Restaurant Style Hummus with Smoked Paprika-Chili Drizzle

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Growing up in a Lebanese family, I’ve eaten a lot of hummus. And still, I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it.  This hummus is unexpectedly thick and rich. It hits the spot.

Hummus is health food for some. It’s comfort food to me.  It reminds me of spending fun summers with my grandmother in Brooklyn. She’d make her hummus the old fashioned way, soaking the dried chickpeas overnight. Then she’d cook them before blending them into a creamy dip. She’d always serve her hummus with fresh pita, scallions and radishes.

One night after having dinner with my husband at a little Indian restaurant on the outskirts of Boston, I declared that I had to stop at the closest supermarket for lemons and limes. Heaven forbid I don’t have any fresh lemons in the fridge! My patient husband has learned to just roll with my food-obsessed ways. We ended up at an old supermarket that looked like it hadn’t seen a remodel since the 1970’s. While waiting in the checkout line, I grabbed an issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. The recipe for restaurant-style hummus caught my eye. I knew I had to try it.


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This creamy hummus is topped with a complex-chili infused oil. This oil is also good on eggs and grilled chicken or fish.  You can omit the red chili pepper in the oil if you don’t want the spicy heat.

Aleppo pepper is a pleasantly tart ground pepper with mild cumin undertones. It’s sold in most Middle Eastern markets and online at Penzeys Spices.

The best paprika comes from Spain. They slowly smoke the peppers and grind them into a velvety powder. I like Safinter Smoked Spanish Paprika which I find at Whole Foods.

Store the hummus in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 days. Serve it with pita and olives and you’ve got a fresh, healthy snack or a light lunch. Add it to your favorite vegetarian wrap. Dip grilled chicken or veggies into it.  The sky’s the limit.

Once you’ve made hummus a few times, you’ll get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect. Enjoy!


Restaurant Style Hummus with Smoked Paprika Chili Drizzle Recipe



serves 4

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine’s recipe for restaurant style hummus.

Some notes: 

I keep a couple of cans of chickpeas, a jar of tahini and some pita in my kitchen, so I can whip up this beloved Middle Eastern dip whenever the craving strikes.
My favorite brand of tahini sesame paste is from Beirut. I love this one because it pours/stirs so easily even after being refrigerated.  I find it at Middle Eastern grocery stores. Here’s the amazon link for it:   Use whatever brand you like.
Depending on my mood, I either add ground cumin to the hummus or I leave it out.
Sometimes I pick up another can of chickpeas and scatter whole chickpeas on top of the creamy hummus for additional texture. Have fun and add your own inspired toppings.
  • 1 16-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2-3 lemons, I like my hummus lemony.
  • Generous 1/3 cup of tahini, well stirred. (see notes for information and my favorite brand)
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 1/8 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin (optional)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Serving Suggestions: some whole chickpeas scattered on top, smoked paprika chili drizzle (recipe below), 1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds,  a handful of toasted pine nuts, everything bagel blend,  finely diced or thinly sliced jalapeno peppers


  1. Squeeze the juice of half of a lemon into the bowl of a food processor along with the chickpeas, tahini paste, salt, cumin and 1/8 cup of olive oil. Pulse to combine. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time while mixing in the food processor, until you reach your desired consistency. You want it to be thick and creamy, not watery or thin. Stop often. Taste often. Adjust salt, scrape down sides of the bowl and add more lemon juice if desired. I used the juice of one whole lemon in this recipe. Then I dowsed it with lots more lemon juice upon serving. Adjust the lemon juice according to your personal taste.
  2.  Serve it with my smoked paprika chilli drizzle (recipe below).
  3. Another option instead of the chili drizzle  is to  toast some sesame seeds or pine nuts or everything bagel blend in a small dry fry pan on medium low heat until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Serve the hummus with a drizzle of best quality olive oil and  a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts or everything bagel blend and very thinly sliced or finely diced green chili pepper.


Smoked Paprika Chili Drizzle 


  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground red chili pepper or Aleppo pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika (I used Safinter brand)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste


Warm the olive oil on medium low heat with the red chili pepper or Aleppo pepper and smoked paprika and a dash of salt. Once warmed, set a side. The longer it sits the better it will be. Drizzle it over the restaurant style hummus and serve.


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6 thoughts on “Restaurant Style Hummus with Smoked Paprika-Chili Drizzle

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