Basil Hummus

Basil hummus dip made with garbanzo beans, puréed with fresh basil, olive oil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, and lemon.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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

Basil Hummus

Showing 4 of 30 Comments

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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 :)

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