Hummus

“Hummus is delicious, but have you seen how much it costs? Even on sale it’s kinda pricy!”

How many times have you had that kind of conversation, or versions thereof? Let’s look at a different way to sate your hummus addiction!

Let’s start with Alton Brown’s recipe. I have made this many times and it is a great place to start.

1 pound cooked Chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup tahini, stirred well
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
(I add around 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon of ground cumin as well)

Time to take the recipe apart and see how we can make this more frugally.

1 pound cooked Chickpeas
This would be a can of cooked chickpeas, or about 1/3 of a packet of dried chickpeas you have cooked yourself. Take a moment to consider what I just wrote: the amount of actual chickpea you get in a can is about 1/3 of a pound, the rest of the weight is water.

1/3 cup tahini, stirred well
Tahini is a sesame seed paste. It usually runs around $4 a pound where I am. You’re only using a smallish amount, but still, it’s pricy.

5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Yeah, I just use the stuff from a plastic container. I don’t usually have the budget to buy fresh lemons through the year!

So, how can we make this more frugally?

I always look at dried legumes going on sale or other silly price. I have managed to find dried chickpeas as low as $1 for a pound, more usually around $1.19, so let’s work on $1.20 as the price. Read again what I wrote up there about what weight of dried chickpeas equate to your 15oz can.


What quantity of cooked chickpeas do you get from 1lb dry weight? And isn’t it a huge hassle to make them – all that soaking, waiting, etc?

In reverse order, cooking them couldn’t be easier. Forget everything you’ve read about how to cook dried beans – I opened the packet, tossed them into my pressure cooker, rinsed, then added enough water to cover them about 4 times over (I just eyeballed the volume, it was roughly 4 times). Slam the lid on the cooker, pop the weight on, apply the heat and pressure cook for about 45 minutes or so. Take the cooker off the heat and let it cool down naturally. There you go, cooked chickpeas in less than 2 hours. I drained the chickpeas and weighed them. 2lb 12oz cooked weight, an almost 3 fold weight increase.

What about the tahini?
Peanut butter is a 1:1 replacement for tahini. I pay around $2.29 for 40oz from Aldi. I tried this recipe out on someone who doesn’t like peanut butter flavoured things and they couldn’t tell it was made with PB.

Cost to do it yourself
1/3 lb dried chickpeas – about 40 cents
1/3 cup peanut butter, approximately 3oz – about 17 cents
all the rest of the ingredients together – about 60 cents
Olive oil – I just make it with the regular stuff and save the extra virgin for salads

Total cost: let’s round it up and include a cost for the cooking of the chickpeas and running the food processor and call it about $1.30, or around half the cost of hummus when it is on Buy One Get One sale at your grocery store.

By the way, as I cooked the whole 1lb packet of chickpeas I just rounded everything up and called it a 3 fold increase. 4lbs 9oz of home made hummus for under $4. How do I serve it? With stale bread or carrot sticks. Or off a spoon, for that matter!

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