Quick to whip up from canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), this Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is super creamy and flavor packed. PRO TIP: Simmering cooked chickpeas with a bit of baking soda creates the silkiest hummus! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free.
A Familiar Snack/Spread/Dip
Loved the world over, hummus is a familiar recipe in our vegetarian household. This easy to whip up, pantry ingredient recipe only requires a few ingredients and it’s simple enough for everyday and meal prep!
What is Hummus?
Hummus is a dip, spread or savory condiment, popular in Middle Eastern cuisine and around the globe. Whether it’s classic, jalapeno, beet, avocado or red pepper hummus, it’s easily found prepared in grocery stores across the U.S.
In its most basic form, hummus is a puree’ of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini, garlic and lemon, with varying spices and seasonings.
With so many possibilities for flavor inclusions, more or less lemon, garlic, salt, tahini or paprika, etc… everyone seems to have their own favorite preparation. And why not? It’s easy to tweak!
For the Creamiest, Silkiest Hummus
I’ve written about this before in 2017 when I shared my Roasted Eggplant Hummus recipe. Back then, the only way I knew to get the creamiest hummus was to peel each individual chickpea. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I want hummus, there’s no way I’m going to peel all those little peas (what a pain!).
So I settled for making hummus that was creamy, but not as creamy silky smooth as my newish found technique (stick with me here).
The Baking Soda Trick
There’s this baking soda trick that renders cooked chickpeas soft, completely turning the skins and peas to mush. Perfect for creating a most silky smooth hummus experience.
I first tried this baking soda technique a few years ago using Ottolenghi’s method in his book Plenty (Hummus with Ful), where he soaks dry chickpeas overnight in baking soda, drains the chickpeas then cooks them stovetop in more baking soda laden water. You can see Ottolenghi’s similar technique on Food 52 from his and Sami Tamimi’s book Jerusalem. This baking soda tip is a revelation in my hummus cooking/making and eating experience. Truly, the results are spectacular.
According to Cook’s Illustrated “The alkaline environment created by the baking soda helps break down the pectin in the beans, softening the beans’ skins so well that they disintegrate during cooking…”
Baking Soda Comparison
Like Cook’s Illustrated, I was curious if this technique would work using canned chickpeas, so I did a test. I cooked two pots of canned chickpeas, one with baking soda and one without, and brought each to a boil then simmered for ten minutes.
Can you guess which pot of chickpeas rendered the softest, mushy, easily smashed and schmeared between pinched fingers texture perfect for hummus making?
The chickpeas cooked in baking soda rendered the softest, mushiest chickpeas.
Wait, Even in the VitaMix?
Curious if I’d notice a different red pepper hummus experience between the two tested batches of chickpeas using the VitaMix, I did a side by side test to see if I noticed any discrepancy. Surely not, I thought.
However, I was pleasantly surprised that the baking soda batch came out creamier, silky smoother than the no baking soda batch. I’m convinced and don’t hesitate saying the same is true for whipping up a batch of classic hummus in the food processor. To whip up a classic hummus check out, Izzy at She Likes Food, who I saw using this method on Instagram, and Kathryne at Cookie And Kate who also uses a quick baking soda method.
For a silky smooth hummus, instead of peeling those chickpeas, simmer cooked chickpeas in a bit of baking soda!
A Quick Guide: How to Make Roasted Pepper Hummus
Roasting red bell peppers is simple to do and can be done on a gas stove top, grill or in the oven. I share three ways on the recipe card. In summary, here’s how to make this flavorful homemade red pepper hummus recipe (see recipe card for details):
- First, char the bell pepper.
- Second, while the bell pepper is charring, drain the canned chickpeas cover the chickpeas with water and add a bit of baking soda and leave to gently boil.
- Third, sweat the pepper and then, peel off the skin and remove the seeds.
- Next, drain the chickpeas and rinse.
- Last, transfer the chickpeas, bell pepper, and all the ingredients to high speed blender or food processor and blend/process. Puree’ until desired consistency, adding chickpea brine to loosen.
Share red pepper hummus with a drizzle of olive oil, pita and crunchy veggies.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Making this red pepper hummus recipe in a high speed blender (I use VitaMix) pulverizes the roasted bell pepper making the hummus ultra smooth. This hummus recipe can be made in a food processor, however it’s not quite as creamy due to the bell pepper not completely breaking down.
