I’m pretty sure I could write an intriguing memoir woven around my encounters with hummus. Like the time we ordered coffee and hummus at a Berlin café because it was the only thing we recognized on the menu, and thought it would come with a mezze platter. Instead we got a giant plate of hummus and falafel each, and nothing else!
Then there was the woman I met on Lummi Island a few years ago, she told me about her beloved hot buttered pasta tossed with a couple of tablespoons of hummus; this dish has become one of my favourite lazy weeknight meals – I keep a jar of this harissa and smoked paprika hummus specifically to make this. For such a simple hummus, it’s packed with so much flavourful goodness, it’s rich, bold and zippy, and enlivens everything it touches.
Surprisingly, I came into the hummus game pretty late – I used to think I wouldn’t like it until I decided to give it a fair try about a decade and a half ago, I can’t get enough of it now! This versatile Middle Eastern classic has become a mainstay in my home; there’s almost always a jar of hummus somewhere in the fridge.
While the store-bought kind is perfectly fine, I actually prefer and enjoy making my own hummus, just so that I can put my spin on it, like stir in a bit of harissa for a spicy twist. Zesty harissa and smoked paprika make a heady combination in this hummus. The smoked paprika adds a sweet smoky component and a sultry aroma.
Also, cook your own beans if you can, this is not necessary (canned is totally fine!) but it’s so easy and good, you won’t want to go back to the canned stuff once you start cooking you own beans.
Plus, a cup or so of the liquid from the cooked chickpeas in the hummus adds an extra layer of flavour. You’ll love how well the simple flavours work in this hummus; rich and warm, it’s incredibly savoury and satisfying.
There are countless delicious ways to use hummus; you probably already know that it makes a wonderful dip for cut vegetables, flat bread and crackers or as a spread for sandwiches and wraps , but did you know could make a creamy hummus dressing for your salad? Top your soup with a dollop of hummus or stir a generous amount into soup to make it extra rich and nourishing.
I pile black beans and salsa on baked potato and slather some hummus on top, another one of those easy weeknight meals. Rice and peas with hummus? Yes, that’s a thing.
I’ve embedded a short video below of me making hummus a few weeks ago, it’s a simple smoky hummus similar to this recipe; the recipe doesn’t include harissa but it’s in the same vein. Feel free to leave out harissa or even the smoked paprika if that’s not your thing (how is smoked paprika not your thing??), your hummus will still turn out absolutely delicious. If you can’t find harissa where you are but still want to jazz up your hummus, try a blend of roasted red pepper, dried chili, cumin, caraway seeds, coriander and garlic or try this easy harissa recipe.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, optionally soaked overnight (or 2 - 3 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 5 cups water or more
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika (or regular smoked paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1 - 2 cups reserved chickpea cooking liquid (vegetable broth or warm water will do as well)
- If soaked overnight, rinse and drain chickpeas, place in saucepan and add twice the volume of water, keeping the beans completely submerged
- Cook over high heat for 45 – 60 minutes until beans are tender (but not mushy), exact cooking time will depend on the freshness and type of chickpeas used
- Once done, add salt, remove from heat and let chickpeas rest in the water for 10 – 20 minutes before draining, reserve about 2 cups of the water
- Combine chickpeas, garlic, tahini, harissa, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor and process to combine ingredients until a thick paste forms
- Add cumin, paprika and salt and continue processing
- While machine is still running drizzle in the reserved liquid, keep processing until mixture is smooth and creamy
- Serve, drizzled with more olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked paprika
- Top with a layer of olive oil when storing, the hummus will keep in the fridge for up to a week