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.


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.

Basil Hummus Recipe

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


  • 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.


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

White bean basil hummus from Weelicious

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Showing 4 of 30 Comments

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

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