Oren’s Hummus is a restaurant in Palo Alto that my family and I go to all the time. All of the food at Oren’s is traditional Israeli food, from the chicken skewers and shakshuka to the wonderfully smoky babajanoush. The main attraction, of course, is Oren’s Hummus. The hummus comes to the table in big bowls with olive oil, fresh herbs, and paprika alongside harissa paste and unlimited free pita bread that’s fresh from the oven. It is the creamiest hummus I have encountered, and it’s packed with tahini and lemon juice, giving it the perfect balance of acidity and richness.
I have always wanted to recreate that hummus, and I finally found the perfect recipe, straight out of the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi—which if you’re unfamiliar with the book, is pretty much the encyclopedia for vegetarian Israeli cooking. It’s a very simple recipe, that adheres to the traditional flavors of traditional Israeli hummus.
To make the hummus, you start by peeling the chickpeas so that the hummus becomes incredibly silky and creamy. It takes a few extra minutes, but it makes all the difference, and the skins slip off easily by pinching the chickpea with your thumb and index finger. Then the chickpeas and pureed with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil until the texture is to your liking. A sprinkle of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil finishes off the recipe. I like to serve it with warm pita bread for a simple lunch, but you could always incorporate it into a larger Mediterranean dinner with falafel, Greek salad, feta, pita, and good olives.
Adapted from Plenty
Makes about 2 cups, which serves 4 for lunch with pita bread
1, 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed.
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup tahini
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
2-4 tablespoons water
Paprika and olive oil, to finish
- Spread the chickpeas out onto a large plate, then peel them by slipping the skins off with your index finger and thumb. The skins should come off quite easily. Discard the skins and place the peeled chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and salt. Puree until completely smooth.
- With the mixer running, drizzle in the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the water until the hummus is smooth and has a loose consistency. Add more water as needed to reach the desired texture. Place the hummus in a shallow serving bowl and sprinkle with a few pinches of paprika, then drizzle with olive oil. Serve with warm pita.