Help me make the best, most interesting, hummus ever!
January 19, 2012 3:50 PM   Subscribe

Give me your best hummus recipes and flavorings ever, for my hummus challenge!

For reasons of taste, health, cost, and convenience, I'm on a hummus challenge: I'm going to be eating veggies with hummus every day for the next month. The twist is that I'm going to make it myself using my awesome new food processor. As you can imagine, I LOVE hummus. I've tried all the usual flavors - garlic, cilantro and jalapeno, horseradish, roasted red pepper, caramelized onion. But all these I've bought from the grocery store rather than making them from scratch. For my hummus marathon, I want to make my hummus from scratch, and while I'd love recipes for these staple flavors, I'm also prepared to go totally rogue as well and try flavors beyond what's on the shelf at your typical Middle American grocery store.

So basically, I'd love:
1. ideas for hummus flavors, and the more specific, the better (e.g. instead of just saying "red pepper", tell me how you do (or don't) cook it first to bring out the flavor).
2. Recipes are great too, particularly amounts of flavorings to amounts of hummus.
3. I'm interested in upping the protein content and lowering the fat a bit, so I'd love to experiment with silken tofu replacing some or all of the tahini. Any advice on this would be particularly appreciated!
posted by UniversityNomad to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
chipotle paste is really good in hummus.
marinated artichoke hearts and ground black pepper

and now to go completely crazy - it could be interesting to do something spicy like the chipotle or a jalapeno and then a touch of something fruity, like mango or a squeeze of an orange instead of a lemon. think mango salsa or jalapeno jelly - that sort of spicy/sweet thing.
posted by nadawi at 3:56 PM on January 19, 2012

I don't have much to add since I usually stick with plain or garlic hummus, but Trader Joe's has a great hummus that doesn't have tahini in it - maybe you could try out a chickpea-and-seasoning version?
posted by brilliantine at 3:56 PM on January 19, 2012

Response by poster: Oh, one more thing: I'd like to eat this hummus in fairly large quantities, to avoid the urge to snack all afternoon. So I'd prefer to keep the flavoring ideas at least moderately healthy (i.e. bacon hummus is probably not on). In moderation, I'm happy though to use fats like olive oil that are supposed to be better for you...
posted by UniversityNomad at 3:58 PM on January 19, 2012

Not a recipe, but my anecdata is that soaking dried beans with baking soda overnight and then cooking in a slow cooker gives the best silky texture.

You can also replace the tahini with nut butters.
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 4:04 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I recently had some black olive and chive hummus that was lovely. (Garlic was replaced in the classic recipe with chopped black olives and minced chives.)
posted by smilingtiger at 4:08 PM on January 19, 2012

My hummus rooster sauce (Sriracha) was a big hit. Good luck!

I've found that any recipe from epicurious is good.
posted by cestmoi15 at 4:11 PM on January 19, 2012

I have added pickled jalapeños to taste and it was quite delicious.
posted by Addlepated at 4:11 PM on January 19, 2012

Hot tip: if you're going to use cucumber, use less water/oil than you normally wuld. Cucumber has a lot of water in.
posted by griphus at 4:12 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Add boiled beets (even canned will do) to your regular recipe.
posted by francesca too at 4:37 PM on January 19, 2012

A teaspoon of wasabi powder and plenty of fresh mint.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:39 PM on January 19, 2012

I love pizza hummus. There's also a great Lemon Hummus recipe in this Chowhound thread.
posted by pghjezebel at 5:03 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yam hummus.

add 3/4 cup of cooked yam to 1.5 cups chickpeas. 1/4 cup pine nuts. 2 tbsp cilantro. Add lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper to taste. Optional: hot sauce.
posted by sadtomato at 5:29 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pomegranate arils are lovely hummus topping.
posted by pupstocks at 5:45 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I make a delicious Asian-inspired black eyed pea hummus. No chickpeas; i hope that's cool. Not sure where I first found the recipe, and I just mix everything to taste, so I'm sorry I can't give you quantities or proportions, but here are the ingredients:
Black eyed peas, tahini, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil (or sesame oil would probably work great), lots of cumin, a little fish sauce, garlic, salt. Yum!
posted by theperfectcrime at 5:54 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sun dried tomatoes . . .
posted by Rinoia at 6:16 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding what beepbeepboopboop said — definitely use dry beans, but after you soak and cook the beans, substitute some of the olive oil with the pot liquor. My (very picky) Lebanese friend say my hummus is the best he's had outside of Lebanon!
posted by slogger at 6:21 PM on January 19, 2012

Horseradish adds a nice touch to hummus.
posted by pappy at 6:25 PM on January 19, 2012

This article in Salon will be helpful, if extremely (purposefully) liberal about the definition of "hummus."
posted by dekathelon at 6:31 PM on January 19, 2012

Try experimenting with different beans and tahini replacements. Black beans, fava beans, cannelini beans, fresh green chickpeas if you can get them. Instead of tahini, try different nut butters, or fat-free Greek yogurt (that will help your goal of increasing protein and decreasing fat).

