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7 Easy Hummus Recipes to Make at Home

If you want to know how to make hummus, toss the store-bought and follow these easy recipes from registered dietitians and nutritionists.

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What is hummus?

Traditional Middle Eastern hummus has soared in popularity in the United States. In the last 20 years, sales have jumped from less than $10 million per year to around $750 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). No surprise: Hummus is more than just super tasty; it’s healthy, too.

“Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern dish that contains chickpeas and tahini as the main ingredients—’hummus’ means chickpeas in Arabic,” says registered dietitian Rahaf Al Bochi, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition. “Hummus is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and is served with many meals, including brunch and grilled meat dinners. It is enjoyed with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and warm pita bread.”

But just what makes it so healthy? “Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fiber,” says Al Bochi, who makes her own traditional hummus recipe. “The second key ingredient in hummus is tahini, which is a Middle Eastern sesame seed paste. It contains healthy fats and protein.”

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What are the benefits of hummus?

Snacking on hummus is so much better than other, unhealthy options, says New Jersey-based registered dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, author of the 2 Day Diabetes Diet. “Hummus provides both fiber and heart-healthy unsaturated fat, both of which can be beneficial to the heart,” she says. “When using hummus in replacement of other condiments  and spreads that contain saturated fats and/or added sugars, it can be beneficial to overall health and reduce the intake of saturated fat in the diet.”

Hummus is also part of the recent trend toward a healthier plant-based diet. “When using chickpeas as a source of protein, this may reduce animal proteins in the diet, which has been shown to have a positive impact on heart health,” Palinski-Wade says. Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are part of the pulses family, a subset of legumes.

A study, published in 2016 in the journal Nutrients, shows that eating just a half-cup of pulses—which also includes other beans, lentils, and dried peas—at least three times per week may benefit cholesterol levels. And “the combination of protein and fiber with few calories per serving helps you to feel satisfied with fewer calories, which may promote weight management,” Palinski-Wade says. Pulses are one of the most filling fruits and vegetables. Find out more about how hummus is good for you.

uncooked chickpeas on a dark stone backgroundNarsil/Shutterstock

More health benefits of chickpeas

Chickpeas have other health benefits, too. “Research has found regular consumption of chickpeas may improve both insulin and blood sugar regulation, making them an especially good choice for people with diabetes,” Palinski-Wade says.

In addition, the fiber in chickpeas may benefit gut health, says Audrey Inouye, RD, owner of IBS Nutrition and author of The 28-Day Plan for IBS Relief. Not only do chickpeas help keep your bowels moving, they also offering nourishment for the “good” bacteria in your gut microbiota.

Plus, “chickpeas are packed with antioxidants, which may help protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer,” says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, a recipe developer at Cheerful Choices in Fort Collins, Colorado.

In addition to the fiber, protein, folate, and iron supplied by chickpeas, “hummus is also a very good source of monounsaturated fat and vitamin E from the olive oil,” says Melissa Nieves, RD, of Nutrición al Grano. “It contains sulfuric compounds from the garlic, which may have a protective effect against cancer.”

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How to make your own hummus

Like many homemade dishes, making hummus yourself allows you to ensure it includes only natural, healthy ingredients. “Making your own hummus can help to reduce the need for additives such as added sodium or preservatives,” Palinski-Wade says. “It can also be a great way to save money and experiment with a variety of seasonings and flavors.” In addition to avoiding additives, homemade hummus just tastes fresher, Nieves says.

We gathered some recipes from registered dietitians for healthy and flavorful hummus. Some of the recipes substitute for tahini, the sesame seed paste, which can sometimes be expensive or hard to find. Minus the tahini, it’s actually a hummus alternative, notes Al Bochi, as traditional hummus is always made with tahini. However you make it, though, it will be delicious.

homemade hummusCourtesy Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RDN

Simple Homemade Hummus

Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RDN, Hälsa Nutrition

“This simple hummus recipe is great for when you need a last-minute appetizer,” Adams says. “Chances are, you already have most of the ingredients on hand. Even if you are missing one or two ingredients, as long as you have the chickpeas, give it a go!”

Ingredients:

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas

1 small clove garlic

2 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

½ teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, water, salt, and cumin to a food processor and pulse to combine. Add olive oil and continue to pulse until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Use a spoon or spatula to carefully transfer the hummus to a bowl.

Variation: Experiment with adding more garlic, cumin, or lemon to your hummus. Or, to add even more zippiness, try adding cayenne pepper, parsley, chives, or scallions.

Also, try Bob Harper’s no-oil hummus recipe.

Courtesy Rachael Hartley, RD

Loaded Zucchini Hummus

Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, Rachael Hartley Nutrition

“The fun addition of zucchini to this hummus recipe adds a bright and beautiful color, and also helps make the hummus extra smooth and creamy,” Hartley says. “As someone who loves to snack on hummus and chips, I love how this recipe turns it into a well-rounded meal by loading up a plate of hummus with veggies, olives, and feta cheese.”

