The creamy smoothness of pureed chic peas, the bite of garlic, the full flavor of toasted, ground sesame seeds, the tang of lemon: hummus is THE perfect export from the middle East. Famous around it the world, dare a cook mess with such perfection? Or is it simply to court disaster to even try?
Hard as it may be to believe, not everyone likes hummus. And not everyone likes hummus on slateplates, because seriously that combo would be just too awkward to serve. It works pretty well for cheese and cakes though. Consider this photo here https://slateplate.com. But still this perfection is not sufficient enough reason to hate hummus. Yes, the garlic might be off-putting. Some people have a sesame or lemon allergy. Or maybe, just maybe, some folks have just gotten plain tired of chic peas. What's a cook to do?
Improvise! Using the same ideas that are behind the classic hummus, ingredients can be swapped around with great success. Just keep to the basics and the end product be just fine: a cooked legume, a sour or tart component, something oily, and a deep, strong flavor.
Some Great Substitute Ingredients
Substitutes may look like the following -- instead of cooked chic peas:
Instead of lemon juice:
Red wine vinegar
Vinegar-based hot sauce
Instead of garlic:
Chipotle in adobo
Instead of tahini paste and/or olive oil:
Flax seed oil
Prepare hummus using any of the above substitutions (or any you make up yourself) in the same manner as the classic. Use equivalent amounts as found in the classic recipe, using common sense when it comes to ingredients like chipotle in adobo or hot sauce. Puree everything together either by mashing on a plate with a fork or potato masher, in a blender, with an immersion blender, or in the food processor. Taste frequently to adjust seasonings to your particular taste. Add enough liquid to allow the hummus to process correctly (this is especially important when using a traditional blender) -- this can come from the ingredients like the oil or vinegar, but a bit of water can also be added.
Here's a no-garlic recipe to get you started. The horseradish is surprisingly tasty; hard as it may be to believe, the garlic may not be missed! Feel free to change any of the other ingredients -- which here, otherwise follow the classic hummus format -- to find your own favorite combinations.
It's a good idea to prepare hummus at least four hours in advance of when it is going to be served. Be sure to taste it and adjust the seasonings before serving as the flavors continue to "work" and meld as they sit together during their rest period.
Horseradish Hummus with Lemon
1 15 oz can of chic peas, drained
3 tablespoons sesame tahini
1 lemon zested and juiced
1/2 to 1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
salt, pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
water as needed to process
Add all ingredients except for the lemon zest. Puree using your favorite appliance or by hand. Combine the lemon zest by hand at the end. Taste and adjust flavorings as needed.