You may be surprised to see a homemade hummus recipe here on our site. Or maybe not! If you follow That Salad Lady, you already know we’re huge fans of chickpeas. Whether boiled on the stovetop, roasted in the oven or eaten straight from the can, it’s just something about the nutty, buttery flavor and rich, creamy texture chickpeas bring to the bowl. While you can’t go wrong with chickpeas in their whole form, it just so happens that hummus is great for layering salads too. That’s why we’re bringing our very own homemade hummus recipe to you.
Now, we already know that hummus recipes are a dime a dozen, and you can find pre-packaged varieties at just about any local grocery store or fresh market. But That Salad Lady’s recipe includes some special touches that make it nutritionally superior to store-bought versions and way cheaper to make at home. Smooth, thick and creamy, our homemade hummus is 100% vegan and gluten-free, rich in health-promoting fiber and fats, and chockfull of plant-based protein. Best of all, it’s in your bowl in as little as 10 minutes.
THE BALANCING ACT
Typically eaten as a dip with pita bread, hummus is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine that’s enjoyed all around the world. While chickpeas are the key ingredient that make up authentic hummus, many will swear that hummus isn’t really hummus without tahini too. Though tahini is in fact a classic ingredient in traditional hummus recipes, believe it or not, it is possible to get genuine hummus flavor without it. Take a quick glance at our ingredients list and you’ll see that our recipe doesn’t include tahini at all – and there’s an interesting little story behind why.
While in graduate school, our founder, Nina, fell in love with hummus. After spending a small fortune on store-bought versions of the delicacy, she eventually built up the courage to make her own at home. She had every single traditional ingredient except for one – the tahini. It’s just one of those ingredients we don’t always have in the cupboard, right? So, Nina improvised with what she did have.
Over time, she went through many iterations and ultimately crafted a tahini-free hummus that actually tasted like the real thing. After perfecting her recipe, Nina liked it so much that she continued to make it the exact same way, every time. We’re now bringing her perfected recipe to you. If you choose to stick with tahini, we provide additional instructions on how to do that too (see recipe card). After all, tahini offers loads of good nutrition and authentic flavor. But if you go with That Salad Lady’s version, you won’t believe how truly rich and tasty it is.
So, let’s talk about all the ingredients in what’s now our homemade hummus recipe and exactly why That Salad Lady chose to include them.
The Really Fundamental Ingredient
As we’ve already mentioned, chickpeas are the true fundamental ingredient of authentic hummus. In fact, the word “hummus” literally translates to chickpeas in Arabic language. Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas are widely available in canned and dried varieties – and you can use either. Aside from the sodium used in canning, there are no major nutritional differences between the two. Now, while canned chickpeas are the convenient choice, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that scratch-cooked chickpeas will produce the creamiest texture.
That’s why we include additional instructions for preparing and cooking dried chickpeas.
Whether you go for dried or canned varieties, adding chickpeas to your diet is a great health move. Regularly eating them aids in good digestion and supports healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. If you do decide to go the canned route, just choose varieties that are low in sodium or free of added sodium. Go organic too if you can spring for it. We also suggest rinsing and draining canned chickpeas well, as these simple steps substantially reduce the overall amount of sodium they contain.
A Unique Combination of Oils
That Salad Lady’s homemade hummus recipe calls for using a combination of sesame oil and extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). While EVOO is a classic ingredient, the sesame oil is an added one. It’s the key ingredient Nina ultimately used to perfect this tahini-free hummus recipe. As we mentioned before, tahini is a key ingredient in traditional hummus. A creamy paste made from sesame seeds, it has a distinctively nutty, slightly bitter flavor that really complements chickpeas. As sesame oil comes from the same source as tahini, its flavor profile is very similar.
Therefore, in the absence of tahini, the simple act of adding sesame oil delivers that familiar flavor hummus fans know and love. Since it’s an oil rather than a spread, it won’t necessarily provide the same consistency as tahini, but, honestly, you won’t even notice the difference. Trust us on this one. Even better, just a little bit of sesame oil goes a very long way. In fact, for our homemade hummus recipe, flavor-wise, a mere two tablespoons of sesame oil is enough to replace a whole half a cup of tahini (see recipe card).
