No-tahini hummus that tastes as close as possible to classic hummus?
August 16, 2013 8:22 AM   Subscribe

My daughter will have a sesame-allergic child in her kindergarten class, so I can't make her my usual hummus for lunches. I would like a substitute for tahini that results in a hummus that is the most like classic hummus (chick peas, tahini, olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt) for taste and texture -- the best would be if she doesn't realize it's any different. Any suggestions?
posted by palliser to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Substitute cashew butter for the tahini?
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:24 AM on August 16, 2013

I'd try almond butter or yellow lentils.
posted by tilde at 8:25 AM on August 16, 2013

Do you know if the kid has any other nut allergies? I would suggest substituting peanut butter/almond butter/other nut butter, but I'd be concerned she'd be just as allergic.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:26 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, duh, I was trying not to clutter up the question and left out the SLIGHTLY IMPORTANT DETAIL that no peanuts or tree nuts are allowed, either. Sorry!
posted by palliser at 8:26 AM on August 16, 2013

I don't care too much for tahini and usually just add more beans for thickness. That and extra garlic, but I don't know how well that would go over. Maybe roasted garlic?
posted by MayNicholas at 8:30 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

yeah, you are sorta screwed then. Is soy ok? You could try some really mild miso and see how that comes out for a little umami?
posted by JPD at 8:31 AM on August 16, 2013

I would try substituting sunflower seed butter. I've had the Trader Joe's one, which is tasty, but I believe is sweetened.
posted by domnit at 8:31 AM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

The tahini adds nuttiness, which is obviously tough to do with that severe an allergy. (I mean, wow.)

I would toast some chickpeas, then grind and blend with oil (neutral or olive) to make sort of a chickpea-tahini. You'd just add a little toastiness. I don't think the tahini does much for texture (beyond chickpeas and oil) if you're blending it all well enough.

See Serious Eats on "Extra-Smooth Hummus".
posted by supercres at 8:33 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have a sesame allergy and I just leave the tahini out of hummus. Like MayNicholas, I just add a bit more beans.
posted by kate blank at 8:36 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure you need to substitute anything for the tahini. I too am allergic to sesame and there is a no tahini hummus that Trader Joe's sells. IIRC, there is nothing in place of the tahini on the ingredients list, and it definitely tastes like hummus to me. (Could be that I just deal with it because I can't have the real stuff, but it is still darn tasty.)
posted by emkelley at 8:36 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I use a bit of yogurt instead of tahini when I make hummus.
posted by third rail at 8:41 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

you can toast chickpea flour in a pan, which brings out a really nutty scent. then mix with a little water to make a batter with similar consistency to tahini.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 8:43 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

From a texture perspective, the tahini is giving you fat that's solid but soft at room temperature. Coconut oil would do that for you, and the flavor is pretty subtle. You'd use a lot less than you do tahini currently - I'd start at a tablespoon and adjust from there.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:50 AM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'd just skip the tahini and make sure you get the skins off the peas/beans for smoothness!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2013

I never add tahini to any hummous that I make and I don't miss it. I just make hummous from Chick peas
Olive oil
Lemon Juice
Flavouring (ie roast peppers garlic sundried tomato carmelised onion coriander rosemary)

I see the chickpeas and everything else merely as a way of diluting the flavouring and making something that you can dip into. You wouldn't want to eat a cracer with some rosepary on it, but rosemary hummous is rather nice. I would try the sundried tomato homemade stuff and see if the kiddo likes it and if so you're all set.
posted by koolkat at 9:01 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

I know one brand in our area doesn't use tahini but does add some feta cheese.
posted by Area Man at 9:13 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

1. Remove the skins from the cooked chickpeas - you can do this by holding a chickpea between your thumb and index finger and lightly squeezing. The skin will slide off. This will make your hummus much more creamy.

2. Use extra olive oil in place of the nut/seed butter. Like, I probably use AT LEAST 1/2 cup for a 15-oz can of chickpeas.
posted by joan_holloway at 9:15 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Edamame! Experiment with how much to add, but it should give it a little extra yum to replace the tahini.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:56 AM on August 16, 2013

Yes, just use more olive oil.
posted by jbenben at 10:44 AM on August 16, 2013

Please don't use coconut oil without checking with the teacher or parent. Some people with nut allergies are allergic to coconuts.

And add me to the list of people who just leaves out the tahini.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:36 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Buy some soynut butter. (Presumably soy isn't verboten, right?) WalMart carries some, as do various supermarket chains. We've bought the I.M. Healthy brand, and it tastes sufficiently nutty that I, with a nut allergy, am not comfortable eating it by itself, because my brain goes oh shit oh shit yer gonna die. (NB have not died.)

When you make your hummus, start with about half as much soybutter as you would normally use tahini--my experience is that the flavor is much stronger, but otherwise very similar.
posted by MeghanC at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2013

No idea if this would work, but nutritional yeast has kind of a nutty taste to it. You could try sprinkling a little into the hummus.
posted by ainsley at 12:52 PM on August 16, 2013

My first choice for flavor would be sunflower seed butter. My first choice for convenience would be good Greek yogurt. What you're looking for is some extra fat and emulsifying power.

If both of those are out for some reason, you can get the same smoothness and added richness with roasted eggplant and extra olive oil. Use the same roasting procedure as for baba ghanoush: roast or grill the whole eggplant until the skin is nearly blackened and nicely smoky-smelling, peel off the skin or scrape out the insides, add to the chickpeas in the food processor with some extra olive oil. As a bonus, it gives it a wonderful smoky flavor that I love.

Alternatively, if you can find baba ghanoush in a can without tahini, or any roasted eggplant puree, you can add that directly.

Trader Joe's sells a version of this that they call Eggplant Hummus, but it tastes mostly like tahini.
posted by WasabiFlux at 1:49 PM on August 16, 2013

Thanks, everyone -- I'll start by trying sunflower seed butter, since I make that anyway as a substitute for peanut butter when we are with nut-allergic friends. It is a little bitter, like tahini. Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by palliser at 4:50 PM on August 16, 2013

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