Ingredients:

Zucchini hummus

1 large zucchini, cut into 4 planks

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

1.5 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Juice of 1/4 lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Chopped salad

1/2 large cucumber, seeded and diced

3/4 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 large radishes, diced

1/4 large red onion, diced

1/3 cup kalamata olives, halved

1 can chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Juice of 1/4 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup crumbled feta

For serving

Chopped fresh herbs (try dill, parsley, and/or mint)

Smoked paprika

Olive oil

Warm pita bread

Instructions:

To make the zucchini hummus: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Toss the zucchini with a teaspoon of olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper. Place zucchini on the grill, and cook 4-5 minutes per side until tender and well-marked. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Place chickpeas, tahini, parsley, lemon, garlic, and cumin in a food processor. Chop the zucchini and add to the food processor. Blend, stopping to scrape down sides as needed, until hummus is smooth and creamy. Blend in one tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Set hummus aside.

To make the chopped salad: Toss cucumber, cherry tomatoes, radishes, red onion, olives, chickpeas, and dill together in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, season with salt and black pepper, and stir to coat. Gently toss in crumbled feta.

Scoop hummus onto a plate with a large spoon. Using the back end of the spoon, spread it around the plate, forming a well in the center. Add a scoop of chopped salad to the well. Garnish with herbs, smoked paprika, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with warm pita.

Courtesy Melissa Nieves, LND, RD, MPH

Homemade Hummus Without Tahini Recipe

Melissa Nieves, RD, Nutrición al Grano

Make this hummus alternative without tahini. “I wouldn’t necessarily want to omit tahini—it’s just that where I live, in Puerto Rico, it’s not an easy ingredient to find, so I usually make hummus without it,” Nieves says. “I like my recipe because it uses roasted red peppers, which is an ingredient we use a lot in Latin cooking, giving it a special flavor and adding more color to your standard hummus recipe.”

Ingredients:

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup white or red onion, chopped

1 fresh garlic clove

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1 canned roasted red pepper, drained

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Ground paprika (optional)

Additional olive oil (optional)

Instructions:

Place the chickpeas in a food processor or high-speed blender. Add onion, garlic, parsley, red pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Process all the ingredients until smooth. You can season with a splash of olive oil and ground paprika, if you wish. Serve as an appetizer with chopped vegetables, pita chips, or tortillas. You can also use it in sandwiches, pitas, or wraps.

Courtesy Mackenzie Burgess, RDN

Peanut Butter Hummus

Mackenzie Burgess, RD, owner and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices

Instead of tahini, try peanut butter as an alternative. “This dip is traditionally made with tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, but you can also make it without tahini,” says Burgess. “Since I don’t always have tahini on hand, I often like to substitute with an inexpensive pantry staple: peanut butter! Homemade peanut butter hummus provides that same nutty flavor and only takes five minutes to make. I like to pair it  with colorful vegetables and whole wheat pita chips for a balanced snack.”

Ingredients:

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons peanut butter*

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 large clove garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons water

Additional spices or add-ins of your choice: Try a sprinkle of cumin, paprika, bagel seasoning, or cayenne pepper. You could also throw in a couple of roasted red peppers or a handful of fresh chopped herbs.

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If necessary, add more olive oil to reach desired consistency. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

*You can use sunflower seed butter if you are nut-free.

hummusCourtesy Audrey Inouye, RD

Tangy Lime Hummus

Audrey Inouye, RD, owner of IBS Nutrition

“I usually omit tahini from my hummus recipes because it is much quicker to make hummus without it,” Inouye says. “This recipe is an Asian twist on hummus. Made with sesame oil, lime juice, and lime zest, it goes beautifully with a variety of freshly cut veggies.”

Ingredients:

1 (19-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil

1 lime, juice and zest

Salt to taste

Instructions:

Place all the ingredients except salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add salt to taste.

curried hummusCourtesy Audrey Inouye, RD

Curried Hummus

Audrey Inouye, RD, owner of IBS Nutrition

“This hummus will remind you of your favorite curry,” Inouye says. “It goes nicely in a pita with sprouts and a few slices of cucumber.”

Ingredients:

1.5 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Place all the ingredients except salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add salt to taste.

basil hummusCourtesy Audrey Inouye, RD

Basil Pesto Hummus

Audrey Inouye, RD, owner of IBS Nutrition

“If you like fresh basil, you will love this hummus!” Inouye says. “It combines tangy lemon with a generous handful of fresh basil leaves. Delicious with crackers and cucumber slices.”

Ingredients:

1.5 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup basil leaves (roughly chopped)

1/2 lemon (juiced)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

Place all the ingredients except salt in the food processor. Process until smooth.

Sources

Tina Donvito
An experienced writer and editor, I have a background in entertainment and a current focus on parenting, pregnancy, health, wellness and travel. Previously editor-in-chief of the celeb/fashion/beauty/service teen title Twist, I'm now a freelancer writing for such outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post and Cosmopolitan online. I also regularly report for Reader's Digest online and FitPregnancy.com. My work was also selected by author Elizabeth Gilbert to be included in the anthology Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It: Life Journeys Inspired by the Bestselling Memoir. My professional interests also extend to the shelter, lifestyle and women's service categories.