A few key ingredients add vibrant color and flavor to this classically creamy, protein-rich dip. And while perfect as a filling snack or easy appetizer, hummus can be enjoyed in other unexpected ways as well!
Traditional hummus pulls its weight as a filling snack and easy appetizer, but the creamy, protein-rich dip doesn’t stop there. And with its smoky flavor and eye-catching hue, the following hummus is especially adept at going the distance.
For example, we enjoy this recipe as a flavorful sandwich spread at lunchtime and as a fancy “swoosh” under otherwise basic pan-seared shrimp for dinner. I’ve also spread a layer over boneless, skinless chicken breasts before baking, adding a sprinkle of Everything Bagel Seasoning prior to serving. More ideas follow.
The beautiful orange hue that distinguishes this hummus from the traditional formulation comes from roasted red peppers and a few key spices. Roasting your own peppers will yield the most vibrant flavor, but I’ve used jarred peppers as a worthy shortcut many times.
Conveniently, when using store-bought roasted peppers, the hummus takes mere minutes to make. It also means that all of the ingredients are pantry or refrigerator staples, making the recipe an easy go-to when you need a last minute appetizer, snack, or foundation for a plant-based meal.
For that reason, I keep a jar of roasted peppers in my pantry. However, when you have a few extra minutes, I recommend roasting your own peppers. I’ve streamlined the process to the point that it feel almost effortless, and the resulting flavor is sweet, smoky, robust, and delicious.
Roasted peppers can also be tossed into pasta, blended into sauces, added to salads, sandwiches, burgers, and more. The homemade option is especially helpful when you have an abundance of summer vegetables, or simply when you have one of two peppers that need to be used.
Because there will be more inherent sweetness with the home-roasted peppers, I include a minor adjustment in the amount of lemon juice based on option used. Either way, this recipe has been popular at backyard barbecues, tailgates, and potlucks, even among those who don’t tend to get excited about hummus.
Along with the smoky, earthy notes of cumin and smoked paprika, I’ve discovered that a tablespoon of harissa paste adds lovely depth of flavor. If you don’t have any, you may skip it. I also mention a few worthy backups.
Similarly, I have made this recipe with cannellini beans and chickpeas and mention a variation I devised for someone who couldn’t eat tahini due to a sesame allergy.
The final piece of the puzzle that will make this or any homemade hummus taste just like your favorite grocery or restaurant version is salt. If you’ve ever made your own hummus and found it beautifully creamy but lacking the pop of flavor you expected, an extra pinch or two of salt may be all it needs.
Though we traditionally think of hummus as a dip (and it’s a good one!), it’s much more than a one-trick pony.
Creative ways to enjoy hummus…
One of my favorite, if not somewhat unexpected, ways to put this flavorful condiment to use is to thin it a bit and then use as a gourmet “swoosh” under grilled or roasted chicken, seared shrimp, fish, even pork or flank steak.
Alternatively, for a satisfying vegetarian meal, spread a thick layer on a plate and top with roasted vegetables and a sprinkle of crumbled feta and nuts or seeds. Omit the feta for a vegan entrée. If desired, you could serve with pita or flatbread for mopping up the excess dip.
A few more ways to enjoy hummus:
- Use as a sandwich spread
- Enjoy as an avocado toast alternative (i.e., hummus toast)
- Make hummus-stuffed hard boiled eggs (instead of deviled eggs)
- Spread over boneless, skinless chicken breasts before baking
- Serve as a delicious dip for shrimp
- And of course, as a dip with veggies, pita, pretzels, etc.
More ways to enjoy harissa paste:
After using this flavorful paste in the hummus recipe, below, consider putting it to good use in one or more of the following recipes.