- Store bought roasted peppers in a jar can be used, but I find home roasted red bell peppers to be more flavorful.
- Home roasted peppers can be batch roasted if desired, then peeled, seeded, patted dry and frozen.
- Dry that bell pepper! In an effort to control moisture in this recipe, it’s important to pat the bell pepper dry before adding it to the other ingredients.
- Freezer Friendly? This recipe freezes with ease. Often I’ll double batch it and freeze half for later. Freeze in Mason jars or other lidded containers and thaw in the fridge overnight.
Ways to Enjoy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Spread it on a Pita Sandwich
- Share alongside Easy Olive Tapenade
- Dip it with pita wedges, or crackers
- Spread it on Seeded Multigrain Sourdough or Seeded Gluten Free Sourdough toast sprinkled with dukkah or za’atar
- Share with crunchy veggies like cucumbers, carrots, celery or broccoli
- Eat hummus with Falafel
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- 1 (215g) Red Bell Pepper
- 1 15 oz (439g) Can of Chickpeas drained, brine reserved. (about 2 C cooked chickpeas)
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 C (60g) Tahini unsalted
- 1 1/4 tsp Smoky Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Cumin ground
- 1/2 - 3/4 tsp fine Sea Salt to taste
- 2 Plump Cloves of Garlic cut into chunks, or about 1 1/2 tsp minced (take this up to 3 cloves for extra garlicky).
- 1 Lemon zested
- 1 Tbs + 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2-4 Tbs Chickpea Brine reserved from the can of chickpeas
- Olive Oil for Drizzling
Roast the Bell Pepper (three ways):
- A. Oven Roasted Pepper: Preheat oven to broil. Place the peppers on a sheet pan on the top oven rack and char the pepper for about 15 minutes using tongs to rotate the pepper every 4-5 minutes so that all sides, tops and bottoms are blackened. B. Stove Top Open Flame Roasted Pepper: Place the peppers on the grate over a medium open flame, using tongs to turn the peppers as they char (tops and bottom too), getting them good and blackened. This takes about 15 minutes.C. Grill Roasted Pepper: Heat grill to highest heat setting. Place the pepper directly on the grill grate, using tongs to rotate the peppers as they char, getting each side, top and bottom blackened. This takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the pepper from the oven/stovetop/grill, placing the pepper in a bowl. Cover for 10-15 minutes to steam (this will help the skin slip off with ease). Or to keep more dishes clean, steam the pepper right in the blender pitcher.Under running water, when the pepper is cool enough to handle, slip off the skin, remove the stem and seeds. Pat the pepper as dry as possible using paper or tea towel. Slice the pepper in large chunks and transfer to a in a high speed blender, (I use VitaMix* see note). You should have about 3/4 C (110g) chopped pepper. Make ahead tip: Red bell pepper can be batch roasted, peeled, seeded, patted dry and stored in the freezer for several weeks. Thaw before using in this recipe.
For the Chickpeas:
- Drain the can of chickpeas, reserving the bean brine (aka aquafaba). Transfer chickpeas to a small sauce pot and cover with about two inches of water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to medium to medium low heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. The chickpeas are done when they're falling apart and are easily smashed between pinched fingers. Rinse and drain throughly. Transfer to the blender with the bell pepper.
Finishing the Hummus:
- To the blender with the chickpeas and bell pepper, add the tahini, paprika, cumin, salt, garlic, lemon zest and juice. Use the tamper to get things going starting on a slower speed then increasing as the mixture loosens. Stop to scrape the pitcher down periodically. Drizzle in the chickpea brine a few tablespoons at a time (I usually use about 2-3 Tbs) to loosen the hummus. Taste the hummus for seasoning adjustment - I usually use 3/4 tsp fine sea salt. Blend until perfectly smooth and until desired consistency, using tamper and stopping to scrape down the container periodically.
- Scrape hummus into a lidded container and refrigerate at least an hour prior to sharing so the flavors can marry. Allow to come to room temperature if possible before sharing, drizzling with a bit of olive oil to taste. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, or chopped parsley.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to two weeks. Thaw in the fridge overnight.