It’s time to UP your hummus game. I’ve got just the way to take this standard appetizer from DULL (sorry, it just is) TO DELECTABLE.
Sure you can peel back the plastic, and serve it right out of the tub alongside baby carrots and pita chips for an instant appetizer. But once you’ve tasted the GOOD STUFF, you’ll know… hummus can be so much more!
My “Gussied Up” version layered with a medley of fresh, chopped veggies and topped with crunchy chickpeas delivers an authentic flare which you’d be hard pressed to find at any restaurant this side of the Mediterranean. If you’ve got 8 minutes and a hankering for flavor, with this recipe you’ve got a winner.
For those short on time, you can use store-bought hummus as a base, and the first step of the below recipe explains how.
However, if you have an extra couple of minutes, I highly advocate making your own hummus, which really just requires a handful of pantry staples and a food processor or blender. Not only will you be AMAZED by the difference in flavor and texture, but it comes together very quickly.
I love the versatility of this dish. Serve it the next time you have guests over- or make a batch and bring it to work AS YOUR LUNCH with some soft pita bread- or add a scoop to the side of your salad bowl for a bit of veggie protein. Any way you do it, you’re sure to love this souped-up hummus.
Gussied Up Hummus
For the tomato and cucumber mixture
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved or quartered if large
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon ground sumac optional
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the homemade hummus (OPTIONAL)
- ½ cup tahini well stirred
- ¼ cup ice cold water
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 small garlic cloves grated
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas drained if canned
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- batch homemade hummus or 2 cups store bought
- ¾ cup purchased crunchy chickpeas such as Biena or Saffron Road brand
- Pita bread, pita chips or celery for serving
- If you are using store-bought hummus, skip this step. To make homemade hummus, start by placing the tahini, water, and lemon juice in a food processor. Blend for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and creamy. Add the garlic, chickpeas, salt and cumin and blend again for another few minutes until perfectly pureed, scraping down sides if necessary to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. If it looks thick, add another tablespoon of water and blend again. Hummus can be prepared two days ahead, stored in a sealed container, and refrigerated.
- In a small bowl, combine all of the "tomato and cucumber mixture" ingredients and stir well to combine. This can be made up to 6 hours ahead and refrigerated.
- When ready to serve, spread the hummus on a serving platter. Top with the tomato and cucumber mixture, then sprinkle on the crunchy chickpeas. Serve with pita bread, pita chips, or celery sticks.
Tips & Tricks
- A trick I’ve learned with tahini, or natural nut butters of any kind, is to turn it upside down when you get home from the grocery. Let the jar sit for a day or two upside down, and the oils will absorb back into the nut paste and you won’t have to stir so much to create a homogenous butter.
- You can substitute fresh mint, or 2 tablespoons chopped dill for the parsley
- Ground sumac is a wonderful middle eastern spice, but can be difficult to find at regular grocery stores. It has a slightly sweet, acidic flavor. Leave it out if you like or try substituting sweet paprika.
- If you have a hard time locating crunchy chickpeas, ask you grocer as most large chains and many smaller speciality stores carry them. There are a few different brands, Biena and Saffron Road are two popular ones. In my house, they're put to work everywhere from salads to lunchbox snacks, and since they come in a variety of flavors they are never boring!
- If you are taking this to dish to work, to a friends house, or it will be a while before serving, MAKE SURE to top with the crunchy chickpeas minutes before it is eaten, otherwise they'll get soggy.