Originally published in 2010, this is a classic AOC recipe that showcases a lot of the blog's core values: making things simpler, less expensive, and do-able. Adding an easy first step to classic homemade hummus - making my own tahini - resulted in a fantastic, much more convenient end-product! It's been updated with newer, pinnable pictures and an easy-to-print recipe - I hope you enjoy the ease of this, friends!
When I met Brian's family back in the 1980s, I had a tiny bit of culture shock since 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 yogurt/cucumber dish which has different names & variations, depending on the country- Greek tzatziki, Egyptian zabadi, Indian cucumber raita, etc.), and hummus (garbanzo bean dip) served with pita bread.
No one I knew ate these dishes, let alone made them from scratch.
At that point in my life I was more picky about food, but 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, ha!
But hummus was our favorite and I actually learned to make it since 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 get the recipe in newspapers. It's super easy to make, is perfect with vegetables as well as chips and pita and makes a nice dip alternative to the normal creamy-cheese type dips.
The only bummer with making homemade hummus, though, was that tahini (a sesame seed butter) was one of the key ingredients. It's a relatively expensive item that we didn't use for anything but hummus. Since I wouldn't buy it very often it was feast or famine with my hummus-making- we'd have a lot of it and then none for months. Plus, it was plain irritating to usually be 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 it's easy to keep on hand- they're inexpensive and I use them on granola bites, in Asian dishes and more. And guess what? It's easy to grind the seeds as a first step, as well as convenient and makes a delicious hummus! The texture may not be as smooth as some of the store-bought hummus (which I'm not sure that I like, actually) but the flavor is great. This is the only way I make it, now!
You make this almost the same way as 'normal' hummus, except you begin with a step of making your own homemade tahini by processing sesame seeds with olive oil. After a chunky-smooth paste forms (tahini), just continue with the rest of the ingredients. And done, homemade hummus without having to buy tahini!
To serve, drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of paprika and serve with pita bread (it's even easy to make, too - here's my pita recipe) and vegetables for dipping. (Storage Tip:This recipe makes about 2-1/2 cups of hummus and if you don't need it all at one time, I've found that hummus freezes great. Put it in a labeled container, drizzle of olive oil on top, and freeze for a couple months.)
The ultimate test to this tahini-less hummus, 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."
Homemade Hummus Without Tahini
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus more as needed and for garnish
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 2 cups garbanzo beans home cooked or canned
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice about 1 small lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon honey optional - helps with bitterness that may come from extra virgin olive oil
- paprika for topping
- Make Tahini: Place the sesame seeds and 1/4 cup olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a smooth-ish paste forms, adding a little more olive oil if needed.
- Continue Making Hummus: Add the garlic and pulse until evenly chopped.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the paprika. Process until desired consistency, adding more olive oil (or water) as needed. Taste to adjust for salt.
- Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.
- Serve with pita bread and vegetables for dipping.