Ethiopian-Style Hummus

Ethiopian-Style Hummus

Hummus is a delight any time of year, but when it's hot outside it appears much more often because it's so quick and easy to make and a pleasure to enjoy on the patio on a lazy day. This particular recipe was a bit different as it has an Ethiopian twist. I made up a homemade batch of a hot and aromatic spice blend, berbere, that is often the key ingredient in Ethiopian cooking. I don't have a lot of experience with Ethiopian cuisine, but my background in Indian cooking certainly made the introduction easier than expected.

Berbere is spicy, but not overly so. It adds a distinctive blend of chili and aromatic spice flavor to this hummus. But it's not just the berbere that gives this hummus a unique taste. Classic hummus is made with tahini in addition to chickpeas, but this version uses toasted ground sunflower seeds ground to a butter instead of tahini. The sunflower seeds provide a wonderful rich nutty flavor behind the hot and fragrant berbere.

African inspired hummus

Ethiopian-Style HummusEthiopian-Style Hummus
Recipe by
Adapted from Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Published on July 20, 2015

An Ethiopian-style chickpea and berbere hummus with a rich nutty flavor from ground roasted sunflower seeds

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

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  • 3/4 cup dried chickpeas (2 1/4 cups cooked or 1 1/2 14 oz cans)
  • 1/2 cup raw (or roasted and unsalted) sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • zest from 1 lemon (1 teaspoon)
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons berbere powder + more for garnish
  • 1 green chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender — 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain and set aside until cool.

  • If using raw sunflower seeds, toast them in a dry unoiled skillet or saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until they are golden — about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor, setting aside a teaspoon or so for garnish. (If using roasted sunflower seeds, skip the toasting step and transfer directly to the food processor.) Process until the seeds are reduced to a fine powder and begin to release their oil, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. This should take about 5 minutes, or a little longer. Essentially the goal is to reduce the seeds to a butter.

  • Add the chickpeas and salt and process until the mixture comes together. Add the water, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, berbere powder and chili. Process further until everything is well combined, adding a bit more water or oil as desired.

  • Mix another few teaspoons of olive oil with a pinch or two of berbere powder.

  • Transfer to a serving bowl and make a well in the center of the hummus. Drizzle in the oil and berbere mixture and garnish with the reserved toasted sunflower seeds.

  • Serving possibilities are endless. You can scoop it up with flat breads, lightly baked pita breads or fresh raw vegetables. Or you may want to consider serving the hummus up in pinwheels. To do that, lightly toast classic injera bread in a preheated 300° oven for about 8 to 10 minutes until the edges are slightly crispy. Brush the bread with olive oil mixed with a 1/2 teaspoon berbere powder and cut into strips. Spread hummus over the strips, roll them up tightly, and cut them into bite-size rounds.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

hummus pinwheels

More hummus recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Avocado Chickpea Hummus
Spicy Indian-Style Hummus
Marinated Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus with Olives
Lemony Basil Hummus


MuchRatherBake said...

I've become a big fan of hummus recently. I've not come across a variation such as this and it sounds lovely.

Adina said...

I love the idea of the sunflower seeds in this hummus. Can't wait to try it.

Joanne said...

I've definitely wanted to dabble in Ethiopian cuisine, so I'll have to check this book out! And make this hummus...maybe for dinner tonight!

Shaheen said...

Oh How lucky of you to get the book to review, Its on my wish list but I don't know when I will actually get it in my mitts. As you may know, i have been dabbling in some Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking recently too,, thanks to colleagues in my workplace and am especially loving cooking with Berbere, so know I will love this hummus.