Hedy’s Hummus: Tried and Tried and True

Hummus meets hen.

Hummus: So delicious, so open to endless variation, so healthy . . .  SO annoying to photograph. It is beige mush. Blah in color and devoid of shape. It takes a truly gifted food stylist/photographer to really make it look good, aesthetically speaking.

So although the hummus in the picture above looks TERRIBLE, aesthetically speaking, I decided to share this shot because of the honest-to-gods spontaneous chicken photobomb. I was trying my dangdest to get a decent angle and utilize some good natural light, moving around the backyard. I added the dry chickpeas to get some shape and texture in the mix, and, this being a Portland backyard, it has chickens. These happened, also, to be hungry chickens, who thought I was bringing them a fabulous treat. In the above shot, girlfriend is actually pecking at the jar.

On to today’s recipe: This was shared by a friend in a Facebook mom’s group, and I liked her hummus history and recipe testing so much that I decided I just had to share it here, with her permission, as a guest post.

So I hereby happily present Hedy Bartleson’s Hummus, hen not included:

A few weeks ago, one of the ladies in my co-op group was talking about how she would shell garbanzo beans with her grandmother. And I thought to myself… “Wow. I was right about that. That MUST be what they do in the restaurants to get the right texture.” See, I really have no frame of reference, and have never bothered to look up a recipe for this stuff. I’m lazy that way sometimes, and I don’t fully trust recipes I find online.

I suppose that is a bit on the ironic side, and OK, it’s only happened once, but the chocolate disaster cake I made years ago (which was supposed to be this beautiful mix between fudge and cake, but ended up a crumbly, disgusting mess that I threw away before anyone saw it,) was enough to make me question things, and try to figure them out myself.


If you know me, you know this. I’m the type who will go to a city she has never been to and purposely get lost so I can learn my way around. That always works, and then I can go back when I want to and find things again.

My method is uncertain. It’s a mess, but it’s workin’. (Stole that from a song, but you get the point.) So, this now comes to you from my YEARS of tinkering and trying to guess with my own palette the inner workings and nuances of really great hummus.

I can take you through my evolutionary trail from when I first tried to make it for a party about 10 years ago with my sister-in-law. We REALLY knew not what we were doing at the time, and we bought a can of garbanzos, threw it in the food processor with some cumin and called it hummus. It was dry, and completely hideously bad.

How bad was it?

So bad we laughed about it, along with EVERYONE else who came to that party. Yes. I believe, if I remember correctly, it had to do with my own stupidity, and my inability to bring the correct blade. That’s right. We attempted to make hummus with the slicer/shredder blade, not the other pulverizing one that would have been oh so much more appropriate.

Not only did I try to make hummus that night, but I also made a very poor attempt at salsa that resulted in a bizarre bowl full of sliced peppers, tomatoes, and onion. I still ate it, though no one else did, hence the longish slices of hot peppers… and we laughed about that as well.

Live and learn. That is what culinary evolution is all about, ‘non?

For a couple of years after that I bought that awful hummus mix, and actually thought it was good. Then I decided to get serious about it, and found out that tahini and oil helped the texture out a bit, but something was still… well? Slightly amiss.

One day, I made cannelini in the crock pot. They ended up so very very tender, that I decided to try honing my hummus skills once again. Well? It was better, but still not quite there. Still… just slightly grainy.

So, finally I decided to try sprouting, cooking, then shelling the beans. Sprouting is actually kind of important, as it helps to make the beans more digestible as well as adding more of a nutritional component than boiling alone, or even soaking overnight. This works best in a good sized jar, with a screen on top. First you soak them for 8-12 hours. Then, you add them to a sprouting jar, where you rinse and drain them, cycling once every 8-12 hours for 3 cycles. Yes. Rinse and drain. Wait. Rinse and Drain. Wait. Rinse and drain.

So… give yourself time to prepare. Couple days.

You of course, don’t have to sprout them. Soaking them overnight is enough if you are pressed for time. Or… if you are REALLY pressed for time, you can always boil them off for 1 minute, remove from heat, cover and let sit for one hour before cooking. Any of these methods will suffice.

I also switched the brand of tahini I was using from Maranatha to Arrowhead Mills. What is the difference between these two tahinis? A whole world. Truly. AM is slightly more expensive, but it’s much smoother, and not settled like Maranatha. That isn’t to say that it’s hydrogenated. It just has a higher oil content, and seems to be better pulverized. Not grainy. Not at all. The price difference is about $2, but well worth it. Seriously, what a difference! I think I can finally say with some confidence that it’s there! After 10 years of tinkering. And all you have to do is read the recipe and make it once. I promise. This time it’s the real deal, people! Yes. This time it is.

A few weeks ago our friends Kyle and Chrissy came over. I saw an opportunity to try it out on someone, and took it. And… I just have to say… yes! That was the missing link! Now, it really is just like the stuff you can get at Hoda’s.

So, without further adieu, I give you:


2 cups dried garbanzo beans
8 ounces tahini
4 medium cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 c olive oil (or more, depending . . . )
1/4 c water
1/4 cup lemon juice (or more, depending. I used three lemons this last time)
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon red sumac powder

Soak then sprout the garbanzos. (See above in body of post.)

Once sprouted, rinse thoroughly, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn them down to a high simmer, and simmer for about 2 hours, until tender. Allow to cool enough to be handled.

Once ready to be handled, rinse them well, then place into a bowl, set this next to the food processor. Set another bowl on the other side of the food processor. Shell the beans into the food processor, dumping the shells into the empty bowl adjacent to the food processor until done.

Add the garlic cloves, and start the processor. When you get a somewhat smooth consistency, turn off the processor, remove the lid, and add the tahini paste.

Next, replace the lid, start the processor again, and stream in the water. This will emulsify beautifully, and start to make the hummus creamy. It’s important to do this AFTER the tahini paste, so this happens. Once the water is fully incorporated, stream in the olive oil until you have a somewhat loose, smooth consistency.

Next, the cumin powder and the salt. You should be able to place a butter knife in shallowly to taste at this point, so you won’t have to stop the processing. Just be careful!

Let it go for another minute, and voila!

Chill for at least 2 hours, stir in lemon juice, and place into a pretty bowl. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of red sumac powder on top.

I wait until the hummus is cold to add the lemon juice so it doesn’t fade into the background, and actually remains one of the main flavor components.

This recipe does make a LOT of hummus. It freezes well, but due to its popularity, this may not be necessary. :)



One last attempt to present hummus appetizingly, using Trader Joe's Cilantro-Jalapeno in the middle there.


  1. says

    Blend Blend and more Blending! That’s the secret of Humous. Lebanese speaking here. Also, sumac is not for humous. Just to let you know. I have seen it in many recipes and I can tell you, it doesn’t go. Tabbouleh, yes, fattoush…it’s a must, but not humous. Your humous turned out very nice though, chicken included!

    • Carolyn says

      “So, finally I decided to try sprouting, cooking, then shelling the beans.”
      Not sure what is meant about shelling the beans. Is this a variation with fresh beans or can you do the above soaking and sprouting with dried beans?

      This is the prettiest hummus picture I have seen! Thanks for hooking me! By the way I have a Vita Mix any suggestions for making my own Tahini?

      • says

        I think it’s intended for either one; definitely for chickpeas that you’ve soaked yourself, but it could also work for canned chickpeas if they still have that thin outer layer.

        And thanks on the picture! I miss my own Vitamix terribly (it’s in storage at the moment). I’ve actually never made my own tahini, will have to look into it!

  2. says

    Can I just say that is about the prettiest picture of Hummus I have ever seen? I LOVE the chicken.

    I have experimented, too, and I love 101cookbooks’ hummus en fuego recipe. This one looks like a winner, too, though so I’ll have to try it.

    And my sister has been making tahini in her vitamix blender, which cuts the cost by about 90%. It is one of many reasons I want to win the blender!

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