This recipe needs to start with a public service announcement. Do not make this hummus if you want to continue your love of the store-bought stuff. Once you make this, no hummus will ever measure up. No matter the brand, it will all have a tart aftertaste and the unmistakable twang of prepackaged foods. You may want to continue in your ignorant bliss. But if you want to make amazing hummus in big batches that will provide healthy, abundant and inexpensive snacks, get ready. Life may never be the same.
Homemade hummus is one of the staples I got used to when living in New Zealand. My host mum was a single mum and nutritionist who had an amazing ability to turn pennies into dimes and dimes into dollars when it came to her food budget. She still does it. I learned so much from Paula and I miss her and her family like crazy.
You can get canned, but canned beans are much saltier and more expensive. But if you do get canned, skip the soaking steps, just give your beans a good rinse and start with half the salt when making the hummus.
It’s time for me to be vaguely scientific. See, when the beans soak, something is released. An enzyme, maybe? Whatever it is, this enzyme gives beans their…ahem…most notorious reputation. Change out that water a few times and you’ll have hummus that won’t make you gassy. So change out the water, seriously.
Now let’s forget we talked about gassiness.
After the beans are finished soaking, they will have just about doubled in size. Change that water one last time and put them on to boil. They’ll boil for two hours or so. Make sure to check on them occasionally and add more water if needed. Two hours is a lot of time to boil.
From that little $3 bag of dried chickpeas, I got an entire 9×13 cake pan of chickpeas. That’s probably $10 worth of canned chickpeas.
At this stage, you can choose your own adventure. Take Door A and you can go on to make hummus. Take Door B and, after letting the chickpeas cool, put them in freezer bags and freeze them for later. The amount of chickpeas I boiled is enough for almost three batches of hummus.
Today, we’re taking the plunge to Door A!
First, we need to take a break from chickpea business to talk about roasting the bell peppers. Roast the peppers while your chickpeas are finishing up boiling or when you’re ready to make hummus. Red, yellow or orange peppers will work.
You can roast peppers in the broiler, directly on the burners of a gas stove, or on the grill. It gets messy, so I recommend the broiler or the grill.
It’s easy. Just grab some whole red bell peppers (or capsicum, as they’re called in some countries), one and a half or two per batch of hummus. Give them a rinse and put them on to roast. I used the broiler.
The peppers will get completely blackened on one side. That’s a good thing. Turn them occasionally until all the sides are blackened and blistered beyond recognition.
This is a beautiful sight.
The skin will easily peel off to reveal perfectly roasted peppers.
Give the peppers a rinse to make sure all the burned bits are gone. Now you can easily just pull away the flesh from the seeds and stem. Rinse the insides to make sure all the seeds are gone.
Hummus aside, roasting peppers is, in my humble opinion, an essential cooking skill. Now that it’s in your arsenal, you can make roasted pepper dips, sauces, soups and anything else you want. If you ever want to be extra fancy, blend up a roasted pepper with a half stick of room-temp butter and some salt and cumin. Stick it in the fridge to harden back and serve little scoops on steaks. The butter and the peppers seep into the steak. People will give your dinner a standing ovation and then they’ll write a poem about you.
Back to the hummus. Get the garlic, lots of it. Sparkling vampires are going to stay away from you for a long time.
And lemon juice. It’s a lot of lemon juice, so I use the bottled stuff. You’ll also get olive oil and salt. Don’t use expensive olive oil for this. Blend it all up in a food processer.
Now you have a bright yellow lemony, olive oily, garlicy base. Keep your eye on the hummus prize and resist the urge to stop here and put this on pasta.
In goes half the chickpeas. Blend until you have a nice, smooth mix. Add the second half of the chickpeas. Mix again. Now it should look like hummus.
Unless you have an industrial food processor, your hummus will never have the smooth, paste-like quality of store-bought hummus. The good news is that the people making hummus for the past two thousand years didn’t have industrial food processors either. This rustic texture is closer to the real deal.
Now it’s time for the tahini. Tahini is the sesame seed version of peanut butter. It provides a wonderful texture and flavor to hummus. You can find it in most natural food stores in the aisle with the nut butters.
Add the roasted red pepper and mix up again. This is where you’ll add water if you need it. I’ve never needed to add water when making roasted red pepper hummus because the peppers are so watery. But if your hummus is too thick, add a quarter cup of water to start with.
Serve hummus with veggies, pretzels – these are Glutino Gluten-Free Pretzels – spread on sandwiches, or heck, just eat with a spoon.
Get creative and make your own flavors! Nix the bell peppers and add extra parsley for traditional hummus. Make jalapeño hummus or pesto hummus or kalamata olive hummus or roasted garlic hummus.
Go forth and hummus your world.
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cups of raw chickpeas)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 4-6 garlic cloves, whole
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4-1/2 cup water (if needed)
- 1/2 tsp cumin (more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (more to taste)
- 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1.5 roasted red, yellow or orange peppers
- Soak chickpeas overnight, changing the water several times. Once they're soaked, change the water again and boil for 2 - 3 hours, or until soft.
- Roast red bell peppers in broiler, grill or on a gas stove burner until each side is blistered and burned. Use at least one-and-a-half bell peppers per batch of roasted red pepper hummus. Once cooled, peel the skin off and remove the seeds and stem. Rinse the peppers.
- Blend the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic until incorporated. Add one-and-half cups of the cooked chickpeas and blend until smooth. Add the remaining chickpeas and blend again.
- Add tahini and red bell peppers and mix again. Add water if the hummus is too thick. Add the spices, blend and taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Enjoy as a dip or spread! Make several batches at once and freeze in containers for ready-to-go snacks.
- In the refrigerator, hummus will last about a week.
- Be inventive with your flavors. Some of my favorites are plain, sun-dried tomato and kalamata olives.