Wild Garlic Mustard Hummus

Anyone who's anyone eats hummus.

The first time I had hummus, I was also introduced to brie. I was probably 14 or 15 years old at the time, and somehow ended up at a fancy house party somewhere in Los Angeles. My friend and I felt like riff-raff– as if being teenagers wasn't awkward enough– and had no clue what to do with ourselves aside from loitering around the buffet tables longer than what was probably appropriate. 

The whole thing was so posh, and until that point in my life, was probably the most lavish thing I had ever experienced. Who knew they made little knives for the sole purpose of cutting cheese? At home, Mom cut the pizza and our hair with the same pair of scissors.

I can't remember what other food was laid out, but the hummus and the brie stood out in my mind. Not because they were so delicious, but because my pubescent palate expressly declared that it was all gross. Cheese shouldn't spill across the plate like that, and the hummus– I didn't know how to describe it. Was this really what the rich and famous ate? My friend and I tried everything, at the behest of her mother, but not without shooting ugly faces at each other across the buffet lines. You just can't expect any less from teenagers.

Now, I love brie, and I like hummus. I don't love hummus, but I like it when I'm in the mood. It's a hearty dip to provide at parties, and the health nuts will love you for it. Fifteen years ago, you'd be hard pressed to find pre-made hummus at the grocery store, and now, it's everywhere. Everyone eats it, even the riff-raff. It's funny to think back now, that I once regarded hummus as the height of society, and that I didn't like it.

The truth is, hummus is easy and inexpensive to make, and there's not much to it. The most hard-to-find ingredient might be the tahini, which is a fancy word to describe sesame seed paste. The coriander and the sumac in my recipe are optional. Hummus is a fairly mild dip with a substantial nutty texture, allowing you to introduce other flavors without hurting it. For this recipe, I used wild garlic mustard, which gave the hummus a nice green color and a subtle garlic flavor. I think it was a good use for this invasive weed.

Servings: Makes about 2 cups
- 1 cup of packed garlic mustard leaves, coarsely chopped
- 15-ounce can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
- ¼ cup of tahini, well stirred
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
- ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon of ground coriander, optional
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons of water 
- Ground sumac, optional


1. Drain chickpeas and rinse with water. Peel each chickpea by gently squeezing it between the tips of your fingers. Set chickpeas aside. 

2. In a food processor, combine garlic mustard leaves, lemon juice and tahini and chop for 30 seconds. Then add garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander and salt. Chop for an additional 30 seconds. 

3. Add half of the peeled chickpeas and blend for 1 minute. Then add the rest of the chickpeas and blend for another minute. To smooth out the hummus, pulse in water in 1 tablespoon increments. You may need more or less water depending on desired texture. Add more salt to taste.

4. Spoon hummus into a shallow bowl. Drizzle olive oil on top and garnish with sumac. Serve with pita chips, sliced mild peppers, cucumber slices, etc. Hummus should keep for a week in a closed container, refrigerated.