Classic Hummus

Hummus, the classic Middle Eastern dip of chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), garlic, and lemon juice, is also known as hummus bi tahini. I like to vary the beans and the flavorings: variations includes substituting chopped or pureed roasted pepper or chile peppers or olives for the basil, or adding 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon, lime, or orange zest. White cannellini beans are an excellent stand-in for the chickpeas.

Makes about 1½ cups.

1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 garlic cloves, to your taste, crushed, or 1 head garlic, roasted and squeezed out of the skin.
3 to 4 tablespoons tahini, to your taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin, or more to your taste (optional)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ to 1 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro leaves, scallions (white and green parts), or chives or a combination (optional), to your taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lemon, lime, or orange slices for garnish
Paprika for garnish

1. Place the chickpeas and garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Gradually add the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, if desired, and salt and process until fully incorporated. Season with pepper.

2. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, garnished with the lemon slices and paprika, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Serve with celery sticks, baby carrots or carrot sticks, snow peas, blanched cauliflower florets, or pita or bagel chips.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)