Lemon Hummus with Crudites & Pita Chips

I clipped this from the December, 2002, issue of Bon Apetit and have been making it several times a year since.  It appeared in an article about a modern Chanukah dinner, and suggested serving this paired with Veuve Clicquot champagne as an appetizer.

It is VERY important to chop the garlic first, even though you’re tossing it into the food processor.  If you skip this step, your garlic could turn bitter.

This presentation calls for garnishing with olives.  To serve Middle Eastern style, reserve a few whole garbanzo beans.  Make a small well in the very center and drizzle with olive oil.  Place the garbanzo beans on top.  Then make a well around the entire rim of the bowl, and drizzle (very!) lightly with additional olive oil.

My friend Ani introduced me to the joys of sumac, a lemony spice close in color to paprika.  Feel free to substitute a sprinkle of sumac on top instead of paprika.

Also you can play with the heat level of this dish.  Add more chili powder or use a spicier version to kick it up a bit.  Because there is so much lemon in this version, this hummus holds up to heat well.

Lemon Hummus with Crudites & Pita Chips (serves 12)

  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp (or more) paprika
  • 2 cans (ea. 15-16 oz) garbanzo beans, drained (I rinse mine too to cut down on the saltiness)
  • 2/3 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c tahini
  • 5 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t chili powder

With processor running, drop garlic through feed tube.  Chop finely.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add 1/2 t paprika and next 6 ingredients; blend until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover; chill at least 1 hr and up to 1 day.

Pita Chips

  • 8 pita bread rounds, each cut into 8 triangles (I like to use half white and half whole wheat)
  • additional olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Arrange pita triangles on 2 large baking sheets.  Brush with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Cool on sheets.  (Can be made 1 day ahead.  Store airtight at room temperature.)

To serve:  transfer hummus to serving dish.  (Or you could be smart and chill it in the refrigerator in the same dish you plan to use for serving.  I always seem to forget that, though!)  Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with olives.  Serve with vegetables and pita chips.

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