Package-Free Hummus

Since coming to CalRecycle as an Executive Fellow and learning more about waste management in California, I have been more thoughtful about the waste I create in my own life. Packaging represents about one quarter of California’s waste stream, and   China’s current policy to limit or prohibit recyclable material imports is changing how recycling works in California. Recyclable materials that once had robust market demand are increasingly difficult to manage in the state.

In fact, the City of Sacramento, where I live and where CalRecycle headquarters are located, recently announced it is no longer accepting #4-7 plastic in its curbside recycling program. As a result, I am rethinking my consumer choices.

I am a big fan of hummus, a creamy dip made from chickpeas, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and tahini. Hummus is delicious just with these simple five ingredients, but it is also versatile and tastes fantastic with the addition of spices like cumin or paprika. I’ve even heard of folks blending steamed beets into their hummus for amazing flavor and color. I eat my hummus with carrots, with delicious farmers market cucumbers, spread on toast, and with crackers.

Prior to becoming a CalRecycler, I would generally purchase hummus weekly at the grocery store in a plastic tub without thinking much about what would happen to that plastic tub once I was done with it.  Luckily for me (and for you!), I recently discovered it’s super easy to make from scratch.

Here is my easy, versatile, delicious, and plastic-packaging-free hummus recipe. I skip the packaging altogether, purchase my chickpeas in bulk, and cook them in my pressure cooker, but if you’re strapped for time, canned chickpeas work great too. I also make my own tahini, which is a toasted sesame seed condiment and is crucial for making hummus. Tahini is available premade if you don’t want to take the extra step.

Package-Free Hummus

Ingredients

  • 2 cup chickpeas, cooked and drained (or 1 15-ounce can)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon), plus more as needed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender
  • Rubber spatula
  • Strainer or colander
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse your chickpeas. Make sure to reserve some of the bean liquid for thinning out the hummus later, if necessary.
  2. Combine the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper in the food processor or blender.
  3. Blend the ingredients and slowly add in the olive oil while the food processor or blender is running.
  4. Blend up to five minutes, stopping to scrape down the side of the food processor or blender with a rubber spatula if necessary.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings. You can also add your reserved chickpea water and blend again if you feel like the hummus is too thick.
  6. Transfer to bowl and serve! You can add any additional seasonings you would like. I enjoy some smoked paprika, cumin, and a drizzle of olive oil on top.
  7. Enjoy!
— Allegra Curiel
Posted on Aug 27, 2018

Summary: I would generally purchase hummus weekly at the grocery store in a plastic tub without thinking much about what would happen to that plastic tub once I was done with it. Luckily for me (and for you!), I recently discovered it’s super easy to make from scratch.