The bright, floral, and lemon-y flavors of za'atar transform regular hummus into an extra special and irresistible dip. Made with tahini, lemon and sautéed garlic.
Why You'll Love Za'atar Hummus
In case you're not familiar with za'atar seasoning, it's a Middle Eastern spice blend with aromas and flavors that are almost too perfect for hummus. It's lemon-y, zesty, and slightly floral.
Za'atar also refers to a specific herb, the namesake of the blend. Some blends include this plant and some don't. Similar to other seasoning blends, like garam masala and chili powder, the exact ingredients in za'atar vary by region and recipe.
The primary ingredients in za'atar seasoning are sesame seeds (toasty, nutty), sumac (bright, citrusy), and other dried herbs like thyme and oregano (floral, fresh).
Some za'atar blends contain salt and some don't. So keep that in mind when preparing your hummus. I used one that does include salt, by Spicewalla, pictured below.
- za'atar seasoning blend - there are many brands available. Currently I'm using this za'atar by Spicewalla (their products are great and they're based here in Asheville).
- cooked chickpeas - for convenience the recipe is written to use 1 (15 oz) can.
- lemon juice - depending on how juicy your lemons are, you may need two lemons.
- olive oil - extra virgin olive oil is blended directly into the hummus; you'll also need 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to saute the garlic and bloom the za'atar (I used avocado oil for this because it has a higher smoke point.
- garlic cloves
See recipe card for quantities and full instructions.
- First, bloom the za'atar in oil and lightly saute the garlic. This enhances the flavors and infuses the oil.
- Reserve about ⅓ of the garlic-za'atar oil for drizzling on the finished hummus. Combine everything else in a blender. A high-speed blender works best here and creates the smoothest hummus. Otherwise, a food processor also works. Start on low speed, and stop as needed to stir and get rid of air pockets near the blades. Blend until smooth.
Tip: stop as needed to stir the hummus and add a splash of water, for consistency and to assist the blender.
Za'atar hummus can be enjoyed in all the same ways you normally serve hummus.
- as a dip for raw veggies, crackers, and chips
- spread on sandwiches and toast
- thinned with additional lemon and/or water and drizzled on grain bowls
- and paired with your favorite Middle Eastern dishes
- Beans - not a fan of chickpeas? Cannellini beans create a wonderfully creamy spread.
- Oil-free - for those of you avoid added oils in your diet, za'atar can be added directly to the hummus, skipping the step of blooming in oil.
Of course, garlic may be added to the blender raw, or if you prefer to saute it as I did here, use a bit of tahini whisked together with vegetable broth for the saute pan. The fat in the tahini is a great vehicle for the garlic flavor.
Often I make hummus in a food processor because it's easier. But for this recipe I wanted a super smooth consistency, so I used my Vitamix blender instead.
Though the blender is a bit fussier (you'll need to stop several times to get rid of the air pocket near the blades), the extra effort is absolutely worth it if you want extra creamy hummus.
You might also like:
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil - or light olive oil; if you avoid oil see Notes
- 4 large cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 3 teaspoons za'atar seasoning blend - I use SpiceWalla brand
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained - or approx. 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - if you avoid oil, use aquafaba or water for consistency
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or mineral salt, plus more to taste
- splash of water or aquafaba for blending
- Preheat a skillet or saute pan over low heat, and add the tablespoon of cooking oil. Cook the garlic for about 1 minute, stirring to make sure it doesn't burn. Add the za'atar and stir. Let bloom in the oil for about 20 seconds then remove from heat.
- To a high-speed blender or food processor, add about ⅔ of the za'atar-garlic mixture and all of the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides. Add a splash of water as needed to keep the blender moving and to reach the desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more za'atar, lemon or salt as desired. Blend again to incorporate. Serve with the remaining za'atar oil drizzled on top.
Garlic may also be added to the blender raw, or if you prefer to saute it as I did here, use a bit of tahini whisked together with vegetable broth for the pan. The fat in the tahini is a great vehicle for the garlic flavor. Yield - about 1 ¾ cups. Nutrition information reflects ⅛ of the recipe, or 3 to 3 ½ tablespoons of hummus. Store - store hummus in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.