Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, I was lucky enough to have my pick of great Lebanese restaurants serving casual, home-style food. My mom always ordered fattoush salad, a mix of crisp greens and fresh toasted pita bread, and my dad got kibbe, the lamb/beef meatballs mixed with onions and bulger. And I loved hummus, a bright-tasting mixture of chickpeas, lemon, and garlic, sometimes served with a dusting of sumac and drizzle of olive oil, and always with pita bread hot from the oven.
One of the first things I missed when I moved away from home was good hummus. My college’s dining hall had “hummus” at the salad bar, a thick, orange paste-like substance, but nothing resembling the real thing. On my next visit home I borrowed an old avocado-green blender my parents had sitting in the basement and brought it back to my dorm room where I started making my own and my hummus snobbery began in full.
Hummus styles vary and New York tends to serve hummus in the Israeli style, with more tahini than Lebanese hummus. I prefer the citrus, garlic punch of the Lebanese style, so I make my own. The best part about making hummus at home is that it’s difficult to ruin. It’s a fluid process, with the addition of more tahini or lemon juice to taste. Serve alone with pita bread, or topped with sautéed lamb (recipe here).
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 garlic cloves, grated*
- 1/2 cup tahini
- olive oil
- Add chickpeas, lemon juice, and tahini to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of water until hummus reaches desired consistency.
- Taste and add more lemon juice or tahini as needed.
- Serve drizzled with olive oil.
*I grate the garlic to avoid any large chunks after blending - throw the whole cloves in if you have a powerful food processor or blender.