Roasted red bell pepper + harissa hummus

I love hummus, but I hate hot and spicy hummus. The kind with jalapeños is always such a letdown: I get all excited when I see hummus at a party and then realize it’s the kind that makes my throat feel like I’ve just swallowed a flaming pineapple whole.

This recipe has spice, but not much heat, thanks to harissa, a spice concentrate that hails from northern Africa. It’s a good match for the sweet smokiness of roasted bell and makes for a hummus with personality!

Roasted red bell pepper + harissa hummus

Makes 2½ cups thick hummus, more if you like it thinner


  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (or sub 2 Tbsp tahini if you’d rather)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked garbanzos (1 can), heated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp harissa spice concentrate
  • Salt and pepper to taste, duh


  1. Roast the red bell pepper. Turn on your oven to 425º, then line a small baking sheet with foil. Drizzle the foil with the oil (hey! that rhymes), then put the bell pepper on top and turn to coat. Put in the oven and roast for about half an hour, turning occasionally with tongs, until charred all over.
  2. While the pepper roasts, heat up your garbanzos in a small saucepan. This step is optional but it will make your hummus fluffier!
  3. Get out your food processor and put in the S-blade. Add the sesame seeds to the bowl and grind until they make a paste–close to tahini, but they won’t get quite that creamy. Stop the machine every couple minutes to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the garlic cloves and process until combined.
  5. Next, add your chickpeas and process.
  6. When your pepper is done roasting, remove from baking sheet and transfer to a bowl. Cover with cold water. When it’s cool enough to handle, pull off the skin with your fingers (sounds gross, try not to think about it). Remove the stem and seeds, you don’t want those.
  7. Now, throw the roasted red bell pepper pulp into your food processor and continue to process.
  8. Drizzle the lemon juice in through the pour spout. You probably will need to add more liquid to the hummus, and you can add the water from the bowl you used to peel your pepper, or cooking liquid from the beans if you made them yourself. However, if you used canned beans, drain them first and then add hot water as you need during the processing… process. I have no idea why, but the liquid from canned beans tastes nothing like the liquid from cooked fresh beans.
  9. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and then add your harissa and blend.

This might look like a lot of steps, but it doesn’t feel that way, since basically you’re just adding thing after thing to your food processor. It goes by pretty quickly, leaving you with extra time to devour hummus and daydream about riding camels across the Moroccan desert.



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2 responses to “Roasted red bell pepper + harissa hummus

  1. Elizabeth

    Why sesames instead of tahinis?

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