Chipotle Hummus from The Prado in Balboa Park

Sunday June 26, 2016

Hummus is a mashed purÈe of chickpeas, olive oil, and lemon that is immensely popular in the Middle East. And America so it seems.

The traditional way to serve hummus is to spread it on a plate and drizzle it with flavorful olive oil. That’s fine for spreading, but if you are going to dip veggies into the hummus, it’s more practical to pile it into a bowl. I used to make hummus for small catering jobs, especially lunchtime, setting the platter in the center of the table as an appetizer. It was an all out success every single time.

The secret to the flavor of a good hummus is the addition of the peanut butter-like almost bitter sesame paste known as tahini or tehina. You can find it shelved with the health foods next to the peanut butter or with the kosher foods (some brands are imported from Israel). Every hummus recipe calls for a different proportion of tahini. As with unhomogenized peanut butter, the oil separates when it stands and should be stirred back into the tahini before using. Tahini is some strong stiff stuff when cold. For easy mixing when the jar is full, stir with a table knife instead of a spoon to portion out what you need. If the tahini is too stiff to stir easily, and is in a glass or other microwave-safe container, warm it in the microwave first, removing the lid first. About 15 to 30 seconds on medium-high power should do the trick. I just take out the amount I need (approximate is okay), put in a microwave safe bowl and give it the quick zap. Problem solved. Tahini will keep for months, but it must be refrigerated after opening.

The hummus epiphany is upon us, so I will post different hummus recipes from time to time. I read some place there even used to be a blog in the early days of the net devoted to just hummus recipes, a different one each blog. This recipe is ever so delicious and it is adapted from the Prado Restaurant, which is in Balboa Park, San Diego, California.

This recipe starts with dried beans, cooks them in the slow cooker, then mashes it with the rest of the ingredients, including some chipotle en adobo, which will add a hint of heat. For the canned chipotle en adobo left over when you use the sauce in this recipe, whirl it in the food processor to make a puree and keep it in the freezer in a quart freezer bag. That way you will have it available at your fingertips, slice off what you need, for tossing into stews and chilis, much less every time you make this hummus. It is luscious.

Makes 4 cups hummus


Cooker: Medium or large round or oval

Setting and Cook Time: HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 hours

Makes 4 cups beans


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canned chipotle en adobo sauce
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, usually extra virgin
  • Salt to taste


1. Place the chickpeas in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Pick over for any damaged beans and small stones. Transfer to the slow cooker crock along with water to cover by 3 inches. Soak 6 to 12 hours at room temperature.

2. Drain, add the 5 cups water, cover, and cook on HIGH, until the beans are quite tender and the transparent skin that covers each bean slips off easily, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

3. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the beans in a food processor (or blender, but processor is easier).

4. In a food processor, pulse the warm cooked chickpeas to mash them.  Add the garlic, lemon and lime juices, chipotle sauce, tahini, cilantro, and cayenne with a few pulses and, with the machine running, slowly add the oil until you get a fluffy, smooth consistency.  Season with salt, taste in case you want more chipotle heat, and adjust the consistency with more cold water or oil as necessary.  Scrape into a serving bowl and refrigerate, covered, until serving, up to 3 to 4 days.

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2007, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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