Preserved Lemon and Rosemary Hummus

Preserved Lemon and Rosemary Hummus
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preserved lemon and rosemary hummus
A tasty bread spread!

We’d just made up a batch of garbanzo beans (or chickpeas, if you prefer) the other day with the idea of using them for chana masala. Naturally, if you start with dried beans you get two things: a better- tasting bean, and a lot of them. So, after we made chana masala for dinner, we froze a couple of cups for later, but we still had about a cup of garbanzo beans remaining. They went into a small container with the idea that we’d figure out some use for them.

We originally thought that we’d just have them with rice as a small side one night, but, then, we saw a recipe for Chickpeas and Preserved Lemon Stew in A Modern Way to Eat, by Anna Jones. Now, we didn’t have enough chickpeas to make the stew; however, the recipe title was enough to get us thinking about combining preserved lemons with our leftover chickpeas, but how, exactly? After some thought, we settled on one of the easiest ideas: simply make hummus by blending the two together, along with a few other ingredients. Thus, this is really another of the 100% scratchin’ original recipes, so let us know what you think.

Preserved Lemon and Rosemary Hummus

Yield: 1 cup

Preserved Lemon and Rosemary Hummus


  • 1 cup chickpeas, with a few tablespoons of reserved cooking broth
  • 1/4 preserved lemon, seeds removed
  • leaves from 2 inch-long sprigs rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Abbreviated Instructions

Place chickpeas, lemon, rosemary leaves, and black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add reserved liquid about a tablespoon at a time, running the processor in between additions until you have a smooth spread.

Add olive oil and red pepper flakes and process until smooth.

Ingredient discussion:

If you don’t have preserved lemons, seriously consider making up a batch sometime — it’s easy, and they taste, well, a lot different from lemons — but, for now, use regular lemons, or even juice. Don’t want to make up chickpeas from scratch: Use canned, but rinse well to get rid of that tinny taste. Consider using other spices in here, too. Garlic would work well, for example.

Procedure in detail:

making hummus
With preserved lemons, the rind is better-tasting than the fruit, but include both in the mix.

Grind. Place the chickpeas, preserved lemon, — rind and all — rosemary, and a few grinds of black pepper into the bowl of a food processor, and give everything a few good pulses to start grinding the chickpeas.

adding liquid
We held back about 1/3 of a cup of the cooking liquid, but, if you’re using canned beans, substitute water.

Add liquid. Right away you’ll notice that these ingredients, by themselves, won’t make a spread, so add some of the reserved liquid from the chickpeas (if you made them yourself) or water, a tablespoon at a time. Pulse between additions, and continue adding until you have a spread-like consistency.

adding olive oil
A drizzle of good olive oil to improve both the texture and flavor.

Add oil and red pepper. Now, pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of red pepper and pulse to incorporate. That’s it. Your hummus is done.

preserved lemon and rosemary hummus
There, a couple of minutes, and you have a nice batch of hummus.

Pack. Place hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate. We found that this was even better the next day after the flavors melded together.

Super easy, provided you have the preserved lemons on hand. If not, you can’t really wake up one morning and decide to make it, as preserved lemons take a while to ferment. While this spread would be very good with tortilla chips, we found it to work well on slices of bread, having a nice lemon flavor, a tiny bite of hotness, and the cooling smoothness of the chickpeas. Four stars.

Worth the trouble?

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