Hummus Made With Sesame Seeds


When I met Brian’s family back in the 1980s, I had a bit of a culture shock. They had traveled and lived in different parts of the world including Turkey and the Middle East. Brian’s mom had learned to make Middle Eastern dishes like lamb shish kabobs, baba ganoush (eggplant dip), jajik (the ubiquitous yogurt/cucumber dish which goes by different names depending on the country in the middle east), and hummus served with pita bread.

No one I knew ate these dishes, let alone made them from scratch.

But make them she did and, trying to make a good impression on my new family, I ate them. I found I loved the shish kabobs and baba ganoush is still the only way I will eat eggplant, but jajik? That I stay far, far away from- as I do with anything that contains fresh cucumbers.

But hummus I actually learned to make, it was so good. I was not surprised that by the 1990s it became wildly popular and suddenly you could find it in delis and groceries and the recipe in newspapers.

However, since tahini (a sesame paste) was one of the key ingredients, I found we’d have hummus three times in one month and then not again for months. Why? Well, tahini was a specialty item, it was moderately expensive, and I didn’t use it for anything else. Since I wouldn’t buy it very often it was feast or famine- and usually famine since I was often out of tahini when I wanted to make hummus.

This went on for years, really, before I realized that sesame seeds could be ground just like nuts to make a “butter.” Duh. Sesame seeds are something I usually have on hand. And although the texture is not as smooth as some of the store-bought hummus (which I’m not sure that I like…), the flavor is great, so I like to call this a “rustic” hummus.

Begin by placing 1/2 cup sesame seeds in the bowl of a food processor. Pour in 1/4 c. olive oil.

Pulse until a chunky paste forms, adding a bit more olive oil if needed. Add a couple of garlic cloves at this point and pulse until evenly chopped.

Add garbanzo beans, salt, lemon juice, and honey, processing until the desired consistency is reached.

I like it to be a bit more smooth, so I usually find I need to add a bit more olive oil to get it to the stage I like. Taste for more salt, if needed (if using home-cooked beans especially). Scoop into a serving bowl, drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of paprika and serve with pita bread and vegetables for dipping.

This makes about 2-1/2 cups of hummus and if you don’t need all of it at one time, I’ve found that it freezes great. I just put it in a labeled container and freeze with a drizzle of olive oil on top. I’ve kept it for a couple months this way and after thawing it tasted just the same.


The ultimate test, though, came when I (hesitantly) served it to my in-laws, practically tripping over my words to prepare my mother-in-law for the fact that it wasn’t “real” hummus made with tahini.

Her verdict? “I think this is the best hummus I’ve ever had.”

High praise, indeed.


Hummus Made With Sesame Seeds

  • 1/2 c. sesame seeds
  • 1/4 c. olive oil, plus more as needed and for garnish
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 c. garbanzo beans (home cooked or canned)
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 T. lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
  • 2 t. honey
  • paprika
  1. Place the sesame seeds and 1/4 cup olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a chunky paste forms, adding a little more olive oil as needed. Add the garlic and pulse until evenly chopped.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the paprika. Process until desired consistency, adding more olive oil as needed. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.
  4. Serve with pita bread and vegetables for dipping.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups.


This is linked to:
Happy Housewife Lemon Recipes
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
Real Food Wednesday
Recipe Swap @ Grocery Challenge


  1. Cheryl B. says

    Oh thank you for posting. My SIL is Lebanese and his family eats it all the time. I love hummus and it is so expensive. I will try this!

  2. says

    I bought some tahini a long time ago and made my own hummus using a friend’s delicious recipe. Um…mine was not so delish. And I ended up throwing away the tahini because it went bad. Money down the drain. Ugh.

    I’ve been looking for a good cheap hummus recipe–I should have known you would have one! Your blog may very well have become my favorite site for recipes. Can’t wait to try this!

  3. Jenelle says

    You know I just skip the tahini all together, and the hummus still tastes great, but I may have to try the seasme seads. Great idea!

