Homemade Hummus with Za’atar and Sweet Paprika
I’ve always loved hummus—but I never realized just how much better homemade hummus is until now. There is absolutely no comparison. And, despite the fact that I’ve happily dipped pitas into the store-bought stuff swirled with tapenade, pesto, and roasted peppers, a classic from-scratch recipe will show you what hummus tastes like in a truer form.
Funny Shameful story, but the first time I ever made hummus, I decided to omit the tahini because a) I was a total rookie, and b) I figured since I’d never heard of it, I probably didn’t need it. (Ah, young ignorance… ) I’m sure I don’t even have to tell you just how underwhelming that flavor profile was.
There are different regional preparations that you might want to seek out for inspiration. I like to keep mine simple with a blend of chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, za’atar, and parsley. In Egypt, they often add some cumin or other spices; in Palestine, they add mint.
And, of course, you can find an interesting variety of Americanized spins on hummus that incorporate avocado (I love avocado and even I’m not sure why this happened) and the abomination itself: dessert hummus. (Can we not.) Look. I don’t want to come off as smug and I’m all about experimentation, but that shit is whack. Call your dessert dip what it is and leave the gloriously velvety nutty perfection that is actual hummus out of it.
If you’re new to making hummus or Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in general, you might be wondering about a few of the ingredients here—mainly tahini and za’atar.
What is tahini and why is it crucial when making hummus?
Tahini is a saucy paste made from ground sesame seeds and is a staple in baba ghanoush, halva, and of course, hummus. If you try to make hummus without this good stuff, you’ll end up with a thick chickpea paste lacking that nutty flavor and velvety texture we love so much.
What is za’atar?
Unlike tahini, za’atar isn’t a necessity, but it’s delicious. It’s a spice blend made up of dried hyssop leaves, sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt and a few other spices, like thyme. You can sometimes find it in the spice aisle at your local supermarket, but I’d recommend hitting up a local Middle Eastern market or going online to snag yourself a high-quality blend. The difference is noticeable. While a regular store-bought blend is dry, like most dried spices, a good za’tar is fluffy and airy and tastes a million times fresher. It’s so soso good, that I also highly recommend whirling it into some olive oil and serving it with naan or pita. (Or, you can give this Man’oushe a shot, too!)
Homemade Hummus with Za’atar and Sweet Paprika.
You can keep things super simple with this recipe by adding all of the ingredients to a high-powered blender and blending them to smooth perfection, or you can jazz it up by sprinkling your za’atar and paprika over swirls of olive oil. I like to reserve a few chickpeas for garnish for the sake of texure, and fresh chopped parsley just brightens and freshens everything up.
If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3
Get the Recipe:
Homemade Hummus with Za'atar and Sweet Paprika
- 2 cups chickpeas, reserve approx. 1/3 cup of liquid and approx. 1/4 cup chickpeas for garnish, drained
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Za'atar
- 1 tablespoon Sweet paprika (or regular paprika)
- Chopped fresh parsley
- erve with pitas
- Put the chickpeas, tahini, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor (a blender will give you a much smoother hummus).
- Begin to blend and add the chickpea liquid as needed to create a smooth purée.
- Taste and adjust to your liking.
- Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
- Garnish with za’atar, paprika, parsley, and extra chickpeas.
!If you want to create your own za'atar, simply mix the following1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons sumac
Kosher salt and crackled black pepper
29 Comments on “Homemade Hummus with Za’atar and Sweet Paprika”
I served this as an appetiser for my daughter’s slumber party and the girls loved it so much that I had to make a fresh batch. I added some almonds to the mix. Turned out great with a nice nutty and tangy flavor. This is definitely my keeper recipe for quick and easy-to-make dips. Just wanted to add a note about shopping for za’atar – quality of ingredients vary greatly in blends and many contain fillers and artificial ingredients. If you’re buying online, search for Za’atar with no fillings, pure zaatar, or zaatar no salt.
