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.

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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 extra virgin olive oil
  • Up to 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 1 1/2 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. For even faster beans, make them in a pressure cooker.


1 Toast the pine nuts: 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 Process ingredients in food processor: 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.

3 Serve: 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

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

38 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Chris

    This is amazing. Thanks. I had basil and garbanzos in the fridge that I needed to use up and thought it might work so I googled it and found this amazing recipe. Had to sub cashews for pine nuts & had only half the basil. I tasted it before adding tobasco and tomato and it was so freaking amazing that I bailed on those last two ingredients. I didn’t want to change the amazing concoction. One day I will try it with the tobasco, and maybe even the tomato eventually. Great recipe.


  2. Kate in Sacramento

    We are fans of this in my family. I made it because my basil is going crazy and I already have pesto in the freezer. As other reviews mentioned it wasn’t as green as the picture, but that doesn’t concern me. It has a robust flavor and we like that! I didn’t have pine nuts so I subbed walnuts and will continue to use them when I make more.


  3. lola

    Mine didn’t turn out the same green color as your hummus. Also I felt like there was a little too much basil for my liking, but it was still very good and I’ll probably make it again.


    Show Replies (1)
  4. Jeff

    My daughter said it was too salty. I didn’t see anyone else mentioning that? I might try doubling it tomorrow and not add any more salt.

  5. susan

    Great recipe, however, I pressure cook my dried beans. Takes way less time.

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