Hummus 4 ways - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Hummus 4 ways

I was talking with my summer intern Hannah about how much I love hummus and how easy it is to make.  I think I have been making my own hummus since before she was born, but the last couple years I have felt hummus boredom so I’ve had a little fun experimenting with different flavors.   Hannah was intrigued since she thought hummus was like puff pastry, which NO ONE makes from scratch.  Well, I knew we had a cooking lesson on our hands!

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made from cooked chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) pureed with tahini (a paste made from ground up sesame seeds), garlic, lemon juice, and salt.  I add a little liquid from the pot (or can) of cooked chickpeas and some people add olive oil.  Sure you can add cumin or hot sauce, but essentially that’s it.  I maintain that hummus tastes so much better when I make my beans from scratch, although really you can use canned and it will still be fabulous.  But what kind of a cooking lesson would this be if we used chickpeas from a can?  So I started soaking a ton of dried chickpeas that day, cooked them for 90 minutes the next morning and we began our hummus factory.

I had an idea to make several of my favorite flavors just for kicks, so we also roasted a couple beets, a red bell pepper and cut some cilantro from the garden.  After we made our first batch, which was the traditional kind, Hannah looked at me in disbelief.  “That’s it?! ”  Yep.  That’s it.  “If people knew how easy it was to make hummus, they would never buy it!”  I’m so glad that thought was put out there to the universe.

After that, we made hot pink hummus with a roasted beet, which I agreed would be super cute for a (girl) baby shower or a bachelorette party (Hannah’s idea.)  Cilantro hummus turned out a lovely pale green with a fresh herby flavor.  Lastly, my favorite was roasted red pepper hummus to which I added a little smoked paprika and a dash of cayenne.  We tried all the flavors with raw carrot, cucumber and sweet bell pepper slices, as well as some gluten-free chips.  But I also love the red pepper version on veggie burgers and the cilantro one on a turkey sandwich.  The beet hummus is for pure shock value since despite adding a roasted beet, it just picks up a subtle sweetness and really tastes a lot like the traditional.  You can never have enough healthful dips for summer entertaining.  With July 4th around the corner, there’s no better time to add some pizzaz to an old classic!

Traditional Hummus
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, if canned, drained and rinsed, liquid reserved*
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup sesame tahini
  • 4-5 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 Tablespoons chickpea liquid
  • 1 teaspoon plus a pinch sea salt
  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the hummus is smooth. Taste for seasoning and texture.
  2. I like it very smooth and creamy, so I let the food processor run for a few minutes. I also prefer to eat it immediately at room temperature, but if you will be refrigerating it, you can add a little extra chickpea liquid since the hummus will thicken after it has been refrigerated.


: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :



Beet Hummus: add 1 large roasted and peeled red beet to Traditional Hummus ingredients in food processor.  Blend until thoroughly combined.


Cilantro Hummus: add 24 sprigs of cilantro and a few dashes of cayenne pepper to Traditional Hummus ingredients in food processor.  You can use either lemon juice or lime juice.  Blend until thoroughly combined.  Feel free to use more cilantro.


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: add 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika, a few dashes cayenne pepper and 1 large roasted, peeled and seeded sweet red bell pepper to Traditional Hummus ingredients in food processor.  Reduce lemon juice to 1 Tablespoon and sea salt to ¾ teaspoon.  Blend until thoroughly combined.  Taste to adjust seasonings.

Related Recipes



  1. I made the traditional recipe, this is FANTASTIC! I made mine in a blender as I’ve not had good luck with food processors, blenders always seem to make it the smoothest. Though, my last processor was a hand-me-down and not the best quality. I think this batch was so amazing my blender died – any suggestions on a fabulous food processor? Because of this recipe I will never buy from the store again!

  2. I made the hummus for a party and was so surprised how easy it was to make. Everyone loved it, especially my picky 2 year old. She was inhaling it!!

    • So glad! It’s actually a great source of protein for little ones.

  3. Yum! I used to make the William-Sonoma recipe but just tried yours. Fabulous. I love the fact that there is NO oil in it!

  4. if i have already cooked all my chickpeas and i have them ready but i dont have any of the reserved liquid can i just use water instead??

    • I would use 5 Tablespoons water and 1 Tablespoon olive oil and taste for seasoning before serving.

