Spicy Red Pepper Hummus and a Movie

by on January 14, 2006
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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.

Harissa adds heat to this red pepper hummus so that you can skip the tahini (and the fat) if you like. Dress it up with a topping of pine nuts and peppers.

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.

Spicy Red Pepper Hummus and a Movie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups (or 2 15-ounce cans) cooked chickpeas
  • cooking liquid from the beans (or water)
  • juice of 1/2-1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (omit if cutting fat)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • Harrisa, or other hot pepper sauce, to taste*
  • chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 10 ounce jar of roasted red peppers
Optional Topping
  • toasted pinenuts
  • additional chopped roasted red peppers
  • lemon juice
  • a pinch or two chipotle pepper
  • a sprinkle of sumac
  1. 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.
  2. Add the remaining roasted red peppers and pulse to coarsely chop.
  3. 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.


Original 2006 photo

Updated June 10, 2016 with a new photo and optional toppings.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen November 14, 2009 at 3:15 pm

This was wonderful! Thank you!!


2 Fiona November 24, 2010 at 10:16 am

This is officially my go-to recipe now for Red Pepper Hummus! I have tried several, but the flavors were never quite right. I absolutely love this one! Thank you for posting your delicious recipes! I might try adding a T of flax oil next time and see if that’s any good too.


3 Fiona November 24, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Blech, I tried adding flax oil and it was not a good addition! The flavor of flax is too powerful and contrasts too much with the other flavors in the hummus. The recipe is lovely just as it is.


4 Wendy Alimo January 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

This is the BEST!!! Before I made this, I had only eaten the commercial type found in the stores. This is SO much better. Love the spice that the garlic gives to the dip–I love garlic!-and the little bits of red pepper add great appeal. Don’t hesitate to make this–if you like roasted red pepper hummus (and garlic!) you will absolutely love this!


5 Adeline February 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm

I never made hummus before, and always wanted to try but there was always that commercial red pepper hummus so easy to buy, and so I never did make my own. I finished a 28 day juice fast yesterday and started Dr. Fuhrman’s 6 week plan today, so I needed something lower in fat, that brand has 6 g fat in 2 Tbs. I figure this recipe made about 5 cups, and we each ate more like 1/2 cup, so the tahini put into the recipe had 17 g fat in 2Tbs, that means it was only 1.7 g fat in a half cup serving? WAAAAY less than the Sa*** brand. And it tasted as good but maybe fresher, and this recipe was easy and turned out EXCELLENTLY!!! My kids (3.8 yr old twins) dug right in and when they ran out of pita chips, they asked me for some of my veggies ( radishes and carrots) to dip into the hummus and finish off what was in their little dishes. And then, they LICKED their fingers and then their little dishes clean. I did put one fresh little hot red pepper in there instead of sauce though, red hot is high in sodium, and the garbanzos I used had pretty high sodium already. And I cut back on the chipotle so there wasn’t too much heat for the rest of the family. But you sure know your stuff. This was fabulous! Thank you so much for this blog, it’s really encouraging me about eating again after the fast. I was pretty anxious about salad dressings but I am going to try some suggestions about ingredients for seasonings and thickening and emulsifying dressings without oils.


6 Christina March 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm

This hummus has become a staple in the house…..delicious!


7 Annie June 13, 2012 at 8:09 am

This is by far my favorite hummus recipe!! I omit the tahini b/c of all the fat, and it still tastes delicious. I also use 1 tsp of the chipotle chili powder, which gives it a nice kick.


8 Ken May 31, 2015 at 7:43 pm

Can this recipe be done in a Vitamix blender? If so, is there anything I should be concerned with before attempting? Although I am a grown adult, I am really new to cooking.


9 Susan Voisin May 31, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Yes you can! You might need to add some extra liquid so that it’s not too thick.


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