Fresh, creamy hummus is hard to beat – and you don’t need to buy a tub from the shops to enjoy it. Here’s how to make your own at home.
Some days, we have the motivation required to spend a lot of time on cooking. But occasionally, we’re content to graze the whole day long: on cold slice of leftover savoury tart, a satisfyingly chewy bagel toasted to perfection, or a mug filled with crunchy sticks of raw carrot, cucumber and red pepper.
When that mood strikes, it’s always a good idea to have a flavoursome dip to hand – and a pot of rich, creamy hummus is unbeatable. Happily, the Middle Eastern classic is also incredibly easy to make with store cupboard ingredients, and tastes infinitely better than the supermarket version.
Traditionally made using chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil, hummus has endless potential for flavour-packed remixes. So, in the interest of helping out low-maintenance cooks everywhere, we’re sharing three delicious hummus recipes below.
Like classic hummus? You’ll love Ronen Givon and Christian Mouysset’s recipe, topped with a helping of slow-cooked chickpeas (because you can never have too many). Fans of sprightly, summery flavours will adore Annie Rigg’s green hummus with minted lemony peas and halloumi, which makes for a perfect warm-weather lunch. And if you enjoy richness and spice, try Greg and Lucy Malouf’s red pepper hummus recipe, made using chilli, pomegranate molasses and spring onions.
Tortilla chips, breadsticks and warm bread at the ready…
Hummus with slow-cooked chickpeas recipe
Ronen Givon and Christian Mouysset say: “Don’t be deceived, though the simplest of processes, making hummus is an art form. It takes practice to get it just right, but once you do the rewards are huge. OK, so you need to remember to soak the chickpeas the day before but there really is very little involved with soaking or cooking them.
“All the ingredients are pretty inexpensive, but that said, do try to find the best tahini (sesame paste), as your hummus will taste so much better. The following recipe is for quite a large quantity, but it stores well for up to three days in the fridge and it’s quickly eaten by the average household. If you like, the recipe is easily halved.
“The cooking time may vary; old chickpeas will take longer to cook than this season’s crop. You’re aiming for very very soft chickpeas, it doesn’t matter if they break up as they’re going to be blitzed anyway. if in doubt, simply scoop out a few chickpeas, throw them at the wall and if they stick, they’re ready!”
To prep: 15 minutes
To soak: 12 hours, or overnight
To cook: 1–11/2 hours
For the hummus:
- 500g/1lb dried chickpeas
- 1.2 litres/2 pints cold water
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 300g tahini
- juice of 2 lemons
- sea salt, to taste
For the slow-cooked chickpea topping:
- 250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
- 700ml/1¼ pints cold water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp ground cumin seeds
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- tahini sauce
- sea salt
- paprika, to taste
- chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for sprinkling
To make the hummus, tip the chickpeas into a bowl and cover with plenty of cold water (they will expand as they soak). Cover and leave to soak – there’s no need to refrigerate them – for 12 hours, or overnight. Soak your chickpeas for the slow-cooked topping at the same time in a separate bowl. There aren’t any shortcuts to this, just aim to put them to soak the day before you need them.
Drain the hummus chickpeas and put into a medium saucepan. Pour in the fresh measured cold water so that the water only covers the chickpeas by about 2cm (¾in). Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, then bring the water to the boil. Don’t be tempted to add salt at this stage as it can make the chickpeas tough. Keep a watchful eye as it comes to the boil as it can easily boil over.
Skim off scum, if liked, with a slotted spoon. Cook over a medium heat for 1–1½ hours until the chickpeas are very soft. If the water level seems to be going down too quickly then partially cover the pan with a lid to help reduce evaporation, but don’t cover the top completely or the pan will boil over. Keep an eye on the water level and top up with a little extra boiling water from the kettle if needed, especially towards the end of cooking.
Stir from time to time, stirring more towards the end of cooking, as the chickpeas take on a soupy texture as there is less water in the pan.
Once cooked, drain the liquid if there is a lot, but don’t throw it away – keep it for later to adjust the consistency. Spread the chickpeas over the surface of a large roasting tin and leave to cool.
You should have about 1.25kg/2lb cooked chickpeas. Purée in batches with any liquid from the roasting tin in a food processor, adding the tahini, lemon juice and salt to taste until you have a creamy, velvety smooth consistency. Adjust the consistency with some of the reserved cooking liquid or water. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your machine. Make sure it’s nice and thick, but smooth with no lumps.
Transfer the hummus to a large plastic container, spread it level, then press on a well-fitting lid. Chill until needed.
To make the slow-cooked chickpea topping, drain the soaked chickpeas, put into a medium saucepan and pour in the water so that the chickpeas are covered by about 2cm/¾in. Add the oil and cumin and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum, if liked, then partially cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for 40–60 minutes until the chickpeas are tender but still a good shape. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl to catch the cooking liquid.
