Simple hummus for your picnic

When I changed the calendar from March to April I felt a little zip of excitement. This month the weather should begin to brighten and warm. At some point during the next few weeks we will pack up some treats and set out to have a picnic. I am hoping our picnic will have a view of the tulip fields in the Skagit Valley – fingers crossed.

Most of the picnics I pack consist of simple foods that can be eaten without silverware and won’t be ruined if a water bottle falls on them inside the cooler. Some of my go-to picnic foods are sliced veggies, small pieces of fruit, whole grain crackers or chips, and HUMMUS!

Hummus is a great food to whip up any time you want a condiment or dip with a little more substance. If you make yours from canned garbanzo beans, it can be made on a whim anytime you get a craving. For this batch of hummus I started with dry beans. I like this version with sesame oil in place of the traditional tahini. I generally keep sesame oil on hand while tahini is not a part of my normal pantry stock.

Making hummus turned into a fun kitchen chemistry project. I let The Little Helping see the dry beans before we cooked them then taste them once they were soft. He really enjoyed sprinkling the seasonings and adding the oils. I operated the food processor while he watched the hummus change from beans to a smooth purée. The process was quick enough to hold his attention from start to finish, a rare occurrence for my busy three year old.

Cooking the beans: Bring 3/4 cup of dry beans and 5 cups of water to a boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for about an hour until the beans have become tender and can be easily mashed with a fork, they should double in volume. Drain the cooked beans in a colander and rinse under cool water until they are room temperature. When cool you can prepare the hummus or store the beans for later use.

Super Fast Hummus

This tahini-less hummus is not completely authentic but it is a great alternative. Chili powder lends a subtle warmth without much heat. Garlic olive oil offers a quick way to pump up the flavor. Serve the hummus as a sandwich spread on bread or tortillas or use it as a dip for crackers and fresh vegetables.

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: n/a; Yield: 16 servings approximately 2 tablespoons each


  • 3/4 cup (150 g.) garbanzo beans dry (or 2.5 cups canned beans, rinsed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup garlic-infused olive oil (alternate: add a few cloves of roasted garlic to plain olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plain
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (approximately 1/2 a medium lemon)
  • optional: water


Put the boiled (see above) or rinsed garbanzo beans in the bowl of a large food processor or blender. Sprinkle the salt and chili powder over the beans. Secure the lid and begin to puree the beans on medium/low speed.

Use the funnel to slowly add the oil and lemon juice to the puree while the food processor is running. Taste the hummus and add seasoning if needed. Hummus is finished when the ingredients have been fully blended.

Optional: for a creamier texture add water a few teaspoons at a time until the desired texture has been achieved.

Will keep fresh in a sealed container for about a week.

Approximate Nutrition Per Serving: 69 calories, 5.7 g fat, 5.6 g carbohydrates, 2.6 g fiber, 1.5 g protein, PP = 2

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