Hummus is a much adored dip in the foodie community. For a good reason – authentic Lebanese hummus is light, creamy, with a perfectly balanced flavor. I love it so much that I can eat it with just a spoon. BUT it’s also great with raw veggies, some pita bread, or with almost any savory food.
For me, hummus is something luxuriant, with a smooth, almost buttery texture, and a rich flavor pronounced by the earthiness of chickpeas, fruitiness of olive oil and brightness of fresh lemon juice. Because I love hummus so much, I used to order it almost any time I was eating out at a restaurant. But after getting disappointed too many times by a pasty and gritty, with a dull flavor hummus, I now almost exclusively make it at home.
Sometimes I recall that I grew up without hummus and I’m amazed. Hummus is such a natural kid-friendly food, but it just wasn’t around where I lived. I discovered hummus when I was studying at a university, in a small cafeteria, and lived off of it during finals. It was convenient, relatively healthy, and so delicious! I could eat a whole container in a matter of a few hours if I wasn’t careful. I must have spent fortune on that stuff.
So when I finished university, I started making my own hummus. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t spectacular either. I played around with a few recipes but just couldn’t get the texture right. So I signed up for a course called The Secrets of Middle Eastern Cuisine led by a Lebanese chef Abdel. The first time I tasted his hummus – which was sprouted, BTW – I was blown away. It was nothing like I’ve ever tasted before.
Of course I learned his secret, but I’ve been a little bit hesitant to share it with you. I thought that if I did, you would never visit my site again. I could see your eyes rolling and hitting the “unsubscribe” button from my updates as soon as I wrote it. Because, you know, the difference between a mediocre, slightly grainy, and pasty hummus and the stuff that is deeply satisfying, buttery, light and fluffy, lays in peeling the chickpeas.
Tips for Making Sprouted Hummus
While using dried chickpeas isn’t required when making cooked (non-sprouted) hummus, I always use them. Dried chickpeas have infinitely creamier and smoother texture than their canned counterparts, which can feel a little grainy and pasty. The flavor is also much different – dried chickpeas are richer, fuller, and “beanier”, with almost a nutty undertone while canned chickpeas taste a bit metallic to me. If you’re going for sprouted hummus, dried chickpeas are a must.
One ingredient you might not have in your pantry is tahini (a sesame paste). It’s earthy, slightly bitter taste adds another layer of flavor to hummus. Some hummus recipes out there downplay its importance, relying on olive oil for richness instead. I would argue that you can’t make good hummus without tahini though. I usually settle just for a store-bought organic version (although I’ve made my own in the past), and whip it into a creamy emulsion with fresh lemon juice, garlic, and a bit of olive oil.
If you’ve ever shopped for hummus, you know that there are many flavors to choose from – tomato, paprika, pepper, cayenne … However, authentic Lebanese hummus only contains ground cumin and kosher salt so that’s what I stick to.
Finally, if you prefer a thinner consistency of your hummus, don’t water it down. You can use more olive oil (which I don’t recommend) or a few tablespoons of aquafaba (the brine from cooked chickpeas).
While home cooked chickpeas aren’t a spontaneous ingredient, they don’t require much work either. All you need to do is soak the chickpeas overnight in fresh water, drain them the next day, put them in a pot with plenty of salted water, and set them over a low flame to gently simmer until done. There are many ways you can prepare dried chickpeas (soak or not to soak, cook them in the soaking liquid or discard the soaking liquid, add some baking soda or not, salt the cooking water or not …). You can check out this guide to cooking dried beans from scratch and choose the method that resonates with you the most.
I usually extend the soaking process until I see some sprouts. It’s not necessary, but I do like the higher nutritional value and better digestibility of sprouted chickpeas. If you decide to sprout the chickpeas, it’s imperative that you use organic chickpeas. Conventionally grown seeds are often irradiated, making them difficult, or even impossible to germinate. To sprout the seeds, cover them with 2-3 times the amount of water, and let them sit for 8-12 hours. Then drain the soaking water, rinse the chickpeas thoroughly, and cover them with fresh water again. Repeat this process until you see little sprouts coming out of the chickpeas. If you’ve never sprouted before, you might want to go over this guide to soaking and sprouting.
I should also mention that some people make sprouted hummus from raw chickpeas. Raw sprouted hummus tastes a bit grassy and definitely has the flavor of sprouts. So if raw sprouts aren’t your thing, you probably wouldn’t like raw hummus.
Now, back to the cooked sprouted hummus. If you love your hummus super smooth, it’s worth taking the time to pinch the skins from each chickpea. The skins should slip right off. If you don’t have time to shell the chickpeas, that’s fine. I just wanted to give you all the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way of making my fair share of hummus recipes.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 2. Cookware Set (Calphalon, Stainless Steel) | 3. Knife Set (6 Pieces, Utopia, Stainless Steel) | 4. Cutting Board (24″ x 18″, Michigan Maple Block, Maple) | 5. Mixing Bowls (Set of 3, Pyrex, Glass) | 6. Measuring Cup (4 Cups, Pyrex, Glass) | 7. Mesh Strainers (Set of 3, Cuisinart, Stainless Steel) | 8. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 9. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
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- 1 cup dried chickpeas*
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt
Sprout the dried chickpeas (check out the sprouting guide for instructions). This will take at about 3 days. For non-sprouted hummus, you can skip this step.
Place the sprouted and rinsed chickpeas into a large saucepan, cover them with water, and add baking soda. Bring to a boil, skimming surface as needed. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until chickpeas are tender and completely falling apart, 45–60 minutes. Reserve the cooking water (aquafaba).
Meanwhile, process lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor. The garlic should be nearly puréed.
Into the food processor, add drained chickpeas, cumin and salt. and process, occasionally scraping down sides, until mixture is extremely smooth, about 4 minutes. Thin with a few Tbsp. of aquafaba if you prefer. Taste and season according to taste.
Serve hummus drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with smoked paprika, and topped with freshly chopped parsley.
Store leftover hummus covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
*1 cup dried chickpeas equals about 2.5 cups soaked chickpeas.
**Prep time does not include sprouting the chickpeas (about 3 days).