The first time I saw a recipe for Israeli-style hummus I thought it must be a mistake.
I was familiar with hummus recipes that started with canned beans and included a gratuitous amount of olive oil. When I first tried the recipe for hummus from Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi from his award-winning cookbook “Jerusalem,” I realized I’d been missing out on the good stuff.
This authentic Israeli recipe started with dried chickpeas that are soaked overnight and cooked in a mixture of water and baking soda. The baking soda softens the skin on the chickpea and makes the beans extra tender.
Next, the chickpeas are puréed with fresh lemon juice, garlic, salt and what seemed like an insane amount of tahini. I was used to adding a few tablespoons of the toasted sesame seed paste, but Ottolenghi’s version topped off at more than a cup.
A bit of the cooking liquid from the beans is added to ensure a light, silky-smooth texture.
And the olive oil? That’s reserved for drizzling over the top.
The result is nutty, toasty and garlicky hummus that’s lemony enough to balance out the richness of the ingredients. And while this version takes more time, and a few more steps than the recipe I’d been using for years, the result is over-the-top good, and well worth the effort.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at email@example.com. Follow her on Instagram at
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: If you’ve never tried freshly made Israeli-style hummus, this dish will no doubt be a revelation. The ultrasmooth version gets its nutty flavor from a generous amount of tahini, the toasted sesame paste found in condiment sections of most grocery stores. Plan ahead, as the chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) need to soak overnight. Find them with dry beans and peas at the market. Adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi.
• 1 1/2 c. dried chickpeas (see Note)
• 1 tsp. baking soda, divided
• 1 c. tahini (see Note)
• 1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 4 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 1/2 tsp. salt
• Olive oil, for drizzling
Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and soak overnight.
Drain chickpeas and place in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 2 inches. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface, until very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
Drain the chickpeas, reserving cooking liquid. Place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and 1/2 cup cooking liquid in a blender or food processor and process until very smooth and creamy. Add a little more water if you prefer a lighter texture. Taste and season with more salt and/or lemon juice, if necessary.
Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest at least 30 minutes (it will thicken slightly as it sits). Before serving, drizzle olive oil over the top.
Additional toppings: Toasted pine nuts, chopped cilantro, cooked chickpeas. Or heat 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika before drizzling over the hummus.
Nutrition information per each of 8 servings (no oil drizzle):
Calories 310 Fat 18 g
Sodium 490 mg Carbohydrates 29 g
Saturated fat 2 g Added sugars 0 g
Protein 12 g Cholesterol 0 mg
Dietary fiber 0 g
Exchanges per serving: 2 starch, 1 lean protein, 3 fat.