Authentic Lebanese hummus is a smooth and creamy dip popular throughout the Middle East. In Lebanon, chickpeas are soaked in baking soda. This odd ingredient is key to making creamy Lebanese hummus that you cannot buy in the grocery store.
Have you ever had authentic traditional Lebanese hummus? It is significantly different from most hummus served in America. This authentic hummus recipe will give you velvety smooth and creamy hummus, which is very different from anything bought in a grocery store.
I know that sounds biased, but I promise it's not. Our hummus is so different, but I promise that you will understand why the Lebanese are known as the best cooks in the Middle East once you try this authentic recipe.
If you are looking for a compliment with hummus, I like to pair it with tabouli, a traditional Arabic salad.
What is Hummus?
Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern dip that is a popular healthy snack. You make this dip by combining garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), tahini, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Traditionally, we dip the pita bread directly into the hummus and do not use utensils. For this second-generation Lebanese-American, I love hummus inside a pita with tabbouleh. It has a refreshing flavor, and I cannot get enough of it.
Hummus has become very popular in the United States over the last few years (ok decades) for its health benefits, thanks to the Mediterranean diet. In America, we often buy pre-made hummus at the store. This hummus is coarse and very different from Lebanese hummus.
Next time you want hummus, use this recipe. It is super easy, the flavor is fantastic, and the texture is soooooo smooth! You can make it in less time than going to the store and waiting in line.
What You Need To Make Hummus
Hummus only takes a few simple ingredients to make. Most of them you probably already have in your pantry.
Food Processor - To make this recipe, you will need to have a good food processor that is strong enough to break down ice cubes. I swear by my Kitchenaid Mini; it is the perfect size and strength.
Baking Soda - 1 and ½ teaspoons - Baking soda helps to remove the skins from the chickpeas. This simple step will go a long way to make your hummus smooth and creamy.
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans/chick peas) - 15 ounces - I usually use canned chickpeas; I like the convenience. You can also use dry chickpeas.
Fresh Lemon Juice - ¼ cup - Always use fresh lemon juice. There is no substitute.
Garlic Cloves - 1-2 - Garlic can quickly overpower hummus. I recommend using one large clove or two small cloves.
Ice Cubes - 2 - Trust me, I know ice cubes sound strange, but it works. I am not sure how; I think it is the slower absorption of water, but this step makes a huge difference. Note that cold water will not have the same effect.
Olive Oil - Always use a good quality extra virgin olive oil to finish with a drizzle of olive oil on top. The flavor pops.
Tahini - 2 tablespoons - Is a ground sesame paste similar to peanut butter. This ingredient is unique to the Middle East. I have found that buying high-quality tahini makes a big difference in the overall flavor. Look for it in the Kosher section of your grocery store.
Arabic Bread - optional - Traditional hummus is served with pita or Syrian bread.
What the Heck is Tahini?
Tahini is a Middle Eastern condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds. I like to think of tahini as the sesame seed version of peanut butter. Similar to peanut butter, tahini varies in quality. Good tahini can be found in most western grocery stores in the Kosher section. At my store, it will cost around $6, which is a little more than a container of pre-made hummus and so worth it.
How To Serve Hummus
Hummus is traditionally served on a small plate or bowl. Then, using the back of a spoon, create swirls. Fill the swirls with extra virgin olive oil. Then add a sprinkle of paprika on four sides, like compass points (N, E, S, W).
When I serve hummus, I always make the swirls. However, I skip the paprika. But, I love to place all kinds of middle eastern goodies on top of hummus to give people the option of having chunks of flavor. My favorite goodies include:
- Crunchy Chickpeas
- Fresh Parsley
- Pine Nuts
Hummus is a dip served with warm pita bread in the Middle East. Here in the US, we like to color outside of the lines. Some popular things to serve with hummus include:
- Pita Bread
- Pita Chips
- Carrot Sticks
- Bell Peppers
- Spring Peas
Frequently Asked Questions
Hummus stored in an airtight container will last for a week. If you can, make hummus a day in advance for the best flavor. Although in our house we can never wait that long to eat it.
This step is common throughout the Middle East. The slow absorption from the ice cubes tends to make the hummus creamy. I am not exactly sure why this works, but it does.
Tahani has a very distinctive flavor. If at all you can use it, please do. However, if you cannot find it or you are allergic to sesame seeds, you can use olive oil in its place.
Yes, while hummus is traditionally eaten as a dip, you can use it as a spread on sandwiches or toss it in pasta. There are so many creative ways to use hummus. I say experiment. I am sure it will be good.
Hummus can be made in a day or two in advance (I find the flavor peaks on the second day). To store, place hummus in an airtight container inside your refrigerator. Before you serve it, create the wells and fill them with extra virgin olive oil. Then put any additions on top.
* I do not recommend freezing hummus.
One Last Thought - Save the Aquafaba
You are probably asking what the heck is aquafaba? In the simplest terms, aquafaba is the liquid leftover from canned chickpeas. This liquid is, well, amazing! Aquafaba is starchy, and this starch has become a staple in vegan baking. Often aquafaba is whipped into a meringue or used in place of egg whites to give baked goods a lift. This once commonly discarded liquid has transformed vegan baking from meh into OH. MY. GOD. Delicious!
There are many videos and blogs on how to use aquafaba. I recommend this video from Bake it Up a Notch or this post from America's Test Kitchen.
Check Out Some Of My Other Recipes
Authentic Lebanese Hummus Recipe
- 15 ounces chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 whole garlic clove
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 ice cubes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- Prep: Rinse and drain chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Place in a bowl of warm water, about an inch above the chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Sprinkle in 1 and ½ teaspoons of baking soda and let soak for five-ten minutes. Hold 5 - 7 chickpeas in your hand and gently rub them together. The friction will cause the shells to fall off. This does not have to be perfect. Aim for 80% removed.15 ounces chickpeas (garbanzo beans), 1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda
- Process Garbanzo Beans: Place the shelled garbanzo beans in a food processor. Use the pulse function for 3 - 5 minutes until the beans form a rough paste.
- Make Hummus: Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt to the garbanzo bean paste. Continue to use the food processor and pulse until smooth.2 tablespoons tahini, ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 whole garlic clove, 1 pinch salt
- Ice Cubes (final step): Add two ice cubes to the hummus mixture in the food processor and pulse until smooth. This takes about 2 - 3 minutes depending on your food processor.2 ice cubes
- Serve: The traditional way to serve Lebanese hummus is on a plate, then using the back of a spoon, carve out 1 - 2 wells. Fill the wells with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Lebanese also dust paprika on the side of the hummus for decoration. Personally, I skip this step.
- I recommend using extra virgin olive oil
- I like to add toppings when serving the hummus as a dip. The toppings create a showstopper look. When doing this, I usually add.
- Kalamata olives
- Quartered cherry tomatoes
- Pita bread, carrots, tomatoes, and celery are standard dips in the US.
- To store, place hummus in an airtight container in your refrigerator. You can keep it for 3 - 5 days this way. I do not recommend freezing hummus.