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Hummus With Za’atar

Hummus With Za'atar

Many people think of hummus as a snack or appetizer, but for a little person like myself it’s a meal! And a simple, convenient and tasty meal at that. Hummus is also a terrific canvas for adding or experimenting with your favorite flavors … maybe it’s Middle Eastern in origin, but that’s no reason not to try adding Indian, Ethiopian or other flavors.

But for this hummus, I’ve returned to Middle Eastern flavors. This is actually a very basic, light creamy and fluffy hummus made with chickpeas, tahini, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice and garlic. But seasoned with za’atar, it’s an extraordinary treat. For those of you who haven’t tried it yet — and you should! — za’atar is a unique Middle Eastern blend of aromatic dried herbs, sumac, black salt and toasted sesame seeds that adds a wonderful zesty and salty flavor to dishes. You’ll love even just the smell of it.

Pre-blended commercial versions of za’atar are easily available these days from large grocers. To tell the truth, I’ve never even tried a commercial variety, so I can’t speak to their quality. But it’s so easy to make at home, and stores well in a tightly sealed and refrigerated container, that the thought of buying it never occurs to me. You can find my recipe for homemade za’atar here. I’ve included 2 tablespoons of za’atar strictly as a suggestion — you may wish to add more.

Hummus and Za'atarHummus and Za’atar
Recipe by
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Published on March 12,2016

Creamy chickpea hummus served with a zesty, salty and aromatic Middle Eastern blend of herbs and toasted sesame seeds

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  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + extra for serving
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons za’atar, or to taste
  • paprika


  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until soft. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. (If using canned chickpeas, rinse thoroughly.)

  • Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry unoiled skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat, tossing or stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

  • Transfer the chickpeas to a food processor and add the pine nuts, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 cup of the reserved chickpea cooking liquid (or water if using canned chicpeas), the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Process until smooth, adding more of the reserved chickpea cooking liquid or water as necessary to reach a light creamy consistency. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lemon juice as desired.

  • Transfer the hummus to a shallow bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with za’atar and paprika, and serve with chopped fresh vegetables or toasted pita triangles.

  • Refrigerate leftover hummus for a few days or freeze for up to a month.

Makes about 4 cups


This is my contribution to My Legume Love Affair, a monthly event celebrating the goodness of legumes. Started by lovely Susan, I am now the administrator. This month Shaheen of Allotment to Kitchen is kindly hosting.

More hummus ideas from Lisa’s Kitchen:
Spicy Hummus
Marinated Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus with Olives
Pumpkin Hummus
Turkish Yogurt Hummus

On the top of the reading stack: Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat

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