About five years ago, I was grocery shopping with my wife when she picked up some hummus and added it to our cart. Being the
jerk price-conscious person I am, I inquired to why it was so expensive ($3.99 for around 12 ounces), “Isn’t hummus just ground up chickpeas?”, I asked. My wife kind of shrugged her shoulders and I said, “I think so, but it’s soooo good. It’s healthy too!” That logic was a good enough for me given the time and the place, but I had a feeling that I was onto another money-saving idea.
It turns out that I was mostly right about hummus being ground up chickpeas. In fact Wikipedia lists typical ingredients as: “mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.” If you look at those ingredients, you probably already have the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic in your kitchen. If that’s true, you only need to find the chickpeas and the tahini. We found our chickpeas at Trader Joe’s. “Joe” prefers to label them as garbanzo beans and I must give my wife credit for realizing that they are the same thing. Tahini, I would later learn is ground up sesame seeds. The tahini was originally found at Whole Foods. However, Whole Foods is pricey so we dropped by a local Mediterranean market that had tahini in almost any size that you might want at a reasonable price. (Seriously, it almost went up to a Costco keg size.)
Update: We’ve moved to a place that doesn’t have a convenient Mediterranean store. We had a craving and ended up going to a super health store and paid $10 for 16 ounces for Woodstock organic tahini. At nearly 63 cents per ounce, it cost us $2.50 for the four ounces of Tahini in the recipe below. Throw in the beans and the other ingredients and it isn’t a great savings. However, Amazon comes to the rescue with Lior Tahini All Natural Tahini… a well-reviewed product that is only 22 cents an ounce… or $0.88 for the whole recipe.
My wife found a recipe online at All Recipes, but has modified the ingredients a bit to the following:
- 2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained (or 1 Trader Joe’s can)
- 1/2 cup tahini – even though All Recipes says a 1/3, my wife’s tastes prefers the 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- two cubes of frozen garlic… or two fresh garlic cloves. Update: Now that I’ve tried minced garlic, I can say that is easier than the other options. It’s simply one teaspoon. Amazon has a great price on minced garlic, too – $0.21 an ounce (note the recipe requires a lot less than an ounce, this is just pricing information for those curious).
If you are doing this at home, we’ll wait here for you to gather all the ingredients. In the meantime, the rest of you talk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic. The chick pea is neither a chick nor a pea. Discuss! (I’ll be taking a phone call from the SNL producers for stealing their joke and not properly attributing it to their Coffee Talk skit.)
Now that we have all the ingredients it’s time get out your favorite Blender/Food Processor. I use the food processing section. (You’ll also notice I have a slightly older version.)
Open up your can of garbanzo beans, drain them, put them in your food processor:
Next up grab your garlic. We use this frozen garlic because keeping fresh garlic around (and fresh) is a pain. Like the garbanzo beans, we found ours at Trader Joe’s. You’ll note that with Dorot’s crushed garlic, one cube is equal to 1 garlic clove… and you get 20 cubes in a package. Two cubes is all we’ll use here. (Update: Or the minced garlic and ignore this image.)
Now it’s time for the lemon juice. We are just using a 1/4 cup. We use ReaLemon because it’s cheap at our local commissary. If you aren’t affiliated with the military, I recommended a generic version to save a little money.
The next big ingredient is the tahini. We’ll be using a half cup here.
I’ll save you a picture of a teaspoon of salt. Just don’t forget to add it. Not that a picture of tahini is exciting, but a picture of salt… well, that would set a new low on this website.
Just put everything in the food-processor and process until creamy. Here’s the final product:
Homemade Hummus Savings
Now, since this about saving money, it’s time to look at the price of the recipe. Many of these are well-known, common ingredients. Since I didn’t have the prices of these handy, I simply decided to estimate the prices. The one rare product was the Tahini which I did confirm was $4.49 for 16 ounces (though it could have been cheaper if bought in larger sizes.)
- Garbanzo Beans – Total: $0.75? per can – Cost Per Recipe: $.75?
- Tahini – Total: $15.49 for 70 ounces – Cost Per Recipe: $0.88
- Lemon Juice – Total: $2.00? – Cost Per Serving: $0.15?
- Garlic – Total: $10.00 for 48 ounces – Cost Per Serving: $0.03 (I actually did the math on this one)
- Salt – Total: $0.75 – Cost Per Serving: fractions of pennies
- Total for the recipe: $~1.81
This savings between $3.99 and $1.81 may not seem like much. However, for $1.81 you get 20 ounces when you make it at home and with the $3.99 I was getting only 12 ounces. I’ll glad pay 9 cents an ounce vs. 33 cents an ounce. It certainly makes a difference when you can go through 12-15 ounces in a sitting like my wife and I can.
It’s worth noting that we could probably shave costs further by buying dried garbanzo beans in a bag in bulk, but I’m inclined to take the Lazy way of grabbing a can. I’ll leave cheaper chick peas as an exercise for the reader.
Also this hummus is extremely easy and can be made in about 3 minutes using mainly ingredients that you have around the kitchen. For a lot of people, that’s not a bad return for the time spent.