Tart tomato paste and rich, savory basil pesto combine with chickpeas in this tangy, savory tomato-pesto hummus. The tomato paste gives the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes but is less expensive and easier to blend with the other ingredients in your food processor.
This recipe was inspired by two events. One was by having part of a can of tomato paste left over from another recipe. I have a butter chicken recipe that we love — but it only uses half that little can or the sauce gets too tomato-y. So what do you do with the rest?
The other event was that three of my basil plants (like the one on the right in the first image below, not the Thai basil on the left) that I’ve been growing during the stay-at-home period of the coronavirus were ready to harvest. They almost whispered “pesto” to me for days, truly. This was just one of the creative uses for pesto that we found.
Can’t you hear the whispers?
Our first three hummus recipes
We’ve been accumulating good hummus ideas, as you can see from my spinach-artichoke hummus, beetroot hummus and carrot hummus. I have a lot of garbanzos in my pantry, having bought extra for the stay-at-home period of the coronavirus pandemic, and these bags of beans are making me look farther than the spinach-artichoke hummus, which has been my standby for years.
And that doesn’t count a baba ghanoush dip on the blog!
How to serve tomato-pesto hummus
Swirling a little pesto into the top of your hummus and garnishing with chopped fresh tomato makes this lovely side dish even richer and more delicious.
Use whatever fresh vegetables you prefer for dippers. Carrots and cucumbers are classic; bell peppers, mushrooms and celery are great too. We almost always have gluten-free multigrain chips in our house, which is why they show up in so many of my photos.
Are canned or home-cooked chickpeas better for hummus?
Both work great, depending on how much time you have. I like to cook my own chickpeas, almost always in the Instant Pot these days, as I describe in this article on cooking beans.
If I will be making hummus with my home-cooked beans, I cook them for a couple of extra minutes to be sure they will be soft and blend well. I always save the cooking water, called aquafaba, in case the hummus is quite thick, but also to add to salad dressings later, whether I used home-cooked or canned.
What is hummus?
According to Wikipedia, the name “hummus” is short for “hummus bi tahini”, an Arabic expression which means chickpeas in tahini – tahini being sesame paste. Hummus is served as a meze, or appetizer, and at room temperature.
I’ve found several hummus recipes that are made without tahini, mainly for convenience and to reduce the cost of the hummus. Tahini can be expensive, for sure.
I also found a recipe on Pinch of Yum, one of my favorite blogs, that strongly recommends peeling (actually squeezing) the skins off the garbanzos. I haven’t done that yet but might one day, and quite a few of the skins come off naturally as you work with them. But the point of removing the skins is to achieve a very smooth hummus – and I actually like mine to have a little texture to it.
A vegan pesto-hummus
Hummus at its most basic is naturally vegan since the only ingredients besides the chickpeas and the tahini are lemon, salt and olive oil. But pesto usually contains a cheese such as parmesan or romano. Here I’ve used nutritional yeast to give the cheesy flavor instead, both in the hummus and in my home-made pesto (quick summary below, with more detailed pesto recipe on its way!)
This hummus is a memorable and tasty recipe, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do. Please leave me a comment so that I know how it went for you!
Other recipes you may enjoy
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Tomato-Pesto Hummus - Gluten-and-Dairy-Free
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas or one 15 ounce can, drained and liquid (aquafaba) reserved
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 teaspoon pink sea salt
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 ½ tablespoons pesto or chopped fresh basil, see note
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Chopped fresh tomatoes and pesto for garnish about 2 tablespoons each
- Blend chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, and sea salt in a food processor until the chickpeas and garlic are chopped fine, about 20 seconds.
- Add tahini, tomato paste, pesto or basil, and nutritional yeast.
- Blend again while drizzling olive oil into the mixture until smooth, about 20-30 seconds more depending on your food processor (a small immersion style food processor may need more time).
- The hummus will not be as smooth as if you used a blender, but you won’t get a bubble around the hummus as often happens around the blade of a blender.
- If the hummus is thicker than you prefer, add some of the aquafaba to thin it. The hummus will thicken slightly when refrigerated. Hummus will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
- 2 cups packed fresh basil (large stems removed)
- 3 tablespoons macadamias, pine nuts or walnuts (if you need a nut-free pesto, use sunflower or hemp seeds)
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
- 3-4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Please pin for later!