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.
It would be even cheaper if you started with dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans. I like a very smooth hummus and find that the canned chickpeas are too firm for my taste. By investing a bit more time to soak and cook the dried beans, I end up with exactly the hummus I want for a lower price!
Oh, and try tossing some dry ground cumin in a hot skillet for a few minutes to “toast” it, and then add that to your hummus. Divine!
I love hummus. In fact, this is pretty much the exact same recipe I use. The only difference is I like to roast my garlic if I think about it ahead of time. I also add a little bit of olive oil which I think helps give it a really creamy texture.
Now I’m craving hummus but don’t have the ingredients :(
What’s the salt look like exactly? ;-)
Lazy man, Energy Gal,
I did not know you did recipes too. Great!! Try adding (garnishing) with pinch of paparika, extra virgin olive oil and 1 table spoon toasted pine nuts. Yummy!
Now you are ready for gathering, when to come over? :-) I can bring toasted pita chips !
Annie G says
Be sure to drain and RINSE those canned beans. Rinsing not only removes excess salt, but also much of the unpleasant side effect of eating beans!
Lazy Man says
Yes it can be cheaper, but it’s not quite as easy or fast. I was going to mention that, but I felt like sticking to something that people can make in 3-5 minutes is the “Lazy” way.
I suppose if want to get rid of excess salt by rinsing, you might as well not add the salt the recipe requires (or you might want to add more salt to make up for what you rinsed off).
I’ve never heard of rinsing taking care of any unpleasant side effects. It doesn’t make sense to me as those effect are from fiber and fiber can’t be rinsed off of beans (nor would you want to).
Mmmm, I love hummus. One thing I have to add is that using fresh garlic can make all the difference. I do agree that keeping fresh garlic on hand can be a hassle, but the taste is so sharp and spicy.
My dad makes hummus every once in a while and likes adding things like jalapenos and black olives. Good eating for sure :)
How do you like your SmartPower Duet Blender/Food Processor
The Digerati Life says
This was sooooo good! Thanks Lazy Man and Energy Gal… Love this demo. :)
It’s not the fiber that makes you gassy, but an enzyme that is easily removed by rinsing. If using dry beans, rinse after soaking. Tahini is incredibly easy to make. Lightly toast some sesame seeds, cool, and grind in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle until smooth. Add some oil, either sesame or olive for good flavor, and a pinch of salt.
Frozen garlic? Good idea…that makes life so much easier… Great hummus recipe, thanks for posting it!
You can save even more money by buying bulk sesame seeds and blending them up. Just add a little water or oil and you’ve got fresh tahini for (usually) two to three bucks a pound.
Buy and cook your own dried beans, too. You can use any kind of legume, really — try favas or black beans next time. Excellent hummus can be amazingly cheap! (Except for those dang pine nuts.)
Lazy Man says
Good points, I didn’t think to take it a step further and make the tahini. As for the beans, I’m just Lazy and like the ability to have hummus in minutes.
I am so thankful to web sights like these…I am suppose to eat Hummus after my Bariatric surgery and it is a great help to know how to make great Hummus as needed and to be able to change it up a bit. Great source of protein for me;-} Thanks Again
Thank you for the recipe. My granddaughter and I can polish off $5 worth of prepared hummus in one sitting, so I’ll be using your recipe (also the tahini one..thanks Jess, ’cause it’s pricey). Loved the description and the touch of humor. Thanks and G-d Bless!
Good idea to make your own hummus. I know you said you wanted a quick and easy version, which yours is, but here is another idea instead of canned garbanzos – make yours fresh from dried garbanzo beans in the bag. You just put the bagful in a crock pot with water and maybe a little salt, and set on low for 8 hours, or until tender. It’s enough to make 2 big batches of hummus, and I use the simmer water if I need to thin out the hummus in the food processor. I make my hummus this way now because I really don’t like the metallic taste that some of the canned garbanzo beans have – even Trader Joe’s beans – they seem to absorb the can’s ‘flavor’. We also will sometimes take a portion of the hummus and flavor it with jalapenos or pine nuts or mild red peppers, for a change of pace. Love your website BTW!
Lazy Man says
Some people have mentioned making the garbanzo beans fresh in the past. It’s probably not much more difficult as you explained. You do sacrifice the quickness. Also, our slow cooker gets a lot of use, so on Sundays when I’d make a batch for the week, I’m likely to be making other stuff.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the fresh beans are probably less likely to have BPA, which is becoming a fear for some of canned foods. (I’m slowly putting myself in that category).
All good suggestions. All you have to do is decide on consistency and flavor. I personally like to use the hand held blender. Easy clean up
That’s how I have mande hummus for years :)
I love Hummus, I usually buy mine at the Whole Foods down the street, so good!! and since I’m there anyway to buy the pita bread, I’m not sure I’m saving time and buying a $100 food processor to save $1.50 each serving is going to work for saving $. Maybe when I have a family, this may change. I will have to find other uses for a food processor, more recipes? Also how long ’til this homemade hummus goes bad?
Lazy Man says
I wouldn’t recommend buying a $100 food processor just for hummus, but I think you probably will find other uses.
I don’t know how long it takes for the homemade hummus to go bad. It never lasts that long.
I know this is not a true Hummus ingredient… but if you don’t have the tahini on hand, try creamy peanut butter. You’ll be amazed at how close it tastes to regular hummus made with the tahini. If you add additional ingredients, you won’t notice the difference at all. Try it!
Diane S says
Wow.. came to your site looking at protandim scams..and found this! I am going to try this recipe. Looks tasty :) and being I’m a cheapie too, this will save some $ on my hummus bill
We use dry chickpeas all the time. Throw a few cups in the crockpot cover with water and set for 3 hours on high and you have your beans. Easy peasy and MUCH cheaper. We’ve even made chickpea chocolate chip cookies (recipe on blog) and many other recipes with chickpeas because they are nutritious and delicious.
Make your own pita chips too. Our grocer frequently has buy 1/get 1 free offers on pita bread. Open them up, slice each round into 6ths or 8ths with a pizza cutter, lay on a cookie sheet at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or so until crispy. Cool and store in a storage bag or container. LOTS of chips for a cheap price. You can lightly salt them before drying if you like.