What’s Cooking Wednesday: Hummus Without Tahini

Today’s What’s Cooking Wednesday has little to do with Italian food except for the fact that one of the usual main ingredients of hummus can be difficult to find for some of us in Italy.

When Sharon of Respiri Di Vita posted a recipe for tahini-less hummus last week, I was pretty sure this would quickly become a staple in my house.

And it has, so I’m sharing it with all of you because I love it *that* much. This is word-for-word from Sharon’s recipe as there’s nothing I would change even a bit. That’s even her pretty photo!

Sharon posted a week full of quick, delicious recipes recently, so do go have a look.

Hummus Without Tahini

hummus without tahini1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Taste and adjust to your liking.

Peanut butter, by the way, is now pretty easy to find around here whereas at one time, there was no hope. Of course it costs about 5 euros (7 US dollars) for a small jar, so I always welcome peanut butter donations from my family and friends.

I don’t know if it was Sharon’s own idea to substitute peanut butter for tahini, but it was certainly she who opened up the world of hummus for me in Italy. And I will always be grateful.

Grazie mille Sharon, e buon appetito a tutti!

26 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Hummus Without Tahini”
  1. Giulia

    I would be upset if your post titles were called “What’s Cooking Wednesday, In Italy” So, seeing as it’s only “What’s Cooking Wednesday, you can get away with posting non Italian recipes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I will definitely try this one, thanks!

  2. Sparky Duck

    How is hummus possible without tahini exactly. It sounds sacireligious

  3. Ninotchka

    omg…mouth watering…

  4. Figs Olives Wine

    What a good idea! I’m so glad you found a way to get your hummus fix.

  5. Christine

    OHMYGOODNESS, do you want me to send you some tahini?

    Really, I totally would.


    I got your back. It may be a while…but I got it all the same.

  6. sognatrice

    Giulia, phew! I feel better with your reassurance. I wanted to pass along Sharon’s recipe here in case others out there were in the same boat and had missed it. Spread the word!!!

    Sparky, it’s not a perfect world and sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Imitation espresso while visiting the States doesn’t exactly make me happy either, but it’s better than nothing.

    Nino, it really is–in fact, I recommend it just as a switch from the regular old hummus too ๐Ÿ™‚

    Figs, thanks! I can’t describe how happy this recipe has made me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Christine, that’s so sweet of you! I’ll be, ahem, sending you an email ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Jen

    That’s an interesting substitution. I can completely see it working. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. qualcosa di bello

    now this is a handy little recipe…our closest grocery (i use that term loosely!) store is not where one would find tahini. tahini requires an hour drive into the city! so…i am really glad to have this stand-by for emergency hummus (an addiction shared by my eldest daughter & i!)

  9. sognatrice

    Jen, that was exactly my reaction when I saw the recipe–makes sense once someone points it out doesn’t it? Have I thanked Sharon?

    Qualcosa, ah, so you’re in a similar situation. I hadn’t thought of it, but I bet my family at home would be hard-pressed to easily find tahini too. See, this is useful for more than just expats ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. stefanie

    I am addicted to hummus lately. Luckily, in the US, tahini is in no short supply. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, it has never occurred to me to make my own. But perhaps someday I’ll get inspired.

  11. Sharon

    Wow…So HAPPY that you tried this. Yep, PB was my idea. If and when I get some tahini I shall be able to compare.
    This whole blog post made me feeling downright *special*!

  12. sognatrice

    Stefanie, oh, hummus is *so* easy to make at home–amaze your friends!

    Sharon, well you *are* special, so I’m glad you’re feeling that way. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much of this I’ve eaten in the past week or so. No