Hummus Heaped with Summer Salad

Photo by Deb Perelman of The Smitten Kitchen

JP tells me that the tomatoes are again in abundance this week at Glade Road Growing, as are onions and green peppers, so I thought I'd come up with a recipe inspired by this picture by Deb Perelman, who notes that "throughout the Middle East, there are hummusiots/hummsias, places that serve hummus warm and freshly made, often a little softer than what we get here, usually heaped with other things."

If you live in (or near) Blacksburg and want something more special than store-bought but don't feel like baking pitas  or yogurt flatbreads, you can get great pita bread from Jess Schultz and Pete Macedo at Blacksburg Bagels at the Farmers' Market or from Aaron Grigsby at Tabula Rasa on Glade, the Glade Road Growing farm kitchen.

Perelman is somewhat "persnickety" and peels her chickpeas.  (Or since she lives in NYC, she can go over to Lexington Avenue and buy dried peeled chickpeas, say what?)  I, on the other hand, am more laid back, other than to refuse to make my hummus from canned chickpeas, which I swear a cookbook author suggested at a demo the Virginia Festival of the Book.


Serves 4



1 cup of dried chickpeas
1/2 cup of sesame seeds
3-4  cloves of fresh garlic, smashed, peeled
3 tablespoons of lemon, lime or orange juice
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin

4 large pita breads or yogurt flatbreads


1 1/2 cup of heirloom and cherry tomatoes, chopped small,
1/2 pound of small cucumbers, washed, unpeeled, chopped small
1 bell pepper, chopped small
1/4 medium red or white onion, chopped small
1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint, oregano, thyme or chives or a mixture of those), finely chopped
1 teaspoon of ground sumac (optional, if you cannot find it.)


1.  The night before, in a heavy bottomed stainless steel pan, cover dried chickpeas with three cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover with lid and simmer for five minutes.  Let soak overnight.  Drain and rinse the chickpeas and repeat, but this time simmer until soft, about an hour to an hour and a half.  Drain and rinse a second time.

2.  Heat a cast iron skillet lightly coated with extra virgin olive oil until a bead of water evaporates.  Cover bottom of skillet with raw sesame seeds and toast until they just pop.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.  Repeat until all the seeds are toasted.

3.  In a heavy duty blender or food processor combine the cooked chickpeas, the toasted sesame seeds and the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.  If your hummus seems too too thick, you can thin it with cool water.  (You can also substitute water for the olive oil to make a lower fat version, but really, why?)

4.  Warm 4 large pitas or flat breads, one at a time, in a cast iron skillet and cut into wedges

5. Mix tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, bell pepper, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. If you have sumac, add about 1/4 teaspoon. Stir in half of herbs, reserving the rest for a garnish

6.  Spread hummus on a large plate with the back of a spoon, creating swirls and cavities. Drizzle it lightly with additional extra virgin olive oil.  Heap salad on hummus and arrange pita wedges around the edges of the plate. Finish with a sprinkling of the remaining sumac and fresh herbs.