahini in my fridge, but if you do not it is fairly easy to find. Tahini is a paste made out of sesame seeds with a consistency similar to natural peanut butter (the oily kind). It has a delicious smokey flavor and I use it to garnish many different dishes.

Olive oil is a key ingredient in this recipe, but it is important to understand that you cannot put extra virgin olive oil into a blender, or it will turn unpleasantly bitter. Use either pure olive oil or canola oil for blending, then add a good extra virgin olive oil on top as a garnish. Your extra virgin olive oil should have a bright green color, not a dull yellow or brown.

You can use canned beans if you are in a pinch, but I don’t recommend it.

Here’s what to do:

Pick over, rinse and soak the dry chickpeas overnight in excess water (they expand quite a bit). The next day rinse them again, put them in a pressure cooker and cook on high until done (mine works in 12 minutes). Once they are cooked, use a slotted spoon to move chickpeas from the liquid into a large bowl. Reserve the liquid. Throw out any chickpea shells that have separated from the bean.

If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can boil the chickpeas until they are soft, about an hour and a half. Add more water if necessary.

While the beans are cooking place whole, unpeeled garlic cloves into a toaster oven and bake at 400 for 3-5 minutes (I like them less cooked). Let them cool a bit then remove the peel, which should come off easily.

Add the garlic to your beans (mince it if you prefer to add it raw), along with 1/2 cup (or whatever) of the liquid they cooked in, 2 tbsp pure olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt and lemon juice to taste (I use the whole thing).

Also add 2-3 tbsp of tahini (honestly I eyeball it and keep adding tahini until I’m happy with the taste) and the other spices. I recently purchased some amazing New Mexico chili powder from Tierra Vegetables and a few slices of preserved lemon from Boulette’s Larder that added incredible dimension to this already wonderful recipe. I am particularly impressed with the preserved lemon, which contributed a unique, rich lemon flavor unlike anything I have ever tasted.

David Lebovitz claims that making your own preserved lemons is not very difficult if you want to try. Rinse the lemons before adding them to your recipe, I added 5-6 slices.

Blend the ingredients together using a hand blender. If you do not have a hand blender you can use a regular blender or food processor. They work the same but are harder to clean.

Puree the mix until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary. Once the hummus is creamy, taste it with a clean spoon and adjust the salt, lemon and tahini.

When finished, move hummus to a tupper (for potluck) or serving bowl. Use a spoon to make a crater in the center, garnish with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley. California extra virgin olive oil is the best choice, in my opinion, and Trader Joe’s has a great one that is affordable. In San Francisco, however, I like to use Stonehouse olive oil. They have a store at the Ferry Building.

Serve with warm pita wedges or bread.

Hummus can be modified in a million different ways. It is fantastic with roasted peppers, eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs and different kinds of nuts.

Be creative!


What is your favorite hummus recipe?

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38 Responses to “Easy Potluck Idea: Homemade Hummus”

  1. Steve Parker, M.D. says:

    Sunny’s Hummus:1 15-oz can of garbanzo beans (drained),1 tbsp olive oil,1/8 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon),3 minced garlic cloves,1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, 1 tsp fresh chopped basil (or 1/2 tsp dried basil),salt and pepper to taste.Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor; blend into a smooth past consistency. Add a small amount of water if it seems too thick. Spread onto bread or crackers. 1/3 cup of this hummus has 170 cal, and this recipe makes about a cup.This is my wife’s recipe, published in an obscure weight-loss, healthy lifestyle book, “The Advanced Mediterranean Diet.”-Steve

  2. Healthyliving says:

    So Hummus is a kind of Mediterranean dip, and it seems like it is generally best to stay away from dips: does that advice not hold here, or should we still be wary of hummus? How does calorie content of hummus compare to other dips(can I go crazy on hummus?!)?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was curious why the garbonzo bean is also called a chickpea: from Wiki…..The name chickpea traces back through the French chiche to Latin cicer (from which the Roman cognomen Cicero was taken). The word garbanzo comes from Old Spanish (perhaps influenced by Old Spanish garroba or algarroba) through arvanço which may be linked to the Greek erebinthos.

  4. Mike says:

    How did Europe get the yummy dips like baba ganouch, hummus, and tabouli, Mexicans got the guac and salsa, while the US of A got stuck with onion chip-dip, ranch dressing, and Carl’s Jr. secret sauce? Not Fair.

  5. Anne says:

    Sounds like a lot of work. TJs hummus is fine for me!

  6. Darya Pino says:

    Steve:Thanks! Basil sounds great. I never thought of that one.—–Healthyliving:In that region of the world spreads are more common and are generally considered part of a meal rather than just a snack.Like Mike says, it is just the American dips you have to worry about, and extra snacking in general.—–Anon:Thanks! Etymology is always interesting.—–Mike:If you live in the USA, all those healthy dips are accessible to you! Take the initiative at the next party you go to and bring your own. You can avoid the onion dip and impress your friends at the same time!—–Anne:TJ’s hummus is pretty good, but not exactly an ideal dish for a potluck.It really wasn’t that much work. The bean soaking required some forsight, but I made the entire thing in 30 minutes after work.

