If you’ve been eating a vegan diet (or any healthy diet, for that matter) for more than five minutes, you know about hummus. In fact, it’s probably become another food group. After years of buying large vats at the grocery, I decided to institute a weekend hummus-making regimen when making my meals for the week. Along the way, I’ve picked up some essential pointers to create that creamy, dreamy garbanzo bean dip that we covet so much. Follow these tips and you’ll never want to buy commercial hummus again.
1. Use a good food processor. This is essential. If your blades aren’t sharp enough, the hummus won’t come together properly; if the processor is too small, a normal-sized batch won’t fit. I recommend a 6 or 7-cup food processor, and my favorite brand is Cuisinart. And if you plan to make hummus regularly, this higher-quality appliance is a worthwhile investment.
2. Heat your beans. After months of chunky hummus, I read that heating beans prior to processing will increase the creaminess factor. You can use a microwave or stove top, heating the beans for 3 minutes or 5 minutes, respectively. After the beans are heated, simply place them in the food processor along with your other ingredients.
3. Spice it up. I love a good classic hummus, but adding in different spices elevates the dip to another level. For a smoky bite, add in ¼-1 tsp of smoked paprika. Throw in some oregano, rosemary, and thyme for an Italian twist. Throwing a Cinco de Mayo party? Replace the traditional lemon juice with lime, add in some chili powder and cilantro.
4. Don’t skimp on the fat. Don’t vilify fat: tahini is wonderful, and it is truly necessary when making a quality hummus. I typically add ¼ cup per batch. Of course, you can replace some of the tahini with reserved liquid from canned beans if you wish (see tip five), but I highly recommend using this ingredient because it adds the quintessential creaminess to the dish.
5. Add water (or another liquid) slowly. You can always add more liquid, but you can’t take it away. When making hummus, I leave the food processor running and slowly add ½-⅔ cup water or reserved can liquid (the amount depends on how thick you like your hummus). I recommend stopping frequently to scrape down the sides of the processor and observe the viscosity.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget the add-ins! Give your dip some character by processing a sweet potato, sundried tomatoes, pesto, cilantro, dill, or beets! My favorite way to make hummus is by adding ¼ cup hemp seeds, which amps up the protein and omegas.
Need a recipe? Check out these ideas:
Sweet Potato Hummus
Miso Cumin White Bean Hummus
Red Pepper Hummus
Orange-Spiced Pumpkin Hummus
Black Eyed Pea and Peanut Butter Hummus
Garlic and Chive Hummus
Serving ideas: Go traditional with pita and crudites, or get creative by adding 1/4 cup to a collard wrap. Add a dollop on a salad, or mix into a quinoa bowl. Instead of traditional marinara sauce, try spreading hummus on a pizza and top with olives, tomatoes, and fresh basil.
Related: Easy Hummus Mushrooms
Also by Molly: Easy Homemade Vegan Nut Butter
Photo: Molly Lansdowne