I served this as an appetiser for my daughter’s slumber party and the kids loved it so much that I had to make a fresh batch. I added some almonds to the mix. Turned out great with a nice nutty and tangy flavor. This is definitely my keeper recipe for quick and easy-to-make dips. Just wanted to add a note about shopping for za’atar – quality of ingredients vary greatly in blends and many contain fillers and artificial ingredients. If you’re buying online, search for Za’atar with no fillings, pure zaatar, or zaatar no salt.
I served this as an appetiser for my daughter’s slumber party and the kids loved it so much that I had to make a fresh batch. I added some almonds to the mix. Turned out great with a nice nutty and tangy flavor. This is definitely my keeper recipe for quick and easy-to-make dips. Just wanted to add a note about shopping for za’atar – the quality of ingredients vary greatly in blends and many contain fillers and artificial ingredients. If you’re buying online, search for Za’atar with no fillings, pure zaatar, or zaatar no salt.
Thanks so much for taking the time to give me feedback. This makes me so happy! You know it’s good when you get the kids’ approval ;)
This has been my go-to recipe ever since I whipped it up the first time, and it’s definitely a fave in my circle of friends. I’m really glad it’s working out to be the same for you. And good call on the za’atar. I’ve only ever used one brand, so that’s a great thing to note!
I have just recently discovered za’atar and I love it! CAn’t wait to try this!
I’m with you, Carolyn! I can’t picture my hummus without it now. Let me know when you give this a shot! I hope you love it :)
I finally bought some za’atar (well mine says zahtar. If that’s not the right thing just don’t tell me haha)!! I’m totally gonna make this ASAP!
Totally the same thing! I’ve seen it spelled both ways too. Let me know what you think. I hope you love it :)
This looks so, so scrumptious Dana! I’ve been itching to make a homemade hummus lately. Just pinned this recipe — your photos are extra gorgeous! I’ve never used Za’atar… I’ll have to put it on the list of things to try!
And all this time later I FINALLY tried this, thanks to our Recipe Nod! :) I used smoked paprika, curry infused olive oil and garnished with some pomegranate arils and it’s DYNAMITE! Currently devouring it with some fresh veg. Thanks for the inspiration, girl! Hope you’re having a great weekend.
Justine! I absolutely *love* your adaptations! curry-infused olive oil sounds like a *dream*. Also, smoked paprika would go swimmingly with that! I’m making a batch this week and I’m totally going to put your spin on it. I don’t have curry-infused oil but I’ll work in some curry powder to get the essence of what you’ve done. We can call it a #RecipeNodNod. Ha. So glad you loved it :)
Yes! I love the #RecipeNodNod! Haha. It was in fact Hot Paprika, not smoked, my bad. I made it again today but this time I refrained from eating almost the entire thing (somehow!).
It looks amazing! I recently got green zatar. I never make hummus because here in metro Detroit their are lots of middle eastern place but ntg with zatar. So I need to make some now
Thanks, Suchi! Let me know if you do make it! I really hope you love it :)
We love hummus around here, Loreto is the one that makes it and, you’re right, he never skips tahini. I found his version awesome…until now… when I think I’ve found my new favorite (but please, don’t tell him ;-) ). Looks fantastic, so inviting!
I definitely learned the hard way about the tahini! Haha. How does Lorenzo do his? I bet it’s amazing. And haha – your secret is safe with me ;) Thanks so much, Nicoletta!
I LOVE homemade hummus and have somehow never heard of za’atar! I love middle eastern spices .. I’ll have to blend up my own and try this version!! Yummmm
Thanks, Sarah! I was petty puzzled when I’d come across za’atar for the first time, too. I felt off my game. Haha. Let me know what you think!
What tasty looking pictures! That is a hummus I’d love to dig into right now. And I have some za’atar sitting in my pantry too.
Thanks, Annemarie! I think the fact that you have some za’atar kicking around might be a sign ;)
Wow — you’ve indeed brought hummus to a whole new level of deliciousness! And the presentation is absolutely stunning. Great for a party!
Thanks, Valentina! I’m definitely looking forward to sharing this one with friends. One day. This particular one is nearly gone. Haha. Oops.
Oh my, this looks sooo delicious and appetizing, I love hummus very much. :)
Thanks, Silvia! Hummus really is great. I’ve been on a hummus kick for months – but I’d been buying it from the grocery store. Not anymore!