  7. Matthew says:

    How strange…I made a batch of hummus on the 5th as well. I had a hankering for it and the batch turned out well…ate the entire thing the following day.The recipe I use is a bit of a variation of many posted here already…except I try to make it completely organic and raw.1 cup dried chickpeas (2 cups soaked/sprouted/canned)2-6 cloves of garlic (sliced 10 minutes prior to use, then minced)1.5 teaspoons celtic sea salt (the best)4-5 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (the fresher the better)2-3 tablespoons raw tahini1 teaspoon ground cumin.25 teaspoon cayenne1 teaspoon sugar (evaporated cane juice or raw turbino or raw honey)3-5 tablespoons olive oil1 tablespoon cilantroThe deal with the garlic is that if you slice it up 10 minute prior to using it allows a chemical reaction to take place that is beneficial for both digestion and boosting ones immunity.I second the use of high-quality olive oils…it makes all the difference. I used Spectrum Naturals organic extra virgin first cold pressed olive oil in this one…expensive as ****, but worth it.This is a sweet blog…glad I stumbled across it tonight!

  8. Matthew says:

    Oh yeah, and I throw some raw pignolas on top!

  9. Juno says:

    I really like the way you have presented this hummus, with a puddle of olive oil at the edges. My secret ingredient when making hummus is a pinch of tartaric acid, which gives it a lovely exta zing. I am going to try out your idea of using preserved lemons.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Thank you! I have never played with tartaric acid. Will have to look into it.

      BTW, your blog has some beautiful photography. Looking forward to keeping up!

  10. Katie says:

    I made my own hummus once. It turned out okay . . . just because it was fresh. I couldn’t get all of the lumps out maybe I will tried the dried beans next time maybe that is the key to non-lumpiness.

    Thank you.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Adding more liquid might help with your lumpy hummus. Do you use an immersion hand blender? That might help. Braun makes the best one, and you can find it in my Shop (Cooking Gear > Accessories).

  11. Olga says:

    This looks great! Awesome idea on preserved lemons.
    I like adding roasted red peppers or sun dried tomatoes to mine. Or pesto!

  12. siri says:

    You know, I have a huge jar of tahini sitting in my fridge (leftover from baba ghanoush) and have NEVER tried making humus at home. I’m sure your version is great with the meyer lemon juice.

    Thanks for sharing one of my favorite dips,


  13. Carolyn says:

    I love hummus. I’ll try this one. I like to cook the dry chickpeas too; sometimes the canned ones are too firm (I can’t always get the same brand). I had never heard that olive oil becomes bitter in the blender, but I have noticed that sometimes hummus or dressings become unpleasantly bitter. I’ll remember this!

  14. S. Barker says:

    I suggest using SMOKED paprika for garnish. You won’t ever use regular paprika for this again.

    • Darya Pino says:

      What I used actually isn’t paprika. It is a ground New Mexican sweet chili powder, which is unbelievable. I’m sure smoked paprika is amazing too, thanks for the tip!!

  15. Steve says:

    Great recipe and comments. I make hummus regularly. My “twist” is that I use sprouted chickpeas. That way I don’t have to cook them, and the goodness of the sprouted seed is preserved in my hummus. Great on toast with fresh tomatoes, flaked sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Ahhh…..

  16. celia says:

    i just want to say, thank you so much for posting this recipe. i’ve been looking for a hummus recipe without tahini and i couldn’t find one anywhere. will it work with soaked/sprouted chickpeas? thanks again!

    • Darya Pino says:

      My pleasure! I hope it works out. I have not tried using sprouted chickpeas, but I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be just as good (see related comment above). Good luck!

  17. dragonfly says:

    I make hummus all the time, but the number of times I have copped complaints like “I don’t like the texture, it doesn’t taste like hummus usually does” from people who have had it out of a plastic pot their whole life. Ditto frijoles, and really, many of the foods I cook from scratch. I cook vast quantities on a stove top and freeze it, but am hoping to find a pressure cooker at a second hand store soon.

  18. John says:

    I live in southeast MI, which is a mecca of middle eastern restaurants. Many of them make it with a bit of Mediterranean yogurt or sour cream. For a recipe like this you might try up to 1/4 cup. People may not know what the difference is, but they can’t stop dipping;)

  19. John says:

    Also, don’t forget the kabees (pickled turnips) if you can find them!

    Question. I never refrigerate my tahini, I thought it was like peanut butter. I tend to go through it in a month to a month and a half. Should I not be doing that?

    • Darya Pino says:

      Hmmm. I always refrigerate my tahini and my peanut butter (I get the natural oily kind). I’d definitely recommend it to prevent bacterial growth, particularly in warmer months.

  20. John says:

    I was afraid you were going to use the b word:) Tahini is such a pain to deal with at room temp, I can only imagine the fun I will have out of the fridge. The things we do for great taste. Thanks for the great info and the responses!

    P.S. I found or at least became reacquainted with your site from Kevin Roses plug on his podcast Random with Tim Ferriss.

  21. jamie says:

    I just made this and it is sooo good! I am new to your website and new to learning healthy ways to eat. I am giving up processed foods and learning to eat whole, clean, foods. Thank you for your help!

  22. Natalie says:

    Thanks for the olive oil tip. Any recommendations for a really good extra virgin olive oil?

  23. Emily says:

    Darya, do you think this recipe would be good without the tahini (or maybe something could be substituted for it)? I’m allergic to sesame seeds, but love hummus and have been looking for a good recipe.

  24. Linda says:

    I am allergic to chicpeas. Can anyother bean be used to make hummus?

  25. Angela says:

    Thank you, this is the first “homemade hummus” recipe I found that didn’t start with a can of garbanzo beans. Ugh!

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