    Also, I add cumen to mine. My family never seems to get enough cumen, we put it in everything. :)

  4. says

    I turned my dad onto the idea of hummus awhile back. It tastes so good, and I usually prefer a simple, plain version. I’ll show him this recipe. He’ll really like it!!! I’m not sure how I convinced about the positives of hummus…but I said this is better than chemical-laden dip..and it’s healthier for you…and I said it was a cheap source of protein…so maybe that convinced him :) :) Thanks for sharing the recipe. Love and hugs from Southern Oregon, Heather

    p.s. I love hummus instead of mayo on my sandwiches. it’s really tasty!!!!

  5. Monkey Mind says

    Mmmm, MMMM! I grew up with all these foods. My tiny little grandma would be working away in the kitchen stuffing grape leaves and such. I have mixed feelings about hummus – sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. Your version does look delicious. Thank you for the tip on grinding whole sesame seeds. When I get my new food processor I’m going to give this recipe a whirl(pun intended).

  6. Curbstone Valley Farm says

    I use a lot of hummus, but never tried using sesame seeds in place of tahini. I do make it often just without tahini, but it tends to be missing something. I’ll definitely give this version a try next time I make some. I love to keep it on hand, and make wraps for lunch with leftover grilled vegetables and hummus…now I’m hungry 😛

  7. Marsha Neal Studio says

    Oh, I am so going to have to make some tomorrow! I’ve been wanting to make Hummus for a while now… That and falafel… YUM!!! Thanks! :)

  8. says

    Brilliant idea, making your own tahini. Absolutely brilliant. And it totally makes sense to make it the same time you’re making hummus. Thanks for sharing! BTW I’ve found less expensive tahini at our local ethnic grocer, where it’s less of a specialty item.

  9. says

    Thank you so SO much for this! I am used to living in big cities where things like tahini are EVERYWHERE and there’s a Whole Foods Market on every corner. Now I live in the middle-of-nowhere-Oklahoma. I can make hummus now! I will come back and let you know how it turns out!

  10. says

    Just tried this out after looking around for a recipe that used cooked beans and sesame seeds. I was afraid it would change the texture since usually my immersion blender doesn’t go too fine, but that part worked out perfectly.

    I would’ve been happier without the salt or honey in it, since those ingredients took it from perfect to too much for me. I ended up tweaking madly after that point, adding more of everything else along with some garlic chilli paste (which was a delicious addition). Next time, I’ll add the salt and honey to taste (or not at all) like I probably should’ve done in the first place.

  11. says

    I made this hummus today to bring to a friend. It is very, very good. Yours looks better but I was using a too small food processor. I loved this and shared it on Facebook. Thank you for sharing. Amazing how so few simple ingredients can make something wonderful.

    Next up is the artisan bread – I bought a Dutch oven to try that recipe.


  12. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Yeah, Dixie! I’m so glad you liked it – and thanks for sharing on FB. 😉

    You are not going to BELIEVE how simple and easy the bread is with the dutch oven- it’ll be worth the price of the oven, I guarentee!

  13. says

    I like making hummus with sesame seeds, too! I make homemade chickpeas and then use some of the cooking water (plus the lemon juice, olive oil, etc.) to blend the sesame seeds. Great minds think alike!

  14. says

    wow Jami. you hit it outta the park with this one.
    what’s crazy is that i’ve tried to make homemade hummus before using these same ingredients with no success. but i use your recipe and it tastes perfect.
    frickin’… awesome
    thanks a lot
    Manitoba, Canada

  15. says

    Yum! I never thought about adding honey to hummus! Thanks for the idea. I like to make a big batch and freeze the hummus in small, (cup or pint) plastic containers. They’re freezer friendly and convenient. I also customize the smaller plain batches with fresh garlic, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, or diced roasted peppers.

  16. Anne says

    How long do you pulse the sesame seeds? After a good 10 minutes of pulsing and scraping down the sides I still had quite a few whole seeds. Do I need to give it longer? I’d love to make this work – I have the same issues with the expense of and difficulty finding tahini!

    • says

      I don’t usually have whole seeds left, Anne, after a few minutes of processing. Is your blade sharp? Also, I don’t worry too much about it being smooth – I figure it’s a ‘rustic’ hummus anyway. 😉

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