This delicious Mediterranean style bean dip is a versatile dip or spread that is as loaded with nutrition as it is flavor. By making it yourself you not only save money, but you control the ingredients so it's better and better for you than the prepared hummus from the store.

Hummus Ingredients

8 ounces dried chickpeas or one 15 - 16 ounce can, drained. (garbanzo beans) 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about one lemon). 1/4 cup tahini sesame paste stirred well. It's easy to make from raw sesame seeds or you can find it on the ethnic foods aisle in a jar. Large garlic clove, or more to taste. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. 1 tablespoon grape seed oil or additional olive oil for more olive oil flavor. The grape seed oil has a neutral flavor. 1 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste. 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, to taste (optional). 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste (optional). 1/2 cup water (approximate). Dash of paprika for garnish.

Hummus Directions

If using dry beans: Rinse the beans and remove any debris. Place in a pot and fill almost to the top with water. Bring to a boil then remove from heat, cover, and leave to soak overnight. The next morning change out the water, bring to a boil, then simmer for four hours. Catch beans in a colander and allow to cool.

In a food processor start with just the tahini and lemon juice and blend them real well for a minute or so. This step ensures very creamy hummus.

Add in the garlic, one tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, cumin, optional cayenne, and about 1/4 cup of water. Blend for a minute or so.

Add in the beans a little at a time and keep blending. If the mixture looks like it's bogging down and getting too thick add in the remaining oil. If it's still too thick slowly add in some water. You want it to be smooth with a nice consistency so just watch it while you blend for a few minutes. Blend until very smooth and taste to see if it needs more salt before you finish blending.

Your hummus can be served right away but the flavors will fully blend and develop if it is allowed to rest in the refrigerator for several hours. Sprinkle a little paprika on top for a dash of color.

For flavor variations add in cilantro, sun-dried tomatoes, hot peppers, toasted pine nuts, or whatever you would like to try.