Basil Hummus

The days are getting shorter, the zucchini beasts are slowing down production, and even the neighborhood kids are already headed back to school, signaling the looming end of summer. Our basil plants however, don’t seem to notice that their days are numbered. This is high season for them, and they’ve made quite the romper room of their garden beds.

garden-basil.jpg

I’ve been dreaming about this basil hummus for weeks now. It sort of makes sense, doesn’t it? Like a cross between hummus and pesto. The basil and the pine nuts take the place of the tahini in the hummus. A little tomato paste adds a touch of sweetness and the Tabasco just a little zest. This was a hit with everyone who tried it, so I hope you like it too.

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Basil Hummus Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 3 cups of hummus.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups sweet basil leaves, packed
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed then minced
  • 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Up to 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • Several dashes Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste

* Several readers have asked about instructions using dry garbanzo beans instead of canned. I estimate that you will need about 1 1/4 cup of dried beans to make enough beans for this recipe. Soak them overnight in a pot covered by a couple inches of water. The next day, drain the water and add fresh water, again covering the beans by a couple inches. You might want to put a couple garlic cloves in the water for flavor. Bring to a simmer, and simmer on low heat for several hours, until the beans are tender but still whole. Remove any foam that bubbles to the surface during the cooking. Drain the beans and proceed with the recipe.

Method

1 Heat the pine nuts in a small skillet on medium high heat. Stir them when they start to brown. When most of them have lightly browned, remove them from the pan into a bowl to cool. (Reserve a few pine nuts for garnish.)

2 In the bowl of a food processor, place the basil leaves and the garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the rinsed and drained garbanzo beans, most of the pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, tomato paste, and a few dashes of Tabasco. Pulse several times, for several seconds each time, until the hummus is smooth. Add more Tabasco and salt or lemon juice to taste. Add water to the point of desired consistency.

To serve, place in a bowl and drizzle a little olive oil over it. Sprinkle with a few toasted pine nuts. Serve with pita wedges, crackers, or rustic bread.

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Links:

Sun-dried tomato basil hummus from Sarah's Cucina Bella
White bean basil hummus from Weelicious

30 Comments

  1. Dryflour

    Why do you always tell people to use canned beans when it is much safer, economical, and satisfying to buy dry beans from the bulk bin, soak them overnight, boil them the next day, drain, rinse, and blend? The fresh hummus made from these beans is warm and fragrant, sweet and nutty, far superior to canned garbanzo beans laden with BPA and who knows what.

    You are welcome to make this or any other recipe on the site that call for canned beans, from dry beans. Several recipes on this site call for cooking the beans from scratch. When I use canned beans it’s usually because I want to whip together a recipe quickly. I use organic canned beans that I get from Whole Foods and I have been very happy with the quality. ~Elise

  2. Caroline

    Dryflour, canned beans at Trader Joe’s are BPA free. Buy the organic kinds then we’re pretty safe. I think. Many of us appreciate recipes like this that allow us to cook impromptu.

  3. Mary

    this looks great….have you tried freezing it? think it would freeze well? It is the time of year when I’m always looking for ways to store things for the winter!

    No idea if it would freeze well. ~Elise

  4. Carol

    It sounds absolutely delicious and my granddaughter of 1 1/2 years loves both hummus and basil. How long do you think it can keep refrigerated?

    Great question, I don’t know. I’m guessing as long as ordinary hummus, which if freshly made should last several days. ~Elise

  5. crafty P

    Here’s the best way, I’ve found, to cook chickpeas. Can’t wait to try your basil hummus!
    I recently made hummus with dried chickpeas and it was UNBELIEVABLE!

    Cooked Dried Chickpeas
    from Martha Stewart dot com

    1 pound bag of chickpeas
    water
    1 Tbs baking soda

    Soak the chickpeas in water with baking soda for 8 hours (aka overnight!). Drain and rinse. Place chickpeas in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, simmer and cook until softened (about 2 hours). Rinse the chickpeas and use as desired.

  6. jonathan

    Having made it past the painful memory of never having appeared on Romper Room, I was able to read further, and all I can say is….’yumtastic’.

  7. Kath

    I made this today, and it is terrific! I think mine turned out a little thinner than the way yours looks. Maybe it’s because I used garbanzo beans that I had cooked and frozen. They may have had more water. But the flavor is really good. I can see dressing pasta with it. Thanks for the great recipe!

  8. DMG

    I made this today & it is (was) delicious! I had a couple friends over & we demolished it! I heated some pita bread on the grill, had pita chips and tortilla chips….all worked well. We ended up putting it on our grilled chicken also…couldn’t get enough! I used canned chickpeas. It’s been over 100* all summer here in Oklahoma, so I can’t afford to heat my house up by simmering beans for several hours. The energy costs to cook the beans is way more than the savings of dry beans over canned chickpeas. And I can’t imagine it would taste any better than it did.