My favorite is the most standard: chickpeas, tahini, lemon, olive oil, garlic, cumin, and a little bit of paprika on top. There are lots of other good ideas here. I would suspect you can add just about anything. Spinach? Frozen or fresh-boiled, squeeze the water out, add to the food processor. Add chopped olives. Or anchovies. It seems there are so many options.
posted by WasabiFlux at 7:26 PM on January 19, 2012

For hummus variations, I really like black or pinto beans with a chipotle pepper and lime juice. Also chickpea hummus with curry powder (or Thai green or red curry paste).
posted by creepygirl at 7:42 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I forgot to mention adding cumin to the chipotle bean hummus.
posted by creepygirl at 7:44 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I do hummus two ways.

Roasted red pepper hummus

Roast, peel and seed a red pepper. Drain and wash a can of chickpeas. Put the pepper and the chickpeas in the food processor. Add the juice of one orange, cinnamon and ground cumin. Whirrrrr. Add olive oil to get it to the consistency you like.

Spanakopita hummus

Steam some spinach. Drain and wash a can of chickpeas. Crumble a big hunk of feta. Put the spinach, chickpeas and feta in the food processor. Add the juice of a lemon and a shit ton of garlic. Whirrrrr. Again with the olive oil.

I used to like making them both and eating them together to play the sweetness of the first one with the tangy garlickiness of the second. You could probably add pitted kalamatas to the spinach one, too.
posted by looli at 7:58 PM on January 19, 2012

Not a flavor, but if you have a crock pot, we love to cook our own chickpeas and serve it fresh and warm. Alternately, if you used canned, add some warm water, makes it really lovely and fluffy.
posted by upatree at 8:08 PM on January 19, 2012

Eh, I meant to add that having a crock pot is obviously not the only way to cook the chickpeas, I just like it because I can toss a bunch in there and walk away, very low maintenance.
posted by upatree at 8:09 PM on January 19, 2012

My mother is Arabic and before I left for Uni a demanded that she teach me how to cook humous.

Her recipe (Algerian) is rather simple;

A can of Drained chick peas.
Lots of (Virgin) Olive Oil.
A large amount of Juiced Lemon
A good pinching of salt
A large garlic clove
A splash of water
2/3 big teaspoons of Tahini


I have made this recipe many times (from what you are saying though, not as many as you!) and as I have a jar of Tahini in the cupboard all the time, it can go from my head to the plate in about 10 minutes - born into the light of day to be chomped down by some hungry friends as it coats little strips of toasted pita bread.

I actually find huge variation in this recipe and is the number one recipe so far I have found where the measurement "To Taste" is very literal. Sometimes it comes out slightly too runy if the oil isnt thick enough or there is a difference in "A splash" of water to "Two splases of water". Other times the garlic is a huge powerig taste, sometimes its never quite enough. Once you make it enough it will be obvious what more it needs. To me, if it's "not quite right" it normally means more oil, then more lemon, then a little more salt (you can never put too much tahini in it).

To serve the dish, I like to find a nice (decorative?) shallow bowl, spoon it equally in and then drizzle a wave of olive oil over it (alternatively the arabic way: make a little well in the humous and fill it with oil - yum yum!) and if you want to be REALLY fancy (like high class restaurant fancy) then sprinkle a tiny pinch of "Sumac" (a hard to find fancy meditarranean spice) or substitute it (as I do) with Paprika - lovely colour too.

I have made this in many different ways and I found the best way to get a perfect runny-enough sauce with chunks and still some whole chickpeas - to not use a food processor (as it cuts very sharply and very consistantly - leaving either perfectly halved peas or a very consistantly smooth texture - neither of which are my goal). The way I have found is to get some kind of long or tall dish (I have a handy metal jar/can thing I believe originally intended to store coffee beans!) and a hand blender.

Because of the viciously fast blending what it DOES come into connection with gets mooshed down nicely, but as of course you are moving it up and down vigorously (like a plunger!) then it only catches JUST enough of the chickpeas - making it a lovely chunky yet smooth consistency.

