This roasted garlic hummus recipe is one of our most popular recipes and always wins rave reviews.The garlic, lemon and creamy texture are just perfect!
As ubiquitous as hummus is today, really good, authentic hummus holds a special place in my heart. Specifically that place is also reserved for The Beirut Restaurant in Allentown Pennsylvania. In the eighties, in South Eastern Pennsylvania, this was THE PLACE to go for delicious authentic Lebanese food. My father had spent his junior year studying at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, and he LOVED Lebanese food. And, after eating Lebanese food at the Beirut Restaurant, I too loved Lebanese food.
Though it was an hour from where we lived in Bucks County, he made a point of being in the area, a few times a summer. We’d go with a large group of my parents friends and their kids for a day trip to the fabulously tacky and kitschy amusement park, Dorney Park. We never ate the junk food at the park, because we’d save our appetites for The Beirut Restaurant afterwards.
After having gone there a few times, my dad made friends with Jameel, the owner. And being the brazen guy that he was, my Dad unblinkingly lead my sister, my best friend Amanda, and me through the kitchen to get into the restaurant through the stoves with bubbling pots of fragrant delicacies. He would joke and banter in broken Arabic to Jameel and the cooks. We’d wind our ways past the life-sized plaster camels and velvet and bead-draped doorways into the main dining room where the walls were muraled with desert scenes.
There the patrons dined on mezze tables covered in small, shared plates of amazing, fresh Lebanese food. My Dad and the adults would unpack the cold six-packs of Rolling Rocks they had brought, it was BYOB; we would settle into the heavily cushioned banquettes, under the twinkle-light bedazzled ceiling. And then the food would start to come.
Tabbouleh with tons of parsley and mint, supremely smooth and slightly smoky baba ghanoush, crispy nutty kebbeh and oily and pungent olives. And my favorite always was their garlicky and lemony hummus, bathed in bright green olive oil and dusted with sumac. Piles of warm pitas were tucked into any spare patch of table, but Jameel and his servers would keep the plates coming. I don’t even remember if we ever had to order, I think they just knew what we liked, and kept bringing us more and more delicious food. And if there was ever room for dessert, there was a rolling cart with all sorts of golden, nutty, honey-drizzled treats.
Perhaps the most tantalizing specialty of the house were the gorgeous and scantily clad belly-dancers, gyrating through the mezza tables. My mom (jokingly) griped that Jade, the belly dancer was the real reason my Dad insisted we stopped there for dinner. But in truth we all loved the whole experience. It was all like another crazy ride at the amusement park.
My Dad tells me that the Beirut Restaurant is no longer owned by Jameel. Now, it is called The Aladdin Restaurant and has new owners. I’m sure it isn’t quite the same. Along with my memories of The Beirut Restaurant my love of really good hummus lives on. This is my roasted garlic variation. I hope it gives you a little taste of what I remember from all those years ago.
This hummus recipe never fails to win rave reviews.The roasted garlic and balance of lemon and creamy chickpeas is just perfect! One of the most popular recipes on this entire website! Readers have reported that they make it over and over.
- 2 heads garlic
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 Tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 juicy/large lemon)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- optional garnish: sumac powder, chopped parsley and more extra-virgin olive oil for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub extra papery skin off of whole heads of garlic. Cut tips off each clove of garlic with serrated knife to exposing a bit of garlic. Lay root side down on a sheet of aluminum foil or in a small baking dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over the cut end of the garlic. Crimp foil closed or cover the baking dish with foil. Roast until the garlic cloves are soft and fragrant, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Open foil and let sit until cool enough to handle.
- Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their papery skin. Discard skin and transfer the cloves to a food processor. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini and salt and puree until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Serve sprinkled with sumac, parsley and drizzled with more olive oil if desired.
To make ahead: Hummus will keep covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
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