How to make the perfect hummus

 

Hummus is universally appreciated, whether or not you give two hoots about veganism. This is how to get it right.

This chickpea-based dip is our kind of superfood: easy to make, inexpensive, tasty and satisfying, with the added bonus of providing a healthy dose of protein.

How to make the perfect hummus is the subject of much debate – between chefs and between nations. Puritans will insist that olive oil isn’t used in authentic Levantine recipes. Nigella advocates that peanut butter works just as well as tahini. Supermarkets apparently deem it necessary to add a whole head of garlic to the mix.

Our view is that, once you know the bare bones of a good hummus recipe, you can do what you want with it. We’ve stripped it back to 5 essential ingredients:

chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt and water

Blend these into a creamy paste and you’ve got your base hummus.

Top tip: the better quality the chickpeas, the better the dip. Cooking your own from scratch is recommended. Spanish jars are the best.

Hummus

Then it’s up to you to unleash your culinary creativity. Some of our favourite variations are:

sun dried tomato hummus

basil ‘pesto’ hummus

beetroot hummus

Put them together and you’ve got a hummus rainbow.

Hummus rainbow

Top tip: blend the lemon juice, tahini, salt, water and garlic before you add the chickpeas.

Base hummus recipe

Ingredients:

2 cans of chickpeas

the juice of one lemon

3-4 tbsp tahini

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup water or olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until you have a smooth, creamy paste.

Top tip: it’s unorthodox, but microwaving your chickpeas in the liquid from the can first gives maximum creaminess. Adding a pinch of bicarbonate of soda at the cooking stage is also said to work magic.

Rainbow recipes

To liven things up, add:

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

a bunch of fresh basil

3 medium sized cooked beetroots

Hummus trio

To garnish:

fresh herbs

cumin seeds

a drizzle of olive oil

a sprinkling of paprika or za’atar 

Then grab yourself a suitable dipping implement (crudités, toasted pitta or a spoon) and tuck in.

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A number of studies have found that people who eat vegetarian diets have lower rates of chronic disease and often live longer than those on predominantly meat-based diets.

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