The main ingredient in traditional hummus is chickpeas. Canned chickpeas are a great convenience item, as they don't need to be cooked, but cooking dried chickpeas at home is easy. Though it takes longer, cooking dried chickpeas is worth it for the flavor and lower sodium content. You will need to plan ahead as dried beans do need to be soaked before cooking to soften and plump. Soaking dried chickpeas also helps reduce digestive stress for people who have a hard time digesting beans, but the step isn't mandatory.
1. Sort through the dried beans to remove any shriveled, small or damaged ones and to remove stones.
2. Rinse and drain using a fine sieve or colander. Now you’re ready to soak your chickpeas. Because they rehydrate to about triple their size, be sure to choose a pot that’s big enough.
3. Soak chickpeas. There are two methods for soaking chickpeas: a quick-soak method and a long-soak method.
Quick-Soak Method: Place dried chickpeas in a large saucepan; add enough water to cover. Heat to boiling; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for at least 2 hours.
Long-Soak Method: Place dried beans in a large saucepan or bowl; add enough cold water to cover. Let stand 8 to 24 hours.
4. After you’ve completed your preferred soaking method, drain the beans and add fresh, cold water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low; then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 2 ½ hours.
How to skin chickpeas: One optional tip to making creamy hummus is to remove the skins from the chickpeas. Hold a chickpea between your thumb and index finger, pinching gently to remove the skin. This does take some time, but it will result in smoother hummus. No matter if you break some chickpeas during this process, they’ll just be thrown into the food processor later anyway!
If your food processor does not get your hummus as smooth as you like it, try pushing it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any clumps.