Hummus with Pita

Hummus with Pita

A Middle Eastern classic for dipping, spreading, or smearing on sandwiches.
TIME 15 minutes with cooked chickpeas
MAKES 6 to 8 servings (about 3 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves, or more to taste
2 cups cooked or drained canned chickpeas (liquid reserved if you cooked them yourself)
½ cup tahini, or to taste
¼ cup olive oil, or more as needed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1 tablespoon paprika or cumin, plus more for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
8 small or 4 large pitas, cut into triangles or torn into large pieces

1 Put the garlic in a food processor or blender and pulse the machine until the cloves are chopped up a bit.

2 Add the chickpeas, tahini, oil, lemon juice, and paprika and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn on the machine and let it run, adding the chickpea cooking liquid or more oil—1 tablespoon at a time—until you get a smooth purée.

3 Taste and adjust the seasoning and pulse the machine a few times to combine. Serve, drizzled with another tablespoon of oil if you like, and sprinkled with a pinch of paprika and the parsley. Serve with the pita.

  • White Bean Spread with Lemon and Rosemary: Skip the tahini and increase the olive oil to ½ cup. Use white beans instead of chickpeas, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried) instead of the cumin. Serve, drizzled with the tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkled with the parsley if you like.

  • If you’re cooking the chickpeas, make sure they’re fully tender—quite soft—for this recipe.
  • Tahini is a paste made by grinding sesame seeds; it’s much like peanut butter. You’ll find it in some supermarkets and any Greek or Middle Eastern market or health food store.
  • When you adjust for seasoning in Step 3, here’s your chance to emphasize different flavors. For nuttiness add tahini, for brightness  more lemon, and for bite a little minced garlic.
  • If you want to serve this with crisp pita, toast the pitas whole on a baking sheet in a 450°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Let them cool a bit, then cut or tear them.

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