Baked hummus recipe from the Leon cookbook

I‘ve made no secret of my disdain for most shop-bought hummus. Compared to even mediocre homemade versions, the supermarket stuff is usually too pasty and thick, and preservatives sometimes contribute sharp, off flavors.

There are exceptions, of course. But for the most part, nothing compares to the hummus you can make so quickly at home, even with canned chickpeas.

Another problem with shop-bought hummus is the temperature: as chef Michael Solomonov writes in his cookbook Zahav, referring to the hummusiyas in Israel, “Great hummus is never refrigerated. The best places make a big batch each morning and close the doors when it runs out, usually by midafternoon.”

Refrigeration mutes the balanced flavors of perfect hummus and, perhaps worse, turns it stiff. But the commercial stuff requires refrigeration (as do leftovers of your homemade version). So the simplest way to improve any cold hummus is by taking the chill off: microwave it and/or whisk in little hot water (or aquafaba if you’ve got it) to loosen it up and return some of that silkiness to its texture.

Even better, you can bake it, as in this recipe from the UK-based Leon chain of fast-food restaurants. As novel as the idea might seem, it’s not new; chef Anna Sortun of Oleana and other restaurants has been serving incredible warm buttered hummus – her take on the traditional Turkish approach – for many years. She serves it with a cured meat called basturma, but this version cooks it under a blanket of harissa-coated cherry tomatoes and whole chickpeas, with pine nuts sprinkled on top for even more texture.

If you’ve never had warm hummus, this is a revelation. The tomatoes burst and add their juices to the mix, while the hummus puffs up and gets a little crispy around the edges. It’s absolutely stellar if you’re using great homemade hummus, and it’s pretty darn good with the store-bought stuff, too. It’s the best recipe I can think of if you’re interested in dip for dinner, and it also makes great leftovers – if you warm them up first.

baked hummus

Active time: 10 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4 as a main, with pitta or any other flatbread, or 8 as an appetizer dip

This might be a revelation, if you’ve never had warm hummus. The beauty is that it helps elevate even less-than-stellar store-bought hummus, but it is glorious with homemade.

Make ahead: Homemade hummus can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 1 week before you add the other ingredients and bake it.


680g shop-bought or homemade hummus

430g tin no-salt-added chickpeas or 940g cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

150g cherry tomatoes

3 tbsp store-bought or homemade harissa

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ tsp fine salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp (30g) pine nuts, toasted (may substitute slivered almonds)

Flatbreads, for serving


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 220C.

Spoon the hummus into a 2L baking dish. Mix in half the chickpeas and smooth out the top.

In a bowl, toss the remaining chickpeas with the cherry tomatoes, harissa, oil, salt and pepper until everything is evenly coated. Pour the mixture on top of the hummus.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have burst and become soft and slightly burnished on top. Sprinkle over the pine nuts and serve warm with flatbreads.

How to store: Refrigerate for up to 1 week. Rewarm before serving.

Adapted from “Leon Happy One-Pot Vegetarian” by Rebecca Seal and Chantal Symons (Conran, 2022).

Nutrition Information: Per serving (½ cup hummus plus toppings), based on 8: calories: 210; total fat: 12g; saturated fat: 2g; cholesterol: 0mg; sodium: 324mg; carbohydrates: 10g; dietary fiber: 6g; sugar: 4g; protein: 8g.

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

© Washington Post

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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