Chunky hummus with a unique spicy, tangy green pepper paste that unexpectedly pairs well with salty feta cheese. Serve it with pita chips, toasted sliced bread, or crisp vegetable.
Zhug is a bright and spicy Middle Eastern condiment that adds a flavorful kick to any dish. I also like adding S'hug to my falafel pita from my favorite Israeli eatery and marinating my baked chicken in it! Check out my Baked Zhug Chicken with Spiced with Spiced Brown Rice and Steamed Broccoli recipe for more.
But that's not all, with this recipe's bonus of being vegetarian-friendly and health-conscious, you can appreciate the rich and delicious flavor without stopping your diet. Read more to see the secrets behind this super delicious hummus, and let me show you how to start making it today.
The Secrets Behind It
Zhug is a spicy, tangy green pepper paste used as a condiment. It makes the perfect companion for feta cheese's salty taste rounding out and balancing the hummus. Add bread to the mix, especially ciabatta. If you read my Quick Zhug Sauce post, you'll remember I mentioned that Zhug originated in Yemen, a Middle Eastern Country.
Where the incredible journey of this special paste traveled 1,300 miles to Isreal, the new home for many Yemenite Jews who relocated during the late 1940s. Hence, the spelling difference from Zhug, Zhoug (Arabic) to S'hug (Hebrew). Because of this, you will find it in Middle Eastern and Kosher markets. You'll probably find the traditional zhug hummus there as well!
How to Enjoy?
Hummus is a fantastic food that tastes great and provides many health benefits. And that's why we love it. Chickpeas are high in protein and fiber, which helps keep you full for extended periods. It also makes a great work snack or meal prep to get you through the day. This hummus is even perfect for parties with veggies and pita chips. So whether you're looking for a delicious healthy snack or a nutritious meal, hummus has got you covered!
Ingredients and Instructions
To make the hummus base, you'll blend chickpeas, lemon juice, lemon zest, tahini paste, garlic, olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper in the food processor. Then you finish the hummus by adding whole chickpeas to make it chunky. Plate it up and garnish it with zhug, feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, paprika, and chopped parsley. Finally, serve it with your favorite sides, from bread to fresh crudites.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Busy Folks: Become a better home cook with tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. You'll also find more detailed steps for the instructions above.
- Canned Chickpeas - Soak dried chickpeas overnight in cold water with baking soda. One cup of dried chickpeas makes roughly three cups. So soak 1 ⅓ cups of chickpeas in six cups of water with two teaspoons of baking soda mixed in per recipe serving of 4.
- Already Prepped Zhug - Find already prepped Zhug (aka Zhoug or S'hug) at your local store. Commonly found in Middle Eastern and Kosher markets.
Replace the Zhug with these other toppers:
- Harissa - A peppery red paste from the Maghreb region of Africa.
- Sundried Tomatoes - Mixed the chopped sundried tomatoes with olive oil.
- Olives - Chopped and mixed with olive oil.
Food Processor - Used to make the hummus base and zhug. To develop this recipe, I used the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper, which is tough enough to do the job and small enough to avoid finding space for a new appliance. Also, the best part is the drizzle basin that you can use to add the oil for excellent emulsification slowly.
Refrigerator - Place it in an air-tight sealing container. The hummus will last up to four days.
Before Using Tahini Paste - Stir before pouring it into the food processor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Not going to lie, but we as people are obsessed with hummus, we have horseradish hummus? I actually like pizza hummus, avocado, and sun-dried tomato hummus. There's also curry hummus, pumpkin seed hummus, and beetroot hummus. Ok, I have to try these! Artichoke and Cannellini Beans hummus is one of my ultimate favorites by Sandra's Easy Cooking. The list goes on.
In the US, the serving size for hummus is two tablespoons. Two lousy tablespoons! I want to cry. How is this possible? But have you heard of an hummusiya? It's a restaurant that serves hummus as the main course! In addition, hummus is said to have originated in Eygpt based on 13th-century old text, popularized by Middle Eastern, North African, to Mediterranean people; you’ll find hummusiyas everywhere.
I couldn't add my Quick Zhug Recipe to this recipe card because the original recipe makes 2 cups, and this recipe calls for a ¼ of a cup per four cups of hummus; making that small amount is impossible only in a food processor. You are better off making the whole recipe. In addition, if I added the full recipe on this card, the nutrition facts would be way off. And it stores great and is versatile; you'll use it up in no time!
It is a sesame seed paste used widely in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, popular for its use in hummus.
Looking for other vegetarian recipes like this? Try these:
Middle Eastern Recipes
Looking for other Middle-Eastern-inspired recipes like this? Try these:
Zhug & Feta Cheese Chunky Hummus
- 3 cups canned chickpeas drained, reserve liquid
- 1 medium lemon juiced and zested
- ¼ cup tahini paste
- 2 garlic cloves minced or garlic pressed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup canned chickpeas drained
- ¼ cup Quick Zhug Sauce
- ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
- Save time in the kitchen: Read the instructions thoroughly, then gather and prep all your ingredients before cooking! Learn Prepping Tips.
- If you will make the Quick Zhug Sauce, prepare this before starting the recipe.
- For the base hummus, in a food processor, add chickpeas, lemon juice, lemon zest, tahini, garlic, olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoon chickpea water. If all the ingredients don't fit, fill ¾ full with all of your measured liquids, blend, then add the remaining solids.
- Blend into a smooth consistency. Occasionally stop and scrap the sides with a silicone spatula. Add more chickpea water if necessary to reach a smooth consistency.
- Taste for a balance of savoriness from the salt and tanginess from the lemon juice and adjust accordingly.
- Scrap and pour the hummus into a medium 3-quart mixing bowl.
- For the chunky hummus, add the whole chickpeas, and combine well.
- To serve, with a large spoon, scoop the hummus into the center of the large 10-inch plate and spread it out evenly in a circular motion. If serving half, you can use a 6-inch plate.
- Create a dip in the hummus by pressing down into the center with the spoon.
- In the hole, add the zhug paste, and sprinkle on the feta cheese while crumbling it into smaller pieces.
- Drizzle the entire hummus with olive oil.
- For garnish, lightly dust with paprika powder. You can achieve this with a small sieve or use your fingers by pinching the paprika with your fingers and rubbing it to sprinkle over the plate.
- Finish garnishing it with chopped parsley over the entire hummus.
- Serve with your favorite sides, ciabatta toast, pita bread, pita chips, carrots, broccoli florets, baby tomatoes, celery, sesame toast, or lavash.
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent food bourne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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