  5. I love hummus, especially when it has different flavors. One of my absolute favorites is a spicy tomato hummus, and I’ve always wondered if you’d have to drain off a lot of tomato water/juices after slicing them up so it wouldn’t be too “soupy” in the final product. How would you do one with tomato, to avoid that? And would tahini taste good with tomato, or would you go with another type of nut butter? Thanks!

    • I’ve never tried a spicy tomato hummus, but I love the idea. I think I would use roasted tomatoes as opposed to fresh — less liquid and more concentrated flavor. I’m sure tahini would still work fine, but raw almond butter could be a good sub. Now that my wheels are turning, I might also try roasted garlic. Yum!

      • Ah, roasted tomatoes, that’s a terrific idea! I’ll try that and also use almond butter. Maybe a sun-dried tomato version too. Once you get going with this, all sorts of flavors come to mind! 🙂

        Re: roasted garlic hummus, I’ve had a commercial version and it was pretty amazing!


        • you may want to try sun dried tomatoes then you can use soem of the flavored oil it is packed in

          • Great suggestion, Haley!

  6. this looks like loadza fun. can you pl share recipe for muhammara if case if you have tried one.

  7. I made your hummus for my 4th of July party. It was a HUGE hit! Everyone loved it. It was so delicious that even my picky husband tried it!

    • Love a success story!

  8. Lovely pictures. Somehow I can’t seem to get hummus ‘right’ when I make it at home. Need to try yours, and the variations too, they’re so pretty 🙂

    • I think the chickpea liquid is key to thinning it out without using oil and keeping the flavor. But it’s really all about what you like. Use this recipe as a guide and add extra garlic, lemon juice or cayenne if that’s what suits you. 🙂

  9. I had the pleasure of tasting the traditional hummus prepared by someone near and dear to our heart…Cristina. I have always been a fan of hummus, however after homemade I don’t think I can ever go back to store bought. I especially love the subtle taste of lemon which made my tastebuds come alive. Thanks for a great recipe!!

    • Cristina is a great cook! And I agree, homemade is soooo much better.

    • I love Greek flavors, too. Try the hummus as a sandwich spread with crumbled feta, spinach leaves, grilled eggplant and zucchini. Amazing!

  10. Just whipped up a batch! I love the pink! The girls are going to go crazy!!!!

    • Thanks for proving my point — so fast, no? I just forgot to warn you — stains from beet hummus are about as easy to remove as stains from beets, NOT VERY! Hope you kept those girls at the kitchen table and not on upholstered furniture ;).

  11. I will make this for my daughter’s Girl Scout Meeting tonight. Any tips on how to roast a beet? I am not a beet maker so this will be my first time cooking one but worth it for the pink color for a group of girls!

    • Girl scout meeting — perfect! You might as well roast the whole bunch and use the rest in a salad or make the cute little hors d’oeuvre in the archive with roasted butternut squash and apples. Trim the beet greens off the beets and save for another use (they taste just like Swiss chard.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the beets and place them in a baking dish (like a Pyrex)with 1/2 inch of water. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35-60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Carefully remove foil and stick a paring knife into the beet. If it goes in easily, they’re done. Allow to cool and the skins will slip off very easily.

  12. Just updated the measurements!

  13. Good question, Barbara! For purposes of my “lesson”, I cut the recipe in half to demonstrate. So the bell pepper I used here was a very small one. For 3 cups of chickpeas, I would use 1 large bell pepper, roasted or you can use jarred. Smoked paprika can vary in its intensity, so if yours isn’t new or strong, you can probably use 2 teaspoons. Tahini lasts forever in the fridge.

  14. Sounds like a yummy project!! I used to make it from scratch but have gotten lazy and buy it from Costco. When roating my red peppers i will also toast some pine nuts to throw in!
    Are your variations “each” done with the 3 cup beans/3 cloves garlic etc., or did you divide up the originnal 3 cups beans and do variables with the batch?
    Also: how long is shelf life of tahini since when I buy it for a homemade hummus, I then might not make it again for weeks/months?
    And OMG thanks!! – I love the white bean/mint salad! Yesterday for lunch – I smashed up leftovers added some canned tuna/sprouts and used it inside pita bread (just like I will do with cucumbers/red onion/sprouts with this hummus)! Delish!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

Signup to receive updates about new recipes and more

I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon