Classic Hummus

My brother recently bought 64 ounces of tahini.  64 ounces.  Do you know how much tahini that is?  Evidently, I’m not the only one in my family who makes hummus at home.  And, evidently, I have a brother with way too much cupboard space.

Now, can we talk a little more about tahini?  It is a mess!  Correction: it is a mess for ME to use.  Because I get frustrated while stirring it and end up spilling it all over the place and uttering some unkind words under my breath (or out loud, but I try to keep things civilized depending on my audience at the moment).  The bottom is super thick and the top is thin oil, so you have to somehow stir the unmovable bottom into the thin, liquid top.  Ridiculous.  Let’s just say that it’s a good thing the final product is so delicious.

Hummus tastes best when you eat it the day after you make it.  It just gives the flavors time to work together and become friends.  So, if possible, make it the day before you plan on serving it.

Classic Hummus
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1 can chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beans), drained with liquid reserved
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp tahini, well stirred (it’s a sesame paste that can usually be found either near the peanut butter or in the “ethnic” aisle of the grocery store)
3-4 Tbsp lemon juice depending on how much you like lemon
5 shakes of hot sauce
1/2 tsp salt, more for taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on top
Paprika for topping

In a food processor, process the chickpeas and garlic until they are almost ground.  Add in the tahini, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, pepper flakes, and olive oil and pulse until everything is combined.  Pulse in the reserved chickpea liquid (slowly!) until you get the consistency that you like.  The more liquid you use, the creamier – and thinner – it will be.

At this point, if possible, refrigerate the hummus in an airtight container overnight. 

Transfer to a bowl and top with olive oil and paprika.  Serve with pita bread, veggies, tortilla chips, or whatever else you happen to enjoy!

Source: adapted pretty loosely from Cook’s Illustrated (May/June 2008)

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  1. Yeah but I bet he got a great deal. I like hummus too but Grandpa eats it a couple times a day and he goes through a LOT. Store bought. Yours is much better I’m sure. n ps I might make it if I had a cute audience like you have to entertain. How did she scratch her face?

  2. You and Jake made my acquisition of all that tahini possible! Thanks again!

    I’ve tried a lot of tahini and Joya is by far the worst. Whole Foods has a number of better options.

    Also, dried garbanzo beans are pretty cheap and easy to cook in a slow cooker. You can also avoid all the sodium from canned beans.

    I also like to spice up my hummus with green olives or jarred jalapeño peppers.

    • I went to Whole Foods and that was the only tahini they had! I need to do my shopping on Amazon for more selection.

      I’m always throwing other stuff in, too. We love kalamata olives!

  3. Lindsay, I TOTALLY identify with your tahini frustration and I have such happy news for you! I have discovered the fix. Make your own!!! I just discovered this recently and it’s wonderful. All you need is sesame seeds and olive oil. Your life will be changed forever. (You can read the technique with my recent hummus post on
    Let me know if you try it!

  4. yes yes! this is how a good hummus is to be made. I really feel sad for people who get it wrong because its so easy and its human right to get right hummus in life :-) You might be interested in soemthing called Fatteh hummus on my blog – Its like the father of basic hummus

    P.S. Love the picture

  5. Your brother should share the tahini love. Seriously. Just saying. And I spill tahini everywhere too. I like to think it makes the finished product taste better. Blood, sweat, and elbow grease, right?

    Totally trying this recipe and the pictures are great!

  6. A gallon of tahini!! Oh, my. Hummus looks great- I think I’ll make some for lunch today.


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