Besides all the authentic flavors sesame oil and EVOO bring to the recipe, both our good sources of the fat-soluble vitamins E and K, packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and especially rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
When it comes to homemade hummus, cumin and fresh garlic are two classic herbs you simply can’t go without – so, of course, they’re included in our recipe. While cumin adds warm, earthy flavor and aroma, garlic brings rich, pungent, savory notes. These herbs boast powerful antioxidant effects too. Notably, as both an allium vegetable and an herb, garlic contains many unique phytonutrients with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (study up in our Nutrition Glossary to learn more).
Now, people sometimes use canned or jarred garlic as a “shortcut” in certain recipes. We don’t recommend doing this when making hummus. These versions not only house less nutrients, but they also tend to have “off” flavors, which may be detectable in the finished product. In this case, it’s definitely best to go fresh. In addition to garlic and cumin, our recipe also includes smoked paprika as a finishing layer. Paprika itself shares the nutritional and thermogenic qualities of most red pepper varieties.
A Bit of Salt and Sour for the Win
Like traditional hummus recipes, ours includes the tangy sourness of freshly squeezed lemon juice. However, we include the addition of vegetable broth too, which delivers a hint of savory saltiness that really brings out the blend. This is another special layer Nina added to make up for the missing tahini, which itself is slightly salty. When making hummus in general, you’ll need to add a liquid to get a good consistency, so the addition of broth is pretty much a win-win.
As with vegetable broth, the lemon juice serves a dual purpose as well. Besides the tart flavor it delivers, the citric acid housed in lemon juice really helps break down the chickpeas. The end result is a smoother, much creamier hummus. If you don’t have any broth on hand, you can use either plain water or aquafaba, which is the liquid leftover from cooked or canned chickpeas. If you choose to use water, you might have to add a little bit more salt to taste.
GET COOKING (OPTIONAL)
Cooking is an optional step that’s only required for scratch-made chickpeas. If you plan to use canned chickpeas or if you already know how to cook chickpeas from scratch, feel free to skip this section. Here we’re including a simple set of instructions for cooking chickpeas on both the stovetop and in an instant pot. If you have the latter, we highly recommend using it for convenience’s sake!
Prepping Chickpeas for Cooking
You’ll only need a cup of dried chickpeas for our homemade hummus recipe. This’ll yield about 2 1/2-3 cups cooked. You can always prepare and cook more for later use. Whether you choose to cook the chickpeas on the stovetop or in an instant pot, we suggest first soaking them overnight (or up to 12 hours) if you have the time. You can do this by simply placing the chickpeas in a large bowl and covering them completely with cold water.
Another option is to give the chickpeas what’s called a “quick soak” on your stove top. This’ll take about an hour. For this method, just add the chickpeas to a large pot and pour in enough water to cover them by about 2-3 inches. You’ll then bring the chickpeas to a boil, keep the boiling process going for a full five minutes and then remove the chickpeas from the heat as they continue to soak in the same water for an hour.
You can also quick soak the chickpeas using an instant pot by cooking them on high pressure for five minutes and then letting the pressure release naturally. Regardless of your soaking method, you’ll want to transfer the chickpeas to a colander or sieve to give them a good rinse, during which time you can remove any stones, dirt or other debris. Once they’re all cleaned up, give the chickpeas a final rinse and then drain them well prior to cooking.
Cooking Chickpeas on the Stovetop
For stovetop cooking, simply add the rinsed and drained chickpeas to a large pot and pour in enough water to cover them by 1 1/2-2 inches. You’ll want to add just enough to allow them to fully hydrate and expand. You can add a little salt to taste if you wish but seasoning isn’t necessary. The next step is to bring the chickpeas to a full boil. Once they’re boiling, give the chickpeas a good stir, cover them with a lid and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
When building your bowl with whole chickpeas, you’ll want to cook them for about 90 minutes or until they reach the point of al dente. This essentially means they’ll be slightly chewy but still firm when you bite into them. However, softer textured chickpeas make for better hummus, so, for this recipe, we suggest closer to two hours of cooking. Feel free to taste test the chickpeas at the 90-minute mark to see if the texture is to your liking.
