Harissa Garlic Hummus

Ever since I started making chickpea hummus earlier this year, I’ve become obsessed with finding the best way to remove the chickpea skins before throwing all the ingredients in a food processor. Removing the skins ensures the smoothest possible hummus.

I’ve boiled the chickpeas and then tried removing the skins. This works OK as long as you don’t cook the chickpeas too long. You will lose half your chickpeas if you over cook them and then try to remove the skins.

I’ve soaked beans for about 24 hours or even longer in water and been able to shimmy the skins off individually with a bit of resolve.

I’ve used the baking soda method, which is to add baking soda to the water when boiling. The baking soda is supposed to help break down the skins better and I would say that it does help.

In what I thought would be a miraculous short cut, I tried soaking them in (regular temperature) water with baking soda for 24 hours. This did nothing.

What I’ve settled on as one of the best methods so far through all my trial and error is to soak them overnight, then put them on the stove with some baking soda and let the water boil, then remove from the heat and allow the chickpeas to stand in the hot water for an hour or so, then rinse with cool water.

At this point you can put your chickpeas in a bowl of cold water (or back in the pot and fill it with water) and let the skins float to the top. Use your hands to rub the chickpeas so the skins come off or individually peel the skins off the chickpeas. Then put the de-skinned chickpeas back into a pot with some fresh water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 25 minutes. If the chickpeas get a bit mushy at this stage, who cares, they’re just going into the food processor anyway.

I keep saying food processor instead of blender and this is for a reason. I have tried making hummus in blenders: two different Vitamixes and a Nutribullet. And every time I’ve done this I’ve regretted it. There’s just too much stuff in the blender to sufficiently blend, IMO. In a food processor the ingredients are more spread out and blend more easily. (This saddens me because I do think my high speed Vitamix should give the best, most smooth results. Though my Vitamix is several years old…)

At any rate, all this trial and error allows me to continue to try new flavors of hummus. Today’s hummus is a spicy one, made with some Harissa paste I purchased at Trader Joe’s, and plenty of garlic. I modeled my recipe’s ingredients after Elsa Brobbey’s recipe for Harissa and Smoked Paprika Hummus.

As you can see from my ramblings above, I have cobbled together the hummus making process over time but the one technique I always use is from the Mediterranean Dish’s post on How to Make Hummus: throw some ice into the mixture, baby!

The amounts listed below reflect the amount of each ingredient I used except for the lemon. I used half of a large lemon but reason that it was about ¼ cup It seemed like a lot of lemon. I used 4 garlic cloves and thought it could have been more garlicky. I used a small amount of cumin because, although I love cumin, cumin is overpowering in flavor and can take over a dish. You can probably bump the amount up to ½ teaspoon to add more cumin flavor without overpowering the dish. I also did not add enough salt though I totally eyeballed this ingredient now that I think about it! If I did this over again, I would throw in 1 teaspoon of salt.

The thing about so many savory recipes is that the recipe is just the base where you start. You can and should change the recipe anywhere you see fit. Don’t like broccoli? Sub another asparagus. Do you think the dish would taste better with cheese? Add some! Don’t like basil? Sub oregano. Don’t want to eat beef? Sub chicken. Think the dish needs more salt? Sprinkle it on! (I almost always double or triple the amount of salt called for in a dish. And so does my friend Jen!) Of course there are some ingredient amounts you shouldn’t mess with. Like if you’re making a roux. Or gravy. Or making bread. All of these  call for a very specific amount of food ingredients to make the magic happen.

Dad and Sis are in town for a spell and we are trying to eat more vegetarian/vegan because that’s what Sis prefers and Dad and I will eat almost anything. This hummus is a Dad and Sis approved dish. Dad called it restaurant-worthy. When I asked my sister how many apples this recipe should get for it’s post rating, she said: Oh five! I haven’t had any of your hummuses so far that haven’t been fives. Awesome!

We’ve been eating our hummus on a platter with warm Masada wheat pitas from Global Bakeries, some veggies and salad. But feel free to use your favorite dipping vessel to plunge right in.


  • 1 c. dried chickpeas
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves
  • ¼ c. tahini
  • 2 T. harissa paste
  • ¼ c. lemon juice
  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ T. tomato paste (optional, for coloring)
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika (regular or sweet)
  • ½ to 1 tsp. sea salt or to taste
  • 2 to 4 ice cubes


  1. Soak chickpeas in plenty of fresh water for 12 to 24 hours. I have always soaked closer to 24 hours.
  2. When ready to cook chickpeas, rinse and drain and then add to a pot. Add enough water to rise 1 to 2 inches above the chickpeas. Add baking soda. Turn heat to high and allow to come to a boil. Remove from heat and allow chickpeas to sit for 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. Rinse the chickpeas under water and remove the skins. You can do this by pinching the skins off the chickpea or by loosely rubbing them between your hands. You can soak the chickpeas in cool water and allow the skins to float the top. You can employee all three methods. Any way you slices it, this will take a long time and is the most annoying part of this recipe. You will likely be pulling skins off many of the chickpeas individually.
  4. Once the skins have been removed return the chickpeas back to the pot and cook for 10 to 20 minutes, if necessary. The chickpeas should be tender, not mushy.
  5. Combine chickpeas and garlic in a food processor and process until a thick paste forms.
  6. Add tahini, harissa paste, lemon juice, olive oil and tomato paste (if using) and pulse to combine a bit. Add cumin, paprika and salt and process for about five minutes, adding the ice cubes through the feeder while processing; process until mixture is smooth and creamy. (A word of warning: don’t add too many ice cubes or the final product will be too runny.)
  7. Serve, drizzled with more olive oil, and a sprinkle (or more!) of smoked paprika. Hummus will keep in the fridge for up to a week

Recipe rating: 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s