Mmmm Hummus

Included recipes: Basic Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Cilantro-Lime Hummus, Kalamata Hummus

Hummus is everything. Okay, some hyperbole there but not too far off. It’s a high protein/high fiber delicious side to a meal, served on warm pita or naan wedges or slice of whole wheat toast. It’s a great addition to sandwiches and burgers. It’s my favorite snack noshed with carrot chips – seriously, the spicy hummus (the way I make it anyway) enhances the sweetness of the carrots and there’s a satisfying crunchy/creamy yum with every bite. I’m addicted.

There are many good reasons to enjoy hummus for its nutritional value alone. It’s so cool to know that what seems a delightfully indulgent snack is actually a healthy one we can – and even should – enjoy every day. I keep it in the fridge most all the time. It is so quick, easy, and inexpensive to make there’s no excuse not to. It’s also fun. Basic hummus is kind of a blank canvas that you can paint any way you want by adding different ingredients and/or spices. I’ve seen that it’s quite freezable but have never had any left long enough to try it.

There is one piece of kitchen equipment essential to make homemade hummus: a food processor. It doesn’t have to be a big one. In fact, one of my favorite and most-used appliances is my trusty mini-processor. It does the job beautifully, whirring that hummus to creamy perfection. It also chops/minces garlic, onions, etc.; chops cilantro and other fresh herbs; whirs homemade salad dressings; finely chops ham to make deviled ham; makes a quick, creamy guacamole… totally worth the small investment. Also small enough to live on the counter for quick and easy accessibility. (Have I mentioned that I’m really lazy efficient?)

Quick Basic Hummus

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (shortcut: use bottled lemon juice) = 9 cal
  • 1/4 cup tahini (or substitute peanut butter – it’s amazeballs!) = 267 cal
  • 1 TBS olive oil = 119
  • 2 cloves garlic = 10 cal
  • 1 – 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed = 385 cal
  • salt

Total 790 calories; makes about 1-1/2 cups of hummus. A serving of 3 TBS (1/4 cup) = 132 cal. Or heck, double it, count it, and enjoy a very filling and satisfying boost to get through the rest of your afternoon. It’s GOOD for you!

To Make:

  1. Toss the garlic, tahini (or peanut butter), lemon juice, and olive oil in the processor.
  2. Whir gently to start so you don’t squirt lemon juice all over. (Ask me how I know this.) Once blended, whir on high for a minute or so to get it all whipped and creamy.
  3. Add the drained, rinsed chickpeas. Whir for a minute or two to get it smooth and creamy.
  4. Salt to taste.

That’s it, basic hummus. But don’t stop there! It’s just getting fun. Let your Zen flag fly (Be One With Your Chickpeas!) with one of the following variations or come up with your own. No rules!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

  • Basic hummus recipe
  • 2 red bell peppers OR 1 jar roasted red peppers (quickie version)
  • 1 TBS cumin (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

To make Roasted Red Peppers:

  1. Cut peppers lengthwise in half; remove seeds and veins.
  2. Place skin-side up on parchment paper under oven broiler or in toaster oven set at 450.
  3. Roast until skin is all blistered and partly charred, 20-30 minutes in a toaster oven. Probably faster under oven broiler so pay attention to this one.
  4. Immediately place roasted peppers in a bowl with a tight lid or covered with plastic wrap to steam.
  5. When cooled, remove the skin – it will slip right off.

To make Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (shown in the featured picture above):

  1. Chop some of the roasted red peppers, either fresh roasted or from a jar, for garnish. Set aside. (Really. Do this. It’s so pretty!)
  2. Add the remaining peppers (or the equivalent of 2 peppers if using from a jar) to the basic hummus in the processor bowl.
  3. Whir until the peppers are fully incorporated and smooth.
  4. Add cumin and cayenne to taste. Be generous if you like bold flavors and a spicy little kick.

Cilantro-Lime Hummus

  • Basic hummus recipe
  • substitute lime juice for the lemon juice
  • chopped jalapeno peppers (use canned – fresh will burn off your lips)
  • chopped cilantro
  • spices such as cumin and/or chili powder as desired, or not

Try substituting this for refried beans with your next taco or enchilada dinner. Use instead of refried beans on a tostada with lettuce, tomatoes, grilled chicken, and salsa to make kick-butt chalupas!

Kalamata Hummus

  • Basic hummus recipe
  • Kalamata olives (chop finely but stir, don’t whir in hummus to avoid a funky color)
  • Fresh oregano
  • Chopped red onions to garnish

Hummus, whichever version you love best, is an excellent addition to any party table with veggie dippers and pita chips. Great for pot-lucks with naan or pita wedges. Grow your karma by gifting a neighbor or co-worker a pretty container of your homemade goodness. Be a star!

As I said, hummus is everything.

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