...I might have to make some when I get home now. I have really turned myself on to eat some! haha.

So yes that is my recipe, as far as flavorings go, I have honesstly never tried but if I were to, I would start with different spices or very strong tasting ingrediants first (Cumin; fennel seeds; olives; pickles; capers; cooked obergine; peppercorns; pineapple; rasberries) and see where it takes me :)

As an aside, if you do make humous like this it's not....actually too great for you ^^ It;s mostly oil and lemon and nut fat by the end of it! But I'm sure using the low-fat variety of each would do well in reducing the fat content for your humous challenge! I wouldn't use less oil by the way, I would use different oil. But, only time will tel.

Happy humousing University Nomad!
posted by Cogentesque at 7:22 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I once didn't have a lemon on hand so instead used a bit of orange juice and zest. Best mistake ever--it really did something great for the flavor. Otherwise I do the classic ingredients: olive oil, tahini, canned chickpeas, garlic.
posted by lovingkindness at 7:41 AM on January 20, 2012

If you're doing this for health, then you're interested in getting rid of some oil and tahini. Normally when you're making hummus, using water instead of oily things would wreck the texture - the oil helps to make it a paste instead of tiny bean granules in tasty water. By overcooking the beans you're spreading the starches from the beans into the cooking water and making sure the beans mash up into true paste-like consistency instead of a sandier texture.

If you've got a pressure cooker, use it - it saves so much time soaking and boiling, but the real bonus is how easy it is to overcook the beans. An extra minute or two, and they're really soft, and the liquid in the pot is really soupy and thick, especially the bottom layers. Pour off most (3/4? 2/3?) of the liquid into a bowl, and dump the beans and thickest goo into the food processor. Add about half the oil and tahini your recipe calls for, then thin it out with remaining pot liquor. If what you want is a little bit of larager bean chunks (as Cogentesque was saying) then just keep aside some of your beans and toss them in at the end.

Flavorings - if you're at the ethnic grocery and see european style hot red pepper paste, get it. (Turkish biber salcasi but I think there's also a slavic thing that's very similar) It's very flavorful, a little spicy, and about 2 tablespoons flavors a big batch of hummus and turns it a lovely pink color. It's similar to roasted red papper hummus but (a) a slight kick, and (b) you don't have to roast the peppers. With the bonus, you get a big jar of pepper paste, also delicious as a spread, on sandwiches, a spoonful in soups and sauces, etc.
posted by aimedwander at 8:25 AM on January 20, 2012

The best hummus I've ever had was made with pumpkin and a touch of nutmeg. Naturally, canned pumpkin is easiest, but baking any winter squash would probably be delightful.
Maybe a little less tahini and an avocado.
I also love Harissa pepper paste together with hummus.

And now I want to do a hummus challenge. Wasabi hummus sounds delicious.
posted by montaigneisright at 9:19 AM on January 20, 2012

Has anyone mentioned the trick to silkier hummus? It's not a flavor or standard recipe thing, but if you take your chickpeas and heat them right before pureeing--even if they just come drained from a can and get zapped a minute or two in the microwave--your hummus will be less gritty. The tip's from Melissa Clark (and Cook's Illustrated also got the word out), and it does work. Now, some people LIKE hummus gritty, so you may not like this trick, but if you like it silky and light, fluffy, this will help.

And it may be blasphemy but the best hummus I've ever had was from a woman who had a stall at the market, and it was unrecognizable as hummus because it had a lot of black bean thrown into the mix so it was dark. It was addictive though, man. Lots of cumin of course.
posted by ifjuly at 12:06 PM on January 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, and Saveur just posted a recipe for unusual hummus, though I haven't tried it yet so can't vouch, but it had a ton of pine nuts and fancy mushrooms (Chicken of the Woods ones, IIRC). Let's
posted by ifjuly at 12:08 PM on January 20, 2012

If you don't have an industrial food processor a trick to get the texture of silk is to submerge the chickpeas in cold water after cooking and then rub them together with your hands. This will remove the outer skin. This is not recommended for healthy hummus as you are taking away a bit of the fiber but it does work for texture. If your eating it every day perhaps some variation will be nice.

You need to have the water deep enough so the skins float to the surface and be scooped off. They look like little chickpea ghosts bobbing about. This was taught to me by a Lebanese woman who knew a thing or two about hummus. Also seconding the soaking and dried beans ONLY with baking soda.
posted by camerasforeyes at 1:53 PM on January 20, 2012

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