  9. Jenny

    This was amazing! I had some leftover pesto, so I just added that instead of the basil, garlic and pine nuts. I brought it to a bbq and it was a huge success! This is my go-to site whenever I’m looking to make something new!

  10. RV

    In India, we would use the pressure cooker to cook the beans ( we call it Chana ) which have been soaked overnight. It is done in a jiffy and saves energy too!

  11. jellystone

    Yummy! I used 1/2 cup walnuts instead of 1/4 cup pine nuts, which necessitated cutting back on the olive oil. Didn’t need the water. I also omitted the Tobasco and tomato paste so my hummus is more subtly flavored. What a great idea combining pesto and hummus–two of my favorites!

  12. Chef Richard Bishop

    Elise you hit the nail on the head yet again with another great recipe. I did add roasted red peppers to it just to add a nice smokiness to it and a dash of ground Ancho chilies to it to give it a little heat.
    Thanks so much for sharing your recipes are always a delight.

  13. Jo

    Made this yesterday and it improved with letting it sit for a night. Also added more pine nuts and garlic to the mix – which just added to its deliciosity! Thanks for recipe.

  14. Alice

    Made this so quickly in the food processor for some company, and it was scooped up and gone before I knew it. I used a tiny bit of store bought salsa “juice” instead of tomato paste. Will definitely make this again.

  15. Jim Price

    It was delicious and so easy to make.

  16. Jean

    Have you tried to make this without the pine nuts? We have a nut allergy in the family so I make pesto with out nuts and add grated cheese.

    Yes. I first made it without pine nuts but thought it needed a little something more. You can easily omit the pine nuts. ~Elise

  17. Patsy Bell Hobson

    You have added another summer Must-Make recipe to our gardens best dishes. We wait for summers garden bounty to have tabouli, gazpacho, insalada Caprese. Thank you for basil hummus. Can this be frozen? What is the best way to preserve or save this?

    Hi Patsy, no idea if it can be frozen, but if you try it, please let us know how it turns out! ~Elise

  18. Sara

    I am allergic to pine nuts. Can I use tahini instead?

    Or you can just skip the pine nuts. ~Elise

  19. Elizabeth B

    I tried this–it was very good when I first made it! I wouldn’t recommend making the whole recipe (I halved it) at a time unless you have a lot of eaters. Mine turned brown and lost its good flavor after two days.

  20. kickstand

    Could this be frozen? I just made a batch of pesto and froze it, but still have one more huge basil plant to use. This sounds really delicious and I’d love to save it for mid-winter!

    I haven’t tried freezing it. But if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  21. Kristin G

    This hummus was exactly what I was looking for – a fantastic way to use our mountain of garden basil. And delicious! Thanks, Elise!

  22. Sara R

    How long can this keep in the fridge?

    It will keep for several days, though as soon as you refrigerate it it may turn a darker brownish color due to the basil not enjoying the colder temperature. ~Elise

  23. layababu

    My husband is a dibetic patient. This recipe is very delitious and so easy to make.I will definetely make this again. thanks for the recipe.

  24. Libby

    I just made this and it is so yummy! I didn’t have the full 2 cups of basil so it didn’t turn out green, but it is still delicious. Next summer I’m going to plant extra basil just so I can make this all season long!

    ps. I like it so much that I blogged about it here :)
    http://libbygee.blogspot.com/2011/10/basil-hummus.html

  25. Christine

    I made this recently. It was really delicious. Better yet, it tasted even better a day later and it didn’t discolor the way that pesto does. I guess that the lemon juice prevented it from turning brown. It is a great make-ahead appetizer. I think I will try this along side your beet hummus recipe and regular hummus as an appetizer for Thanksgiving. Thanks for yet another tasty recipe.

  26. Diana

    I just made this for a dinner party and oh…i feel like maybe keeping it and taking something else. It’s so good. I used tahini instead of pine nuts. Thanks for great recipes, great inspiration!

  27. HamMI48

    This is @ Dryflour ; how long should the beans be boiled?

    Hi Ham. There is actually quite a discussion about this in the comments of our basic hummus recipe. People soak the beans overnight, some adding a little baking soda to the beans I assume to help them soften. Readers report cook times of anywhere from 15 minutes to 8 hours, so I assume it really depends on how fresh your garbanzo beans are. I know with other dry beans it makes a huge difference. If you are cooking beans that have been in your pantry for a year, they’re going to take longer to cook. If you are cooking beans that were harvested 9 months ago but are just getting sold now, they may take longer to cook. Even the hardness of your water can affect how long it takes the beans to soften. ~Elise

  28. YDavis

    I made this last night and it is delicious! I added a hot pepper instead of the tabasco sauce. I also did not have tomato paste on hand but I had made tomato basil soup the day before so I added 2 tablespoons of that.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  29. aretephora

    I’m a little late in finding this delicious recipe. I found that my batch didn’t turn as green as your photo. The only change I made was regarding the tomato paste. I didn’t have any on hand so I added a few fresh cherry tomatoes. Would this impact the coloring? Thank you.

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