It blows my mind that five simple ingredients — chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt — can be so delicious.  This basic hummus featured in Jerusalem was a perfect appetizer to serve at a dinner party after a delicious day of almost spring.

Weekends like this one make me realize just how much weather impacts mood.  A little sun and Vitamin E, and I suddenly have an improved outlook on all things.  I find myself smiling just because.  Life is anything but serious.  The future looks brighter as the days get longer.  It doesn’t seem to matter so much that I am exhausted when the sun is shining and there is no need for gloves and a hat.

This is the first time I have tried a recipe from Yotem Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem cookbook despite having gotten it as a Christmas gift.   After having tried this hummus, I am having trouble comprehending why I didn’t crack it open sooner.  I am also very surprised that I’ve never actually made homemade hummus because it is so easy!

Ottolenghi and Tamimi recommend soaking the garbanzo beans overnight, which I am sure is the preferred method.  However, I didn’t decide to make this dish until the morning of my dinner party so I used the quick soak method.  I brought the chickpeas and some water to boil for two minutes and then let it sit for two hours, then drained them.  Next, I cooked the chickpeas for about an hour at a light simmer.  I think they probably could have cooked even longer because the idea is to get them super tender so that they puree easily.  Mine were fine, but I’d get them just a little closer to mushier next time.

I’m always looking for an opportunity to use the cuisinart that I got as a wedding gift and have used less than half a dozen times in the past ten years.  Using this monster tool, I pureed the chickpeas and then poured in the tahini, lemon juice garlic and salt blending it to wonderfully fluffy consistency.  Then in went a little ice water to make it extra smooth.  The recipe calls for 6 1/2 tbsp of ice water, but I probably ended up adding about 10 until I got to the desired consistency.  I topped the hummus with fresh ground pepper, paprika, olives and roasted pine nuts, drizzling it with olive oil.  You could also add fresh parsley.

This hummus disappeared last night.  The hummus reprise at brunch likewise vanished.  I’ll be making this again.

Basic Hummus
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
Featured in Ottolenghi and Tamimi's Jerusalem cookbook.
  • 1¼ cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6½ cups water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp light tahini paste
  • 4 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6½ tbsp ice cold water
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • Paprika
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Olives, preferably pitted
  • Pine nuts (toasted in olive oil on the stove top for 3-4 minutes)
  • Fresh parsley
  1. Soak chickpeas overnight in cold water.
  2. Drain chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add chickpeas and baking soda. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook chickpeas for 20 minutes to over an hour (depending on freshness of chickpeas). Chickpeas should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  4. Drain the chickpeas (you should have about 3⅔ cups.
  5. Place chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste.
  6. Then, with the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and 1½ tsp salt.
  7. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and all it to mix for about 5 minutes until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  8. Transfer to a bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  9. Top with an assortment of toasted pine nuts, paprika, ground pepper, fresh parsley and olives, drizzle with olive oil and serve with pita and fresh vegetables.




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