This moderately spicy hummus makes a great party dish. I dress it up with a topping of roasted red peppers combined with pine nuts and seasonings.
Friday night is usually DVD night here, and we normally try to pick something that we can watch as a family. But since our 8-year-old daughter was having a sleep-over at the neighbors’, we were able to watch something a little more adult. We chose Hustle & Flow, which we really liked. Terrence Howard’s performance was excellent.
Since we were planning to eat in front of the TV, I chose something simple: Spicy Red Pepper Hummus stuffed in whole wheat pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and a few calamata olives.
I love harrisa in this recipe, but if you don’t have any, try using any hot pepper paste or sauce.
Spicy Red Pepper Hummus
Roasted red pepper adds so much flavor that you won't need much (or any) tahini in this hummus.
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 15-ounce cans)
- cooking liquid from the beans (or water)
- juice of 1/2-1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons tahini (omit if cutting fat)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Harrisa , or other hot pepper sauce, to taste*
- chipotle chili powder (optional)
- salt (to taste)
- 10 ounces roasted red peppers
- toasted pinenuts
- additional chopped roasted red peppers
- lemon juice
- 1-2 pinches powdered chipotle pepper
- a sprinkle of sumac
Throw the garlic into a running food processor (see Notes for blender option). Add the chickpeas and begin processing. Add the lemon juice and tahini. (I used half of a very large yet mild homegrown lemon. For regular lemons, I’d start with half, check the flavor, and add more if needed.) If needed, add 1/4 cup bean cooking liquid or water, just enough so that the chickpeas become a smooth paste. Add the cumin, the harrisa, chipotle powder, salt, and half of the roasted red peppers. Process until smooth. Taste for spiciness and add more harrisa as needed.
Add the remaining roasted red peppers and pulse to coarsely chop.
If you want, make a topping for the hummus by combining a tablespoon of toasted pine nuts with 2-3 tablespoons of chopped pepper. Add lemon juice and chipotle pepper to taste. Drizzle the top of the hummus with a little lemon juice (and if you really want spicy, add a little of the juice from a jar of pickled jalapeños.) Mound the topping in the center. Sprinkle with sumac.
Harrisa (also spelled harissa) is a Tunisian hot pepper sauce. I buy the Ziyad brand in a local Middle Eastern grocery store. If you can’t find harrisa, feel free to use any other spicy pepper sauce you have on hand. I started with a teaspoon of sauce and kept adding until it reached the spiciness we like, probably about 2 teaspoons. I also used about 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder just to increase the smoky flavor. Play with the seasonings and adjust them to your tastes.
For super-creamy hummus, use a Vitamix or other high powered blender. Start with about 1/2 cup of chickpea broth and add more if necessary.
Updated June 10, 2016 with a new photo and optional toppings.