Hummus is fantastic food. Not only is it incredibly tasty, but it also makes a complete protein (like meat) because it combines a legume (chickpeas) with a seed (sesame). We have never been vegetarians, but this is so good, I can almost envision it as possible.

You can use canned chickpeas in a pinch. However, they cost more, and the canning liquid is often thick with additives. Can you guess that I am in favor of the dried?

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 2hr 0mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • 2 ¼ cups tap water
  • ¾ cups dried chickpeas, picked over, rinsed, and drained in a strainer to eliminate any debris
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
In a 1-quart tri-ply saucepan (choose one with a glass lid) bring all to the boil over high heat. Promptly cover and reduce heat to hold at a simmer until chickpeas easily mash with your thumb (about 1 ½ hours). In the final half hour, start the onions and garlic. Glass makes monitoring easy. Gentle simmering softens chickpeas without damaging turbulence.
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) sliced white or yellow onion
Place on a toaster oven sheet pan.

Tip: With an onion on its side, cut off and discard both ends. Cut in half from pole to pole; discard dry or tough layers. Place cut sides down and slice to ¼ inch, holding the pieces together as you work.
Holding slices together reduces exposure to eye-irritants.
  • 2 cloves (½ ounce) garlic, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Add garlic to onion. Drizzle oil on top and toss with your hands to coat evenly; spread in an even layer. Roast in a toaster oven at 350°F until onion shows signs of browning (about 20 minutes).

Tip: After separating a garlic clove from the head, cut off the root end. Place the broad side of a chef’s knife on top; strike hard to crush. Release skin and discard; quarter.

Large pieces of garlic are less likely to burn during roasting. Onions and garlic mellow and sweeten when roasted.
  Pour off ¾ cup cooking liquid; reserve. Add chickpeas, remaining cooking liquid, onions, and garlic to a food processor. Including cooking liquid adds flavor.
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (about 1 ⅓ lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • (sesame paste)
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
Add all to food processor. Pulse, stopping as needed, to scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula. Add reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it becomes a smooth purée similar to thin applesauce. Pour into a shallow 1-pint container; use the end of a spoon to make a spiral groove in the surface. Do not reheat the purée at any time.

Tip: Cut lemons in half at their equators, place cut sides down; quarter. Juice with a citrus squeezer held over a mesh strainer to catch the seeds.

Lemon juice adds flavor and is a natural preservative. Hummus purée seems a little thin when freshly made, but thickens with refrigeration. Reheating hummus causes solidification.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/16 teaspoon smoked paprika
Drizzle oil in a big spiral over hummus; finish with paprika. Chill 2-3 hours before serving. Finishing with extra-virgin adds a fresh, nutty flavor and helps prevent dehydration.

Additional Testing Notes: 1/4 teaspoon sesame seed oil may be substituted for the tahini.