A Simple Hummus

Our last newsletter featured this simple hummus recipe and sales went through the roof. I think the idea of using new-crop garbanzos instead of a dusty old bag you found at the supermarket was appealing!


You may think I am biased but first and foremost, you need to start with good, recent-crop garbanzos. You can use the dusty old bag you picked up at the supermarket or you can use ours. They cook quickly, they have a fresh, almost nutty flavor and you don’t need to rinse them the way you must with canned beans.

I now understand some people want to soak beans, others don’t. Some salt up front, some brine, some salt later—whatever makes you happy and inspires you to make legumes is what works for me. Except for one thing: baking soda. Many recipes, especially for garbanzo beans, call for a pinch or more of baking soda to help soften the garbanzos. If your beans are old, or if you live in the desert and beans age very fast, this may be a good idea. With your Rancho Gordo garbanzo beans, it’s totally unnecessary and can give your hummus a soapy taste. For the record, at Rancho Gordo, we don’t soak our garbanzos but we do cook them in a slow cooker. We start in the morning and by early afternoon we have perfectly cooked garbanzos. Every time.

This recipe calls for half a pound of garbanzos. I would go ahead and make a whole pound and use the other half for salads, soups or even another batch of hummus.

I personally like my hummus simple but there are lots and lots of variations. The restaurant Moro in London spreads out their hummus on a plate and then tops it with pine nuts, cooked ground lamb and flat-leaf parsley. When I mentioned hummus on our Facebook page, many folks suggested adding a pinch of cumin. Most variations are worth exploring, I’d say!

1/2 pound of Rancho Gordo garbanzos
1/4 onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
6 tbsp tahini
juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, to top
Smoked Spanish paprika (optional)

In a large pot, cover the garbanzos and onion by two inches of water and bring to a strong boil for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, add the bay leaf, and cook until tender. Add more hot water (from a tea kettle) if needed.

Strain the garbanzos (reserving a quarter cup for serving) and add them to a food processor with the tahini, lemon, garlic and salt and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt, tahini and lemon to your liking. You can also mix the hummus in a bowl using an immersion blender, my preferred method.

Pour the hummus into a shallow bowl and with your (clean!) finger draw a little pattern and gently drizzle your best extra virgin olive oil over the top, letting it flow as it may. Dust with Spanish paprika and dot with the reserved, whole garbanzos. Serve with raw vegetables or pita.

Order Rancho Gordo Garbanzos.


6 Comments on A Simple Hummus

  1. Great, I needed an idea for the other half lb of my Garbanzos–the first half went into a simple soup and I was (happily) shocked by how fast they cooked even in my slow cooker. Soaked, they only took about 2 hrs on high. Fresh indeed!
    Unrelated, I made a nice cold salad with your wild rice–chopped scallions, cherry tomatoes, mini cucumbers, celery, and a couple of whole jalapenos (chopped up)in escabeche. Wow! I’ve made escabeche before but this was one I found in my Safeway and it’s pretty good. I prefer this rice cold. What do you like to do with it? Ideas are welcome, I’ve still got over half a bag (uncooked).

  2. Oh hello! Had leftover spicy black beans and some leftoever Sagre de Toro beans from another dinner. Defrosted both (about a cup each), added tahini, garlic and some arugula and spinach with sea salt. Blended it to perfection: KICKASS HUMMUS!!!

  3. KICKASS HUMMUS: forgot to mention the lime juice, because that’s what grows in my back yard. Very very tasty with chips and looks a lot like guacamole because of the greens.

  4. You don’t have to peel them?

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