Some people are fanatical about their hummus. On any given day, if you open their refrigerator you will find (at the very least) one round tub of hummus. Now they may have a favorite brand or any old hummus might do, but there must be hummus. Me? I go through phases where hummus and I are attached at the hip, and then there are times I even forget that this versatile dip is in existence. But when I make this homemade version? It is always on my mind and I really can't stop eating it, which is good, because this recipe makes a lot of hummus.
Eating hummus is a fantastic way to get protein, since the smooth, creamy facade disguises a base that is pure bean. Call it garbanzo or call it chick pea, it will always be a bean and an easy, healthy, and quick way to load up on protein. If you have resolutions for eating well in the new year, hummus is a fantastic choice. As I mentioned the beans provide a significant source of protein and also fiber, and hummus is also high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and iron. It is extremely versatile and can be served as a dip with vegetables or flatbread; take it in your lunch with some celery, cucumbers, or carrots, or serve it as part of a more traditional Mediterranean mezze platter. Better yet, spread it on bread with some turkey, lettuce, and tomato, and you have a delicious sandwich for lunch (at least I thought it was delicious, that is what I ate for lunch today!).
Now here is the thing: I would encourage you to make your own hummus at home for two reasons. First, purchasing tub after tub of hummus can get pricey, and don't we all have better things we would like to spend our money on? You can buy a bag of chick peas for about $2. (I like Ziyad brand. They are beautiful.) This will make the equivalent of about 8 small containers of hummus, not kidding. Second, you should make your own hummus because it will ultimately be more healthy. There are no preservatives, but what I like most is that you can control the fat. Some store-bought hummus is advertised to consumers as 'healthy' but really harbors an shocking amount of fat. Homemade hummus has fat too, in the form of olive oil, but when you make it yourself you can control it.
So let me tell you how to make homemade hummus. You can eat it all yourself or share it with friends. I would encourage sharing.
The recipe is below, but there are 3 basic steps.
1.) Buy chickpeas. Sort through them to remove the bad and blemished ones. In a typical bag there won't be many. Soak the chickpeas in water to soften them.
Get rid of those bad chicks.
Chickpeas before and after soaking. Can you see the difference?
2.) Put the rehydrated chicpeas in a big pot with water. Boil them until soft, and drain the water again. After boiling, remove some of the white filmy skins on the beans. You won't be able to remove them all and will get frustrated. Move on to step 3.
This is what the chickpea skin looks like. After cooking, some of the beans will look like they are shedding their skin like snakes. I bet the beans taste better than snakes, though I have no proof to back up this statement.
3.) Put the drained beans into a food processor or blender with some cooking water, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and salt. Blend until smooth. The end.
The only catch to making homemade hummus is that you definitely need either a food processor, a blender, or an immersion blender. When I make mine I start with a blender, and finish with the immersion blender to make my hummus more smooth. I made this for my parents and used their food processor and that resulted in the most smooth version.
Either way, you must accept the fact that homemade hummus will never be baby-bottom smooth like factory-processed hummus. Mostly, this is because of the skins on the beans, and personally, I'm cool with that. It lets me know the stuff is homemade and the authentic flavor more than makes up for any textural inconsistencies (as small as they are anyway).
And while we are on the topic of taste, I should mention that this particular recipe of mine has a lovely bright lemony flavor, with just the right hint of garlic. The tahini runs interference in the background, but but I would say the lemon predominates. The amount of oil and water I use ensures this hummus is rich and not chalky, but is also not too heavy (read: is not laden with hidden fats).
Without sounding too pompous, everyone loves this hummus. A large batch of homemade hummus is perfect for sharing with family and friends, and that is exactly what you should do. So far I have shared this hummus with:
-A big group of friends for a thank-you party.
-My mom and dad.
-My sister and her boyfriend. He thinks this hummus is "The Bomb."
-My Aunt Brenda and Uncle Jeff.
-My friends Ana and John and their 2-year old daughter Karolina.
-....Who will be added to the list next?
Start your own list. Share healthy, delicious food with family and friends in the new year, and begin with hummus.
