When I opened my lunch box in elementary school, classmates would eye it for strange cargo. My mother often packed Middle Eastern leftovers, and kids teased me for bringing in "weird" food like hummus.
I felt bad for the kids that teased me. They were the picky eaters that brought the same PBJ and carrot sticks daily, and I knew they were missing out. Ironically, these kids would grow up to shell our six bucks for a tiny tub of hummus at Whole Foods.
And they're still missing out. Hummus is one of those foods that have an astronomical retail cost, compared to the real price of making it yourself. And it requires zero cooking! When you make it fresh, it's not only delicious. You have so much more control over the flavor and consistency.
Here's how Palestinians make this basic staple:
- 1 can of chick peas
- A little chick pea can juice
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1 tablespoon of tahina sauce
- 2 garlic cloves
- Salt to taste
- olive oil (optional)
- paprika (optional)
Hummus recipe instructions
- Drain the can of chick peas but save a little of the water in a bowl
- Place all ingredients (except chick pea juice, olive oil and paprika) in a food processor and blend
- If the mixture seems dry, add a little bit of chick pea juice
- Taste, and if the mix needs a little zest, add extra lemon, salt or garlic
- If you want to add more tahina to taste, feel free
- If you'd like to make a better presentation, place the hummus in a beautiful bowl, take the back of a spoon and smooth it out
- Make a small dip in the top of the hummus, and pour in a shallow puddle of olive oil
- Dust with paprika for color
And that's it! Once you get comfortable making the zestiest hummus in town (I always use extra garlic) you can get comfortable playing with the recipe. Next time you're blending, you can experiment with a range of tasty add-ons. Just toss the below options into the food processor for flavor and color.
Delicious hummus variations
- Roasted red pepper
- Pine nuts
- Bell peppers
- Cooked peas
- Spring onions
- Cooked carrots
- Beets (pictured above)
It's easy, it's fresh and it's healthy. Bon appetit, or as they say in Arabic, "Sahtein!"