Hummus, a healthy and fresh appetizer


Cooking Hummus is very rewarding. Quick to make, you only need simple ingredients, it’s appealing to eat even in those days you don’t have much appetite or that it’s too hot to eat much, you can prepare a good amount, store it in the fridge and keep eating it for days, it can be eaten just as a spread in a toast, as a dip or as a side dish (along with falafel, chicken, fish or eggplant). Besides, it’s a great staple for picnics or to share as an appetizer with a group of friends.

That might be the reason why it has been cooked for so long in so many countries, so much it’s hard to trace back its origin, although it probably dates back to the ancient Egypt. From there, it spread to all Middle East and North Africa: Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Syria, Cyprus, Armenia… and even Greece, with minor tweaks.

Hummus means chickpea in Arab since it is basically so: a chickpea paste that is mixed with roasted sesame seeds paste (tahini or tahina). Tahini can be bought in any shop that sells Arab products, although it can also be made at home:

This is what Tahini looks like.

Tahini can also be used later as a dressing for salads, to prepare Baba Ganoush (oven roasted aubergines paste), as a garnish for other dishes or you can even eat it just spread on a toast.


  • a (400 gr./14oz.) can of cooked chickpeas
  • 3-4 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • sweet paprika
  • water
  • salt

The ingredients in their battle array


1.Drain chickpeas, (setting aside some liquid from the can to use it later) and rinse them. You can also set aside some of the chickpeas to use them later as a decoration.

2.Toss in a bowl along the rest of the ingredients minus paprika: That is, garlic, tahini, a good dash of olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Also, toss in some of the liquid from the chickpea can. Combine them all with a blender or food processor. Blend them until you get a smooth pureé but that is still dense (a consistency similar to guacamole). You can also use first a cooking ricer so as to get rid of the chickpea’s skin, but it is really not necessary.

Not necessary, but removing the garlic germ, particularly when the clove is older, prevents it from lending the dish a bitter flavour.

The amount of the ingredients can vary a lot depending on taste, so I recommend to taste and keep correcting it until it pleases you. You also need to be correcting texture, adding more liquid, some tablespoons of water or more oil. Hummus must be smooth, creamy and easily spreadable but, at the same time, be dense enough so it doesn’t easily fall from a spoon.

3.Place the resulting paste into a serving bowl. Make the surface even and the make circles with a spoon, outwards, starting from the center. The better if a shallow well is created in the center.

4.Sprinke with sweet paprika and olive oil. The oil will prevent the hummus from drying. You can also decorate it with some of the whole chickpeas you set aside, coriander, parsley or chive, like the one I’ve used.

Hummus can be served along all kinds of bread. Most traditional is pita bread, although you can use Khobz (traditional Moroccan bread), as I did, european bread, naam, mexican tortillas… even raw vegetable sticks such as the carrot ones.


To store the remaining hummus, I sprinkle it again with oil and paprika, so it is better preserved and more tasty.

A healthy, versatile and quick to cook recipe. What more can you ask for?

PS. If you like hummus, you might want to give Baba Ganoush a try, a simillar recipe based on roasted aubergines.

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