Pre-made hummus has become a supermarket standard and, not to put too fine a point on it, it stinks compared to the homemade version of this Middle Eastern classic, which combines the distinctive flavor of chickpeas with the nuttiness of tahini. Make it as nutty, garlicky, lemony, or spiced as you like— I love it with lots of lemon juice. It’s also great with a good sprinkling of za’atar. If you’re serving this as a dip, you may need to add extra chickpea-cooking liquid or water to thin it adequately so that items can be dipped in it. Keep it thick to use as a spread.

Hummus

Yield: 4 to 6 servings Time: 15 minutes with cooked chickpeas
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained but still moist, liquid reserved
1/2 cup tahini, or more to taste
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, peeled, or to taste
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin or paprika, or to taste, plus more for garnish
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Put the chickpeas, tahini, oil, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and begin to process; add chickpea-cooking liquid or water as needed to allow the machine to produce a smooth puree.

2. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, tahini, garlic, or lemon juice as desired. Serve, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with the cumin and some parsley.

EDAMAME HUMMUS Beautiful green and full of flavor: Substitute cooked edamame for the chickpeas. Omit the cumin or paprika. Substitute cilantro for the parsley if you like.

BEET HUMMUS Stunningly beautiful: Wrap a small beet in foil and roast in a 400°F oven until very tender, 45 to 50 minutes. When cool enough to handle, rub the skin off with a paper towel. Cut into a couple of pieces and puree with the chickpeas in Step 1.