Spread the hummus over 4 serving plates and make a small well in the middle. Add a few spoonfuls of chickpeas to each well. Dress each portion with lots of olive oil, lemon juice and tahini sauce, then season to taste. Moisten with some of the reserved cooking liquid, if necessary and top with a little paprika and chopped parsley.
Tip: quarter a white onion and soak in a bowl of water for 30 minutes. Drain and peel off the individual layers, then use to scoop up the hummus and chickpeas.
From Hummus to Halva: Recipes from a Levantine Kitchen by Ronen Givon and Christian Mouysset (£12.99, Pavilion Books), out now
Green hummus with minted lemony peas and halloumi recipe
Annie Rigg says: “You can use either edamame or broad beans in this vibrant green hummus, but if using broad beans, do double-pod them after cooking. This is a light supper or lunch dish that can be made more substantial by serving some dolmades or falafel alongside.”
- 175g peas (frozen is fine)
- 75g podded edamame or broad beans
- 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 rounded tbsp tahini
- grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped mint, plus 1–2 tbsp shredded mint leaves
- 40g pistachios, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp za’atar
- 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves or pea shoots
- 4 baby cucumbers, quartered
- 250g block halloumi cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- toasted flat breads and pickled chillies, to serve
Start by making the hummus. It can be prepared ahead and chilled until needed. Cook the peas in boiling salted water for 1–2 minutes; remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and cool quickly under cold running water.
Cook the edamame (or podded broad beans) in the same pan for 1 minute, drain and cool in the same way. Tip 75g peas and all of the beans into a food processor, add the drained chickpeas, chopped garlic, tahini and juice of ½ lemon. Add 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and blend until almost smooth. Add the chopped herbs and blend again.
Taste and add more lemon juice and seasoning if needed. Spoon onto a serving platter, cover and chill until ready to serve.
Tip the remaining peas into a bowl, add the zest and juice of ½ lemon, the remaining 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and the shredded mint. Season and mix to combine.
Drizzle the hummus with a little more extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and za’atar, and spoon the minted peas alongside.
Arrange the leaves and quartered cucumbers on the platter.
Remove the halloumi from its packaging, pat dry on kitchen paper and cut into 12 slices. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the halloumi and fry quickly until golden brown on one side, then turn and cook the other side. You may need to cook the halloumi in batches depending on the size of your pan.
Place the hot halloumi on the platter and serve with toasted flat breads and pickled green chillies.
From Eat More Veg by Annie Rigg (£14.99, National Trust Books), out now
Spicy red hummus recipe
Greg and Lucy Malouf say: “Adding spicy red pepper paste is a great way to liven up hummus. For the very best result, try to achieve as smooth a purée as you can. It’s worth getting the blades of your food processor sharpened for this alone!”
- 400g tin chickpeas, well rinsed and drained
- 30g tahini, well stirred
- 30g Turkish red pepper paste (use good-quality Turkish red pepper paste, which is available from specialist food stores or make your own, using the recipe below)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 30ml olive oil
- 2 ice cubes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- juice of 1–1 ½ lemons
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chickpeas, tahini, red pepper paste and cumin. Whiz to as smooth a purée as you can.
Dribble in the oil very slowly, until all is incorporated. Add the ice cubes and continue blending until they have melted. Add the salt, pepper and lemon juice, then taste, and adjust the balance of flavours. Add a little more red pepper paste, lemon juice or seasonings, as necessary.
Turkish red pepper paste recipe
Makes around 450g (1lb)
- 3 red peppers, left whole
- 3 long red chillies, deseeded (or use smaller hot red chillies, if you’re brave)
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
- 2 tablespoons shredded mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 spring onions (scallions), finely diced
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- vegetable oil, to seal
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking tray with foil.
Roast the red peppers for 10 minutes, by which time they should be starting to brown. Turn them over in the tray and add the long red chillies. Roast for a further 10 minutes, or until the skins of both peppers and chillies are blistered and charred. Be careful not to let the chillies dry out too much. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
When cool enough to handle, peel away the skins from the peppers and pull out the seeds and membranes. Roughly chop the peppers and tip into the bowl of a food processor. Use a sharp knife to scrape the flesh of the chillies away from their skins – this is easier than trying to peel them.
Add the chilli flesh to the food processor, together with the remaining ingredients. Pulse, in short bursts, to a fairly smooth puree, then taste and adjust the balance of salt and lemon if necessary.
Spoon the paste into a sterilised jar and cover the surface with a thin film of flavourless oil. If you’re not eating it straight away, store in the fridge where it will keep for up to 1 week.
From New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian by Greg and Lucy Malouf (£20, Hardie Grant), out now
Photography: Karen Thomas; Nassima Rothacker; Alan Benson
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.