Hummus bi Tahini

James Beard

Author and Educator

Hummus is a delicious, healthy Middle Eastern dip that has become quite popular as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to falafel. There are a number of commercial brands that are widely available, but making your own couldn’t be easier. All you need are chickpeas, lemon juice, and tahini, a sesame seed paste that is sold in specialty stores, Middle Eastern markets, and many supermarkets.


  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • Tabasco to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Parsley


Drain, wash, and drain the chickpeas once more. Put them in a blender or food processor with the lemon juice and as much water as necessary to result in a smooth paste. Add garlic and salt and pulse until incorporated. Stir in the tahini. The mixture should have the consistency of mayonnaise, and have a good strong lemony flavor. If it’s too thick, thin with a little water.

Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes, then taste to see if you have enough garlic, salt, and lemon juice. If you like it spicier, add a good slug of Tabasco as well.

To serve, put the hummus in a bowl, pour a little olive oil on top, and sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley. Scoop it out with pieces of pita bread or raw vegetables.

To customize your hummus, serve it with roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, or topped with zatar, a Middle Eastern spice mixture.


2 cups