The 4 Essential Elements of Hummus (with a Recipe!)

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What do you love about hummus?

Is it the texture?  The flavor?  The versatility?  The way it can encourage even the biggest veggie-phobe to plow through a plate of carrot sticks?

The way I see it, there are four elements that make hummus amazing:

Creaminess.  Whether or not you make it with tahini, hummus should be smooth and creamy.  Well-cooked chickpeas (or white beans, if you’re feeling adventurous) and a powerful food processor create the right texture in no time.

Spice.  Depending on the seasonings you choose, hummus can be pungent, bright, earthy or spicy.  It can have Italian flavors or Mexican, Indian or Middle Eastern.  It can even taste like dessert!

Tang.  Lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice…any of them balance out hummus spices with a citrus overtone.

Mix-Ins.  What’s great straight up is even better when you add a finishing touch like caramelized onions, sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs or even pumpkin puree.  If you have a sweet tooth, don’t be afraid to toss in a few chocolate chips!

Today I have spices on the brain because, thanks to the generous folks at Kaiulani, I now have an impressive array of spice blends to try out in all manner of dishes, including hummus!

kaiulani spice collection

Spicy curry, front and center!

Made in Hawaii, Kaiulani spices are organic, vegan, gluten-free and contain no MSG or other strange ingredients. (Have you ever read the labels on some of the mainstream spice blends?  Scary!)  They can be used as seasonings or rubs and range from mild herbal blends to spicy-hot.  Many include Hawaiian salt, not something I’d normally go for, but I’m not one to say no to free food.  When I found myself getting low on hummus, I grabbed the Exotic Curry blend and went to it.

I may have mentioned more than once on this blog that I am a sucker for all things curried.  I’ve been searching for a good curry powder blend and just can’t seem to find one that fits my taste for the right balance of pungent and hot.  Kaiulani’s Exotic Curry includes coriander, tumeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and crushed red chilies along with a touch of salt and evaporated cane juice.  Sounds promising, right?

Turns out that “promising” is far too inferior a word.  Amazing, maybe.  Super, perhaps.  WowthisissogoodIcouldeatthewholebatch.  (Is that a word?  It should be.)

curry hummus kaiulani spices

Tasty vegan curried hummus snack plate!

Say hello to Garlic Curry Hummus with Siracha.  Spicy, pungent curry flavor meets zippy siracha hot sauce for a little extra kick.  When I was at the Toastmasters fall conference in CT, the nearby Whole Foods had siracha at the salad bar and I put it on everything.  It pops up in recipes from time to time as I’m flipping through cookbooks and I never have it on hand.  So naturally I had to buy a huge bottle when I found it on sale at the store last week.

And the garlic…well, what’s hummus without garlic?  Unless you’re making one of those dessert hummus recipes, in which case garlic would be kind of weird.

This is a seriously flavorful hummus that’s good on crackers, raw veggies and toast.  You could use another curry powder for it, but I recommend trying the Kaiulani.  It’s not easy to impress me when it comes to curry powder, but they’ve done a heck of a job with their bold blend.  Kudos to them!

Garlic Curry Hummus with Siracha
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 5
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15.5oz can, drained and rinsed
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 1Tbsp)
  • 1T Kaiulani Spices Exotic Curry blend
  • 1t siracha hot sauce
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • water as necessary
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl. Add water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with seed crackers, pita bread or raw veggies.

I can’t wait to try more of Kaiulani’s interesting spice mixes.  Tonight I’m giving their Kona Coffee spice a test run in a batch of red bean chili.  Coffee as a seasoning?  Yes please!

What’s your favorite hummus combination?



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