This classically flavoured Plain Hummus is one of those foods where the homemade version ruins you for the shop-bought kind. Luckily it is super simple to make with easy to obtain ingredients. My version is creamy, silky smooth and ready in just 15 minutes.
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Hummus has taken the world by storm over the last few years but as with many things, the homemade version is vastly superior to the supermarket ones. It makes a perfect snack, dip or side and can be gussied up with all manner of additional flavours. Once you’ve made it yourself, you won’t look back!
I was quite late to the hummus party and it was even later when I could bring myself to dip raw carrot in it. I got there eventually and now I love the stuff!
The Secret to Smooth Plain Hummus
I started out by making the super-duper quick version which can be ready in 5 minutes. But that hummus is a bit chunky. I wanted to know how to make the smooth and silky hummus that I was served in Turkish and Lebanese restaurants.
I tried several recommended methods including heating tinned chickpeas to mimic the texture of soaking and cooking dried chickpeas. That version was gnarly and will never be repeated.
But then I found the simple secret? Peel the chickpeas. I know that sounds like a bit of a ball-ache but once you start popping the peas from their skins, the whole process becomes quite soothing. And I timed it. I can peel a whole tin in under 12 minutes. I tend to sit in front of the telebox and it feels like 3 minutes.
So trust me. Please. Take a couple of extra minutes and make the best hummus you’ll ever taste.
How to Spell Hummus
I might know the secret to silky hummus but I’ll never be quite sure how to spell it! Humous? Hummous? Humus? Hummus? Houmous? Whomousse?
I googled it but as it is an Arabic word (literally meaning “chickpeas”) and Arabic is written in a different script. So there simply is no direct and ‘proper’ translation in the latin alphabet.
So as there is no “correct” answer, I’ll stick with “hummus”.
How to Serve Plain Hummus
Simple and classic Plain Hummus is brilliant and versatile. It can be a mid morning snack, something to serve with drinks or part of a main meal. Serve it with enough things to dip in it and it can be a feast in itself.
I drizzle my hummus with olive oil and sumac, usually in a small bowl or even smeared over a plate. You need maximum dipping surface!
Make Hummus into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
One of my favourite meals is to griddle a couple of lamb leg steaks and serve them with Griddled Courgette and peppers, the hummus, yoghurt dip and pittas. Or flatbread. Couscous is another classic accompaniment.
I have previously been inspired to hard fry some lamb mince with cumin, salt and chilli powder in olive oil. I served the crispy lamb on top of the hummus swirled out on a shallow plate. This was a great dish as part of a larger meze feast.
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
Ingredients for Plain Hummus
I use tinned chickpeas. I don’t know anyone prepared enough to start making this the day before they need it with dried ones and I certainly am not.
And so I generally keep a tin in my cupboard. They’re handy to use for many quick recipes like a good curry.
As I’ve discussed above, my method involves peeling the chickpeas to get the smoothest possible hummus. You can skip that step if you wish, you just need to accept that you will end up with a chunkier hummus.
Lemon juice is best fresh but the bottled kind from the fridge is fine in a pinch.
Tahini might sound incredibly exotic but tubs or jars of it are available in all of the supermarkets. It is simply sesame seed paste.
I was once told on good authority by Mr Yotam Ottolenghi that the Israeli kind is much superior to the Greek kind. He might have been biased (!) but who am I to argue with the great Ottolenghi when it comes to Middle Eastern ingredients. And it turned out that the tahini in my cupboard was Israeli anyway!
Whilst I almost always use jarred garlic paste in my recipes, if I have any fresh cloves to hand, I would tend use them in my Hummus. The very fresh kind does provide a heat that the jarred version does not.
You can find more of my favourite recipes using garlic in my collection of The Best Garlic Recipes.
There are so many variables with hummus and you can easily adapt the basic recipe to your taste. I like mine fairly heavy on the citrus and super smooth. And so I use plenty of lemon juice. But you can vary the basic seasonings to your personal taste.
For the other kind of variable, you can mix in all manner of other ingredients to create interesting hummus varieties.
I like to use roasted and pureed butternut squash and a little dried cumin. Equally a handful of fresh coriander and some fresh red chillies makes for an almost Mexican twist.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
My hummus recipe is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This hummus recipe is free from dairy, egg, gluten and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Hummus
Making hummus is justification enough for my ownership of my Kenwood Mini Chopper. It paid for itself pretty quickly. One tin of chickpeas fits absolutely perfectly. My Guacamole and Caesar Salad Dressing recipes also help with the justification!
For larger quantities you can use a larger food processor. You might struggle with a smaller quantity in a larger machine as the blades tend not to like small quantities.
You can of course make the paste by hand. Ideally with a large pestle and mortar but I imagine it would take a little while and I would probably hold off on adding the liquid ingredients until the chickpeas are well mushed.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
Hummus can be made up to 48 hours in advance and stored covered in the fridge. But I think you probably knew that. But did you know that you can freeze hummus?
Freeze hummus in an airtight container before adding the olive oil and spice garnish. Defrost overnight in the fridge then give it a good stir before serving with any garnishes.
Leftover Plain Hummus
Leftover hummus can be frozen. Simply stir in any remaining olive oil etc first.
Equally it will last for a couple of days in the fridge. Its perfect for just dipping into. Literally!
As for the water that comes in the chickpea tin, you can drain this off, whisk it up and make vegan meringues. You could try these Vegan Aquafaba Meringues from Cook Veggielicious or Vegan Apple Meringue from Fab Food 4 All.
The balance of seasonings is a matter of personal preference. The ratios of lemon juice to garlic to salt in this recipe are my preference. Feel free to experiment to make your Hummus perfect to you.
You can use the aquafaba (chickpea water) instead of the water in the recipe. I personally find the aquafaba makes the finished dish a little claggy. But again, this is my personal preference.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Vegan Side Dishes
More Garlic Recipes
For more great recipes featuring garlic, check out my post featuring the Best Garlic Recipes from top food bloggers and this site.
You’ll find everything from soups, breads, dips, salads, pastas, seafood dishes, vegetable sides and meaty meals.
Simple Plain Hummus (Super Smooth)
- 400 g Tinned Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
- 2 tbsp Tahini Paste
- 1 tsp Garlic Paste
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 4 tbsp Water
- 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes – more if needed
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil – optional
- 0.5 tsp Sumac/Paprika – optional
- Drain the liquid from 400g Tinned Chickpeas. Set the liquid aside if you intend to use it elsewhere.
- Peel the chickpeas by popping the skin off each chickpea with your fingers and discarding the skins.
- Add the peeled chickpeas, 2 tbsp Tahini Paste, 1 tsp Garlic Paste, 2 tbsp Lemon Juice, 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes and 4 tbsp Cold Water to a small processor or blender.
- Blitz until smooth. You may need to add more cold water to achieve the desired consistency.
- Taste it. Add more lemon, more salt, more tahini and/or more garlic as you wish. Blitz again and repeat until you love the flavour.
- Serve the hummus swirled with 1 tbsp Olive Oil and 0.5 tsp Sumac/Paprika (optional).