It’s easy to buy good hummus. It’s also easy to make great hummus.
When I was in San Francisco last month, I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up some snacks and came across their eggplant hummus, which I hadn’t seen before. I decided to buy it instead of my favorite three-layer hummus since I was only going to be in town for three days and didn’t think I’d get through the larger container. It was like a cross between hummus and baba ganoush, with the smokiness of the roasted eggplant giving extra depth to basic hummus seasoned with lemon, tahini, and garlic. It was the perfect afternoon snack with some tabouli and plantain chips.
After getting back, I confirmed that it wasn’t available at either D.C. location and resolved to make my own. The eggplant makes the hummus a bit lighter than normal, but otherwise it relies on the traditional cast of characters. They’re easy to find — even the tiny Safeway by my house carries tahini paste — and inexpensive. Using canned chickpeas means the eggplant is the only ingredient that needs any prep before being thrown into a food processor or blender.
It’s best to wait at least an hour after blending to serve the hummus so the flavors have time to meld. I prefer it at cool room temperature, not straight from the refrigerator. Then a drizzle of olive oil and some warm pita is all you need, though it would be equally at home on falafel or as part of a larger spread.
- 1 large eggplant (1-1.5 pounds)
- 1 13-14-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed
- 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons tahini paste
- 2 small garlic cloves
- Kosher salt
- To serve: olive oil, paprika or sumac, pita bread
- Preheat broiler and adjust rack to be about 6 inches from the heat source. Prick the eggplant with a fork about 10 times, all over the surface. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes, turning it over halfway through the cooking time. The outside will be charred and some juices may be leaking out. Set aside to cool.
- When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, scoop the soft flesh out of the charred skin. If there is a lot of liquid, let it drain off.
- Combine the eggplant flesh, chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, tahini paste, garlic, and a teaspoon of salt in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Taste and add more lemon juice and salt, as needed.
- It’s best to let the hummus sit for at least an hour to let the flavors come together. If you want to store it in the refrigerator, allow it to warm up a bit before serving. Drizzle the hummus with olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika or sumac, and serve with warm pita bread.