Hummus isn’t the kind of thing you can get passionate about, really, is it? Or so I thought until Simon, quite a few years ago now, dragged me to Hummus Bros for lunch. I thought he was being a bit weird, tbh – no one gets that excited about chickpeas.

Boy, was I wrong. Nutty, heavy on tahini, scented with cumin, it’s a completely different thing from the cold, beige pots of supermarket gunge – so I mainlined it once a week or so, and had major withdrawal symptoms when work took me elsewhere.

Thus, the search for a replacement recipe began. I looked at Ottolenghi’s (don’t you love Ottolenghi? His food, his writing, his determination to dirty every receptacle in your kitchen whenever you make one of his recipes) and it was deliciously familiar, but it involved so much faff (cooking chickpeas from dried – lovely, but for a simple lunch it just takes.too.long) and I ended up with about two litres of hummus at the end. (I mean, I love hummus, but …)

So here’s a cheat’s version. It uses one tin of chickpeas, so there’s no boiling for hours, and you end up with, hmm, about the equivalent of 2-3 supermarket tubs. That’s enough for Sunday pre-dinner snacks, then lunch on Monday and Tuesday. But it’s way nicer, and faster to make than popping to the shops.

I won’t lie – if you cook your own chickpeas, this will taste a teeny bit better, but the volume and ease below more than offsets the difference for Ted and me. I’m sure he wouldn’t approve, but Yotam honey, this is what a normal home cook calls simple, in normal household quantities. (Love you ?)

You will need a food processor for this, to get it really, really smooth.

This does use quite a lot of tahini – that’s the big difference between this type of hummus and the cheaper chickpea-heavy one. Noor, the middle-eastern grocery in Brixton, is amazing and you should totally go there if you can. The brand is Sofra and it’s £2.09 for 454g/1lb, which is enough for three quantities of this recipe. Otherwise, get it where you can, but it’ll be cheaper at Noor or similar and hey, you can pick up a pomegranate and some fat, fluffy pitta breads at the same time.

One-can, Ottolenghi-style cheat’s hummus


  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • Half a cup of light tahini
  • Juice of half a lemon or 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed, or half a tsp powdered garlic
  • Half a tsp salt
  • 1 level teaspoon ground cumin
  • 100ml cold water

To serve:

  • Good olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Lemon juice
  • Whatever you want to put on the top

First, stir the tahini so the consistency is uniform and it’s ready to add as soon as you need it. (This recipe happens very quickly.)

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then blitz them in the food processor until they make a uniform grainy paste.

With the motor still running, in order, add the tahini, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt and cumin. Then add the water in a slow trickle. Check the consistency of the hummus after you’ve added about two-thirds of the water – it might be enough. You want it ever so slightly looser than a stiff paste. (I usually need to add all 100ml, sometimes even a little more, but it depends on the mood of the chickpeas.)

Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl and blitz for a bit longer, to get the hummus as smooth as you can.

That’s it. You’re done. Five minutes max from start to finish.

If you can, put the hummus in a bowl and let it rest for at least twenty minutes before serving so the flavours meld – this helps temper the garlic and lets the cumin relax into the background.

To serve, if it’s been refrigerated, take it out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature for about half an hour if you can.

Take a big scoop (about 3/4 a cup) and spread it around a bowl so there’s a hollow in the middle.

Drizzle with good olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with a pinch of paprika.

Then fill the hollow with whatever you choose – I like a tomato, cucumber and parsley salad, with pomegranate seeds if I’m feeling fancy, or you could add feta, or leftover roast chicken, or if you’re feeling naughty, frizzle tiny slivers of lamb in ghee and pop them on the top if you like.

Eat with warm pitta bread. Om nom nom.