Hummus has been a staple around my house during the summer for at least the past five or six years. Oftentimes we make meals out of it, with my whole family sitting out on our deck snacking on hummus with cut up vegetables, warmed pita or crackers and olives. Every few days my mom makes a double batch and stores it in a giant container in the fridge, waiting to get snacked and gobbled up by her ravenous family (sorry, mom).
This summer has been a little weird in that my mom’s only made hummus maybe one or two times so far. Very strange, but for some reason unnoticeable. Maybe my family has overlooked our lack of hummus-deck dinners because of this crummy summer Washington’s had (yeah, blaming the weather again). But I was snapped back into what I was missing a week or two ago, while I was staying at my grandparents house in California. My grandmother bought us a big tub of spinach-artichoke-something hummus from the store for us, to eat with pringles and saltine crackers. It tasted good, but just kind of weird. Like less-creamy, less-flavorful, more watery weird.
And so, making a batch of my family’s classic hummus was in order upon our arrival home. Creamy, nutty, with the backdrop flavors of lemon and garlic. Perfectly spreadable, and eatable on practically everything. This was the first time I made it, and I really liked how it turned out. It didn’t taste exactly like my mothers, but the thing is, most often each batch of hummus has little tweaks that make it taste different every time. That’s one of my favorite parts about hummus, in my opinion. I love how you can whir up some in your food processor and put your own personal preferences into it–do you like it light tasting, full of lemon, and enough olive oil to make it extra smooth? Or maybe (like me), you prefer more tahini and less olive oil, making for a nuttier and almost muskier taste and texture. Maybe you like lots of garlic, or a kick of spice, and maybe you don’t. I also like how hummus is the perfect backdrop for other flavors: feel free to add in anything you would like to. This includes but is by no means limited to sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, olives, artichokes, cayenne or paprika (my version pictured here has chopped kalamta olives added).
The batch I made ended up being one of the above-mentioned deck dinners, complete with a hummus spread alongside a baked ratatouille tart. The tart, a simple thing consisting of pre-made puff pastry and a whole lot of arranged sliced vegetables, was a nice companion to the crunchy vegetables and chips with the hummus. A simple but perfect, perfect summer dinner. Things are finally getting back in order.
Amy’s Notes: As mentioned above, feel free to play around with this recipe. Like tasting for salt and pepper, you can taste for the other ingredients until you reach the taste and texture you’d like.
2 cups garbanzo beans, well rinsed (on a weird note, I prefer canned garbanzo beans to fresh ones)
the juice of one lemon
2-3 tablespoons of tahini paste (sesame seed paste)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the rinsed chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini paste and garlic and blend until smooth. With the machine running, add the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a slow drizzle. Season to taste for salt and pepper. When storing and serving, drizzle olive oil on top. It not only looks nice and tastes good but helps keep the hummus fresh. Serve alongside toasted pita or bread, any and all vegetables, olives, or as a spread for sandwiches and wraps.