My hubby, Mike, who grew up in the Middle East, doesn’t go for any kind of “flavored” hummus.
No crazy additions of things like pumpkin (at the mention of that, he gave me a shocked/horrified look and muttered, Do people really do that?; my reply, Why yes, yes they do.), sundried tomato, pesto, or even roasted garlic (because of course garlic should be raw in hummus!).
The word “hummus” in Arabic actually refers to chickpeas themselves (and what we think of as hummus is called Hummous bil Tahina or M’sebaha), so of course chickpeas is the only legume that should be used. According to my hubby, none of these creative uses for other legumes like white beans, edamame, black beans, or red lentils.
Classic hummus should only consist of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, raw garlic, and a bit of water as necessary to thin it out (you can also add cumin, but this is optional; it’s for flavor, but according to my mother-in-law, it’s also to help with tummy troubles that beans and other legumes can sometimes cause). And then topped with a generous douse of good olive oil, hummus is ready to be dipped into with fresh flatbread. Period. (But as a tiny exception, there are a variety of acceptable hummus toppings in the Middle East…things like sumac, toasted pine nuts, or browned and spiced ground meat.)
That is all fine and well, but I am of the mind that if something tastes good and is healthy to boot, who am I to say it shouldn’t be done? I enjoy authentic hummus as much as the next girl, but I also like fun flavored varieties.
This version deviates a bit from a classic hummus not only in flavor, but also because this recipe is basically instant. Usually I will take the time to soak the chickpeas overnight and then cook them, removing as many of the skins as I can find without actually sitting down and painstakingly removing every single one (although I know – because my mother-in-law told me – that removing all the skins is the way to the smoothest hummus ever). But sometimes I just want a quick, flavorful hummus that comes together in less than the 8 minutes it takes to make my own pita chips. And that’s why this hummus, my friends, defies all the rules about what hummus should be. Except that it tastes amazing.
- 2 large pita breads or 4 smaller pita breads, cut into about 1½-inch wedges or squares
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (16 oz/450 g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 roasted red pepper (about ½ cup), drained (store-bought or homemade)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, plus a sprinkling more for garnish
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
- For the pita chips, preheat oven to 400F. Toss together all pita chip ingredients, and arrange the bread in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Bake until the bread is golden on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes, flipping the bread and rotating the baking sheets once halfway through.
- Make the hummus while the pita chips cook; to do so, combine all hummus ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and puree until smooth. To serve, spread the hummus in a shallow dish, drizzle the oil on top, and sprinkle on a little more smoked paprika.
- Serve the hummus along with the pita chips for dipping.
Serving Tip: In addition to pita chips, the hummus can also be served with fresh crudités or fresh pita bread.