Cooking Chickpeas in an Instant Pot
If you choose to use an instant pot, you’ll just add the rinsed and drained chickpeas to the pot, pour in enough water to cover them by 1 1/2-2 inches and seal the pot. Once sealed, you’ll cook the chickpeas on high pressure for 30-35 minutes to reach the point or al dente or 35-40 minutes for softer texture, which is best for hummus. Once the full cooking time has passed, you’ll then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. This way, the residual heat will continue to cook the chickpeas a bit. You can then do a quick release of the remaining pressure.
Whether you choose to cook the chickpeas on the stovetop or in an instant pot, you’ll need to drain them well prior to mixing them. If you plan to use the aquafaba as part of the recipe, set aside about a cup of the liquid prior to draining the chickpeas. We also suggest keeping the chickpeas at a lukewarm temperature for easier mixing.
We’ve already talked about how to cook chickpeas from scratch so you can skip this section if you’ve chosen to go that route. If you choose to use canned chickpeas instead, you’ll first need to thoroughly rinse and drain them well in a colander or sieve. If you plan to use the aquafaba as part of the recipe, transfer the canned liquid to a separate container. This liquid will be pretty salty so keep this in mind if you’re planning to season your hummus with additional salt.
When using canned chickpeas, we also suggest giving them a good rubdown in order to remove their skins. You can do this by, pouring the drained and rinsed chickpeas on to a plate lined with paper towels and then rubbing them vigorously until their skins begin to fall off (see video below). While you don’t have to remove all the skins, you’ll get smoother, much creamier hummus when you do. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to build the actual hummus.
Building the Hummus
We generally suggest using a food processor to make hummus. Using a food processor will ensure perfectly smooth, thick and creamy texture. However, you can build your hummus using a blender too – you’ll just have to add a bit more liquid throughout the blending process. Whether you use a food processor or a blender, there is a bit of a system associated with building perfectly textured hummus. It all starts with adding the ingredients in the right order.
The first step is adding the chickpeas to your food processor or blender along with sesame oil and lemon juice. You’ll then blend only these layers together. With variable speed units, start with a low speed and then gradually increase it to a higher speed until the mixture is fully blended. As the acid from the lemon juice helps break down the chickpeas, this initial blend is the most important step.
At this point, you’ll pour in and blend some of the liquid. This will be your vegetable broth, aquafaba or plain water. With the added liquid, the mix will start to look like actual hummus – and it gets easier from here. Simply add the EVOO, garlic and cumin along with a little salt and ground black pepper if you wish and then blend all these layers together (see the recipe video to see exactly how it’s done).
It’s best to blend the mix in 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally and pouring in more liquid in between intervals until you get the consistency you want. Depending on your desired consistency, this may take up to 3-4 minutes. Once you’ve blended the hummus to your liking you’re done. The final step is to transfer your finished hummus to a bowl or plate, drizzle on a little EVOO and top it off with smoked paprika.
The Versatility of Homemade Hummus
While you can stick with tradition and enjoy this homemade hummus with pita bread, believe it or not, it’s an incredibly versatile choice for layering salads. It actually makes for the perfect base. Simply top it off with cucumber, tomato, carrot, broccoli, olives or any other layers you choose. In addition to adding veggies, Nina typically enjoys hers with pine nuts, feta cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Your options are really endless. The recipe itself makes six savory servings. When stored in an airtight sealed container it’ll keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
SHOW US YOUR WORK
That Salad Lady wants to see all your great work. If you enjoy our homemade hummus which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate. Please review our full disclaimer to get a clear understanding of the nutrition and health information and resources presented and written on our website.