Almond-Butter Hummous: A New Twist on Tradition

Is hummous still hummous without the tahini?  I asked myself this question recently, when I had an urge for hummous but found that there was no tahini in sight (thank you, baba ganouj, for demanding all the tahini, a few days earlier).  What to do in the evening on a small island where food shops are closed by 5 or 6 pm typically?

I had a big jar of almond butter in the fridge, so I thought that this substitution could work.  As I always cook with sesame oil for various Asian dishes, I added a bit to impart that essential open-sesame flavour to this adaptation of hummous.

My hummous allegiance goes back to my vegetarian youth, yet it took me years – and a food processor – before I actually made it.  Hummous is so easy to make and versatile as a spread, filling, or a dip.  It works equally as an appetizer, condiment (instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich, for instance). or main course,

David Lebovitz, he of the Parisian-pastry-chocolate-sarcasm fame, has the best recipe for hummous.  It came from a restaurant, Cabbagetown Cafe, at which he worked in Ithaca, while at Cornell.  I use his version these days, after previously relying on Ina Garten’s recipe for some time before (in the original Barefoot Contessa); Ina’s is also very good.

The almond butter provides a satisfying nutty quality, yet there is still the sesame oil for a hint of tahini’s traditional sesame flavour.  In a pinch or for a variation on a great classic, this version fills the bill for any desperate hummous-cravings.

For the recipe….

Hummus with Almond Butter, Liberally adapted from David Lebovitz who adapted it from the Cabbagetown Café Cookbook by Julie Jordan

Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • 3 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup (180g) almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups (350g) drained canned chickpeas, (reserve the liquid)
  • 1 cup (15g) gently-packed parsley leaves, preferably flat-leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 6 tablespoons (or more) of chickpea liquid


1. In a blender, whiz together the garlic, salt, almond butter, olive and sesame oils, and lemon juice until the garlic is finely-chopped.

2. Add the chick peas, parsley leaves, chili powder, and 6 tablespoons of chick pea liquid, and pulse until smooth. Stop the machine a couple of times during blending to scrape down the sides to make sure everything gets well-incorporated.

3. Taste, and add more lemon juice or salt if desired, and more of the chick pea liquid until it reaches a thick, but spreadable consistency. You can make it as smooth, or as coarse, as you want. I, like David, prefer mine mid-way between ultra-smooth and chunky-coarse.

Storage: Hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days. You can also freeze hummus, well-wrapped, for up to two months

Note:  If cooking your own dried chick peas: it takes about 1 cup (140g) of dried chickpeas to make 2 cups (350g) of cooked ones.


15 responses to “Almond-Butter Hummous: A New Twist on Tradition

  1. I’m impressed to see that you’ve managed to post something whilst still travelling! But then I don’t know why I’d be anything less than impressed with you, m’dear.

    I have to admit, I’ve got a slight hummus phobia after my beetroot hummus disaster, where my kitchen/I ended up covered in a very thick layer of dark red/purple hummus. Maybe you could make this for me instead…? 😀

    Jax x

    • Jax, I managed to post but not respond! I remember your crime-scene of a beetroot hummus. You must overcome your appliance-induced phobias…I’ll have to teach you whenever we wind up nearby in the future.



  2. Almond butter hummus sounds quite good! I really like your presentation – the hummus topped with sliced almonds and served with pita, crackers, and olives. Very appetizing!

  3. If this is as good as David’s ice cream, I’m sold! (And I can admit to sometimes using peanut butter instead of tahini in my homemade hummus, so you’re not the only hummus heretic ’round these parts. 🙂 )

    • Hi, Maddie. PB in hummus!?! I thought I was out there, but you are pushing the limits even further. I bet you use the natural version, rather than a sugary-crunchy variant. Thanks, Dan

  4. Nice twist on the hummus. 🙂

    A hummus is still a hummus w/o the tahineh, but technically, a hummus is not a hummus without the chickpeas. “Hummus” = “chickpeas” in Arabic. Palestinians make their hummus with yogurt instead of tahineh and butter in place of olive oil.

    Is almond butter now commonly found in supermarkets? I remember you had to go to a health food store like Whole Foods or some specialty store to get it when I was still lived back home.

    • Thanks, KM. I’d forgotten the etymology of “hummus”, so that’s good to remember. The variants of dishes throughout the Middle East are fascinating; I once tried the version of baba ganouj with mayonnaise, as the Israelis seem to prefer (lighter in texture but not quite as flavourful).

      Actually, almond butter is more commonplace than tahini, and I even found a good deal on it at a store here on the island – that’s why I have two big jars!


    • not all palestinians! perhaps the ones who live near dairy farms 🙂 but my family and the other palestinians i know from the village use olive oil for everything (fresh pressed from their own groves every year) and tahini is a big staple as well. in fact, lebneh, cheese and kishk are the only dairy products seen at my grandma’s house. but thanks for the idea (despite my love for extra virgin olive oil, i recently discovered that i love butter also!)

      • Thanks, Leila, for your additional background on the Kitchen Masochist’s comments. I am a big fan of lebneh and kishk, too. Personally, I think embracing both olive oil and butter is the way to go in life….


  5. What an inventive take on hummus. I can’t wait to give it a go and serve it to friends with maybe a rosemary infused martini. Hm?

    • Hi, Geni. I think a rosemary-infused martini sounds like it would complement this – and many other dishes! Hmmm, maybe you’ll give me the recipe…. Thanks, Dan

  6. un petit coucou de pARIS où il fauit tres froid !! et j’adore le hoummous Pierre

  7. This looks delicious! Great idea Almond Butter and Hummous will definitely try this great recipe! Thanks for sharing this one.


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