Hummus, pumpkin hummus, and light hummus

May 31, 2009 at 1:21 am (Beans, Cook's Illustrated, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, unrated, Website / blog)

I’m updating this old post to include a new hummus recipe that I just created.  It’s based on the recipe for Lemon Walnut Hummus in Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast, but I made a few substitutions/alterations, and created pumpkin hummus instead. 


  • 1 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups drained, soft chickpeas
  • 2 – 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 small to medium garlic cloves
  • scant 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt or about 2/3 tsp. fine sea salt (possibly less or more depending on how salty your beans are)
  • 2 Tbs. water or bean cooking liquid (plus more as needed to blend)


  1. If you’re going to eat the hummus with pita bread, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (in order to warm up the bread).
  2. In a small to medium skillet over medium heat, toast the pepitas until they start to pop and smell fragrant.
  3. While the pepitas toast,  add to the bowl of a food processor:  chickpeas, oil , lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, and salt.  Puree until it won’t puree anymore.  Then, when the pepitas are toasted, transfer them to a spice mill and grind to a powder.   Add the ground pepitas to the food processor and puree again.
  4. In the same skillet, add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast for 30 seconds, until fragrant and slightly darkened.  Transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a powder.  Add the spices to the food processor, and puree until smooth.  If the blades won’t turn and the hummus is not yet smooth, add water, 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until it’s smooth.
  5. Serve with warmed pita bread.

Makes about 4 cups.

My notes:

I didn’t have any pumpkin, so my hummus was pumpkin hummus simply by virtue of the pumpkin seeds.  Adding the freshly ground pepitas and spices really makes this recipe.  It’s so fragrant and roasted tasting that it’s really quite unlike hummus.   Derek objected to the hummus appellation, and called it “chickpea spread.”  I used the full four Tbs. of oil, and the resulting texture is thick and just a little fluffy, but not too airy and not too rich.  I ate the hummus for lunch on warmed pita bread, with some yogurt spread (yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and salt), sliced tomatoes, and marinated cucumbers.  It was a delicious and satisfying lunch.  All I was missing was a few kalamata olives.  I also had the hummus for lunch with Berley’s tabbouleh recipe.  Although I wasn’t a big fan of the tabbouleh by itself, with the hummus it was quite tasty.

Update Dec 19, 2013:

I made 1 1/3 of the recipe above except I only had 1 cup of pepitas and I only added 1.5 Tbs. of olive oil.  As a result, I had to add more liquid:  a full 1/2 cup of bean juice.  It came out well, despite the lower amount of fat.  But in the end I decided I wanted it a bit richer and added another 1.5 Tbs. of tahini.

Update Dec 12, 2010:

I made the recipe above again with the addition of 1 cup of pumpkin puree, and used only 2 Tbs. of oil since I figured the pumpkin would make the hummus creamy.  I used 2/3 tsp. of fine sea salt, since my beans were already well salted.  The pumpkin didn’t turn the hummus orange as I was expecting, but more of a kind of yellowish beige color.  It looked a little like someone had added turmeric to it.  I could definitely taste the pumpkin.  It hit my tongue first, with a sweet, pumpkin flavor.  It wasn’t offensive in any way, but I’m not sure I really like the addition.  To me hummus is a savory dish, and I don’t really like the sweet note, even if it is subtle.  Derek, however, couldn’t even tell that anything was different.

I didn’t grind my pepitas in a spice mill, I just put them in the food processor directly.  They seemed to get ground up perfectly well.

Nutritional stats when using the pumpkin and the smaller amount of oil.  Percent of calories:  54% fat, 31% carbs, 15% protein.  With one whole wheat Trader Joe’s pita and 1/4 cup of hummus you’d get 30% fat, 55% carbs, and 15% protein.  Half a cup of hummus would give a woman about 1/3 of her iron for the day and 100% of her vitamin A.

Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 115
Total Fat 7.3g
Saturated Fat 1.2g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 220mg
Carbohydrate 9.5g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Sugars 1.5g
Protein 4.7g
Vitamin A 49% Vitamin C 5%
Calcium    3% Iron 15%

Original post from March 15, 2007:

I used to make hummus all the time when I lived in the co-op in college, but unfortunately I don’t remember what recipe I used. I’m relatively picky about hummus. I like the Sabra brand pretty well, but not many of the other store brands.

Cook’s Illustrated Light Hummus

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 Tbs. water
  • 3 Tbs. juice from 1 large lemon
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/4 tsp.)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  1. Process the chickpeas, water lemon juice, tahini, 2 tsp. of the oil, salt, garlic, and cayenne together in a food processor until very smooth, 1 to 1.5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatual as needed.
  2. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. To serve, make a well in the center of the hummus, and drizzle in the remaining tsp. of olive oil.

My Notes:

The first time I made this I followed the recipe and I thought it was too thin, and too salty, but pretty good otherwise. The second time I made it I reduced the water to 2 Tbs., and the salt to 1/2 tsp, and left out the final drizzle of olive oil. It was still salty, but better. The hummus tastes good to me—the right combo of lemon to garlic to nuttiness—but for some reason I’ve been having trouble getting myself (or Derek) to eat it. Maybe we’ve just not been in a hummus mood.

CI says that the hummus can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, but that seems like an underestimate to me.

Derek’s friend said he has the best hummus recipe in the world. I asked him for it and he then admitted he didn’t really have a recipe per se, but that the secret ingredients are peanut butter and lemon zest. So I tried making this recipe, adding a tsp. of peanut butter, and the zest of one lemon. I was surprised that with only a tsp. of peanut butter I could taste it, but indeed I could. Derek thought it was better before the additions, however. I do like the idea of using the zest instead of just tossing it though. You know what Dr. Greger says…

I made this a second time following the recipe very closely, and I thought it was fine but Derek really didn’t like it, I have no idea why. He wouldn’t touch the stuff.

Update Feb 2013 / Smitten Kitchen Hummus:

Smitten Kitchen says that the secret to ethereally smooth hummus is peeling the chickpeas.  I decided to give it a try.  I made two batches of her recipe, peeling half my chickpeas and leaving the other half unpeeled.  Except I made a mistake and used 60g of tahini, which is about 1/4 cup instead of the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe.  I found the recipe to be bland.  I thought it needed more lemon, more garlic, and more spice.  In terms of the texture, I had Derek try both versions and he actually much preferred the unpeeled version.  He said the peeled hummus was too uniformly smooth and uninteresting–like baby food.  He likes his hummus to have a little texture.  Given how much work it was to peel the chickpeas, I don’t think I’ll be trying it again.  I ended up mixing both versions together and adding more seasoning, and then we liked the hummus well enough.  Next time I might try the technique for getting creamy hummus on this blog:  She says to emulsify the tahini with the lemon juice and other liquid first, then add the rest of the ingredients, rather than starting with the chickpeas.  Other folks say to make hummus in a blender rather than a food processor.


  1. Susan said,

    I find that adding an 1/8 tsp of sour salt helps the sour taste delightfully.

  2. captious said,

    I asked my mom if this was similar to her recipe and she said:
    more garlic
    no olive oil
    and juice from the beans instead of water
    but same amt of lemon juice and tahini

  3. Tallulah said,

    I always add the lemon zest to the hummus.

    I also make really good kalamata olive hummus. It is basically hummus plus a jar of pitted olives (juice and all), but I can give you the actual recipe I use if that means something more.

  4. anameen said,

    I always use the water of the chickpeas… and would recommend using dried chickpeas… canned chickpeas are so bland.

    I also always make the tahini with lemon and garlic sauce on the side, then slowly add it to the processed chickpeas… that way you can control the flavor better.

    • captious said,

      Doesn’t it depend on the brand? I find some brands quite tasty, and some bland. That said, I’ve been trying to avoid canned beans because I don’t know what they put in the can liners. Do they use polycarbonate liners in Germany?

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