**Want to make more homemade food? Look for my recipe for Easy Italian Flatbread this weekend, it is amazing with this hummus.
**I also just added the option to subscribe to The Cilantropist by email! If you would like to get my posts and recipes delivered right to your inbox, just enter your email address in the subscription box on the right. There will be no funny business or strange ads coming to you, just great food and great stories, Cilantropist style. I would love to stay connected with you so please sign up!
How to Make Homemade Hummus from Dried Chickpeas
You can make this recipe over the course of one day or over three days, although most of the time is hands off; the dried beans need to soak in water for at least 10 hours to soften, they cook for 45 minutes to an hour unattended, and then you can go straight to making your hummus. For soaking, you have options: You can put the beans in water before you leave for work, and after work finish the cooking and make the hummus. I usually soak the beans for a full 24 hours, because that works best for my schedule. You can also soak the beans, and then refrigerate them for up to a day before cooking. Once the beans are cooked I would recommend making the hummus immediately because the warm beans are broken down easiest and make the smoothest hummus.
1 lb dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans*
1/2 cup lemon juice, from about 4 large juicy lemons
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 tbsp + 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
Special Equipment: A food processor, blender, or immersion blender
Place all your chickpeas in a large bowl, sort through them and discard any blemished or bad ones. Blemished chickpeas are those that are cracked, have dark brown spots, or have extremely dry, shriveled surfaces (see photo above). Add enough water to the large bowl to cover the chickpeas by at least 2 inches. Cover the bowl and let stand for at least 10 hours and up to 24 hours.
After soaking, drain the water from the chickpeas, and transfer them to a large heavy pot. (For reasons unknown to me, the chickpeas stink at this point. Do not be alarmed.) Fill the pot with water to cover the chickpeas by at least 1 inch, add a pinch of salt, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. As the chickpeas start to come to a boil, the top of the water will become covered with white foam; use a spoon to remove the foam and any other impurities that rise to the surface of the water. After the chickpeas come to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Test the chickpeas for doneness by taking a few out of the pot and eating them or smashing them between your fingers. They should be soft, and not have any tough spots in the center.
Once the beans are cooked, drain the water but reserve at least 3/4 cup cooking water. Let the beans cool for a few minutes until you can comfortably touch them, and sort through to see if you can remove any skins from the beans. The skin will look like white film, and if it is going to come off easily, you can just pinch it off with your fingers. For many beans, the skin will not come off. Don't stress, but do spend at least five minutes trying to remove some skins if you can; the more skins you can remove, the smoother your hummus will be.
Next, transfer your chickpeas to a food processor (you can also use a blender at this step, just be sure to make sure you have enough liquid so your blender does not overwork/overheat). Add the 3/4 reserved cooking water, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Process until the chickpeas are broken down, then add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, the tahini, the garlic and the salt. Continue to process the hummus until it is relatively smooth; this may take some time, depending on how soft your beans are, and whether you are using a food processor or a blender. Use your judgement, and taste and touch the hummus to determine when it is ready:
-For taste: The amounts for garlic, salt, tahini, and lemon that I have provided above are to my taste. Adjust ingredients as fits your taste. You may add more oil to make the hummus taste more 'rich' but keep in mind this will also impact that texture.
-For texture: The hummus should be as smooth as is reasonably attainable, and should creamy but not runny. Hummus has a certain thickness, but it could never hold form like pate or cream cheese. Run a finger through the hummus. The gap from your finger should hold its shape, or should run together ever so slightly. If the hummus seems too thick or chalky, add more olive oil or reserved cooking water. If it seems too thin or watery, you can attempt to add more tahini, but unfortunately the only real fix is to add in more solids (ie more chickpeas).
Keep hummus refrigerated until serving, and top with pine nuts, chopped tomatoes, or chopped herbs if desired.
*Although there are many recipes out there for homemade hummus using canned chickpeas, I have never tested this particular recipe using them. I have tried another recipe using canned beans, but honestly, it didn't taste nearly as good as this one so I never made it again. Feel free to experiment!