Chick-a chick-a boom boom

ProcessedThere was a time when hummus was not available in every grocer’s refrigerator case. Before the ubiquitous tubs of Tribe of Two Sheiks and Athenos provided a dip for pita or carrots or tortilla chips, my Mom was making hummus for parties at our house in Spain or, subsequently, in Nigeria. I loved the tangy, garlicky dip, particularly spread on wedges of pita, and Mom usually had to keep it in the refrigerator until right before guests arrived to keep me from making short work of it.

After I graduated from college, I requested the recipe from her. She mailed it, handwritten on an index card, with a note that instructed me, “The key is to use lots of lemon…and FRESH MINT!!!” Amusing, considering she didn’t even remember my attempt to kill her with faux mint.

We buy, and use, a lot of hummus. Our local co-op carries varieties produced by The Red Avocado and Oasis, two Iowa City restaurants, and word is they’re about to carry hummus prepared by Soleil Banguid, chef and owner of Soleil’s Organic Solar Living Café in Coralville, Iowa.

ChickpeasIt had been awhile since I whipped up a batch of my own, but with the mint exploding out of its pot, yesterday seemed like the right time. I also realized, to my delight, that I had all the ingredients in organic incarnations, except for the salt. Ordinarily I keep the cupboard stocked with chickpeas and the vegetable basket stocked with garlic, but more often than not, they’re the non-organic kind from Hy-Vee.

I followed Mom’s recipe, but not to the letter. Yesterday’s version involved two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, three cloves of garlic, probably a good tablespoon of salt, the juice of two lemons, and 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil. I whirled that around in the food processor until smooth, then removed it and stirred in about a 1/3 cup of roughly chopped mint leaves.

“It’s like the garlic’s hanging there in the background,” said Steve. “Then, just when you think it’s not there, it leans back and slaps you.”

I will admit this was a pretty garlicky blend. Hummus purists will note my mother’s recipe leaves out the tahini, but trust me—with all that mint and lemon in there, you won’t miss it for a second.


2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Juice of two lemons
1 Tbsp. salt
2 cloves garlic
2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. chopped fresh mint

Combine the first five ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Remove from processor and stir in the mint. Chill and serve with pita, veggies or tortilla chips for dipping.

This post is part of Weekend Herb Blogging at Kalyn’s Kitchen—please be sure to check out the other entries!

19 Responses to “Chick-a chick-a boom boom”

  1. 1 kalyn June 4, 2006 at 7:21 am

    Love the photo with your mom’s recipe and your hummus in the background! I have to confess, I’ve never made hummus. I need to do it because like you, I have all the ingredients usually on hand. Love the idea of the chopped mint. Mint seems to go with every kind of Mediterannean food.

    By the way, very jealous that you lived in those interesting places. And I saw your photo on Blogher and you look great. Was fun seeing you.

  2. 2 rachelle June 4, 2006 at 9:54 am

    i will have to try this. no tahini? great tahini is sooooo expensive sometimes. i always have the ingredients on hand and have a mint garden growing this yeaer (thanks nature, i did not plant this) which i have to shear back every couple days or it infiltrates my enire lawn.

  3. 3 inadvertentgardener June 4, 2006 at 10:07 am

    Kalyn, growing up overseas was the best — always interesting! I loved it.

    Rachelle, one of my most favorite things about this recipe is the no-tahini aspect. As much as I love tahini, it always seems to come in a 20 oz. or bigger jar, and then you need 1 tsp. for the hummus…and then it sits in the fridge!

    Enjoy the recipe, and thanks to both of you for stopping by!


  4. 4 angela June 8, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Looks delicious. I’ve been wanting to make hummus lately because the stuff I buy in the store leaves a lot to be desired.

  5. 5 inadvertentgardener June 8, 2006 at 6:16 pm


    It’s definitely easy — and this can be made in a blender, too. I hope you try the recipe and let me know how it turns out!


  6. 6 betsybounds June 11, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    This looks fine–although I must say that there is a lovely tahini that is both unadulterated and not too expensive: Joyva Sesame Tahini, I think I pay $5.99 the 15-oz can. I run it through my food processor, pour it back into the can, and refrigerate it. That way it stays mixed–the oil doesn’t separate to the top, so you can use it repeatedly without futher trouble, and it stays fresh if you use it frequently. I do, because we love hummus at our house. I agree that the commercial varieties leave much to be desired. Mine is heavy on the garlic, which I find lovely. You also pretty much can’t get too much fresh lemon juice. A touch of cumin is nice, and there is no limit (well, not much anyway) to how much extra virgin olive oil it will both accept and profit from. A garnish of fresh mint or oregano, plus a few kalamata olives (unpitted are best) put it right over the top!

  7. 7 inadvertentgardener June 12, 2006 at 5:31 am


    Good info — I’ve never thought of running the tahini through the blender to keep it mixed.

    I like your variation ideas. I’ve thrown in roasted red pepper before, too, which was also delicious and much tastier than the versions I’ve picked up at the store!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    :-) Genie

  8. 8 Lizzie June 12, 2006 at 8:05 am

    A little lemon zest and a few coriander leaves instead of the mint makes for a nice variation.

    (I’m glad I followed this link, because separated tahini is the bane of my life – well, one of them – and now I know how to stop it!)

  9. 9 inadvertentgardener June 12, 2006 at 9:39 pm


    Glad we could help you out! Thanks for stopping by, and hope you’ll be back to visit again soon.

    :-) Genie

  10. 10 Daniel Liddington May 13, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    For all those having problems with Tahini, it’s quite simple (and more fun) to make your own : )


  11. 11 inadvertentgardener May 14, 2007 at 12:03 am

    Daniel, that’s excellent information! Thanks for passing along the link.

  12. 12 Tiffiny December 2, 2007 at 6:37 am

    Thanks for posting this recipe! I have a kid with allergies and we’re supposed to avoid sesame seeds, so it’s really nice to have found a recipe without the tahini. To be truthful, I have never even liked the flavor of tahini anyway!

    I made this recipe for the first time today. I didn’t have any fresh mint, but I had some fresh parsley that I used instead. It was still yummy without the mint–even my husband who’s not a big fan of Lebanese and Middle Eastern foods loved it.

  13. 13 inadvertentgardener December 2, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Tiffany, fresh parsley is an excellent substitute. I would recommend that you try the Rosemary-Artichoke Hummus that I wrote about, as well — it’s another sesame-seed-free option!

  14. 14 Windansea / Lydia July 5, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Okay, that hummus was a big hit. I made it twice this week…both times there were self-professed hummus haters in the crowd, and both times they loved this recipe. Your mom is right – fresh mint makes this so fresh and fabulous, and I made sure to use good olive oil so it was terrific all around. No leftovers. I’m going over to look at the Rosermary-Artichoke version now! Thanks for posting!!

  15. 15 inadvertentgardener July 5, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Lydia, it’s truly not possible to beat the fresh-made stuff, and yes, I agree with you and my Mom — the fresh mint makes it incredible.

  1. 1 The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on June 12, 2006 at 5:28 am
  2. 2 Abstract Gourmet : Blog Archive : Home Made Hummus Trackback on July 9, 2006 at 6:53 am
  3. 3 Abstract Gourmet » Blog Archive » Home Made Hummus Trackback on August 4, 2006 at 8:32 pm
  4. 4 Rosemary-artichoke hummus « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on August 17, 2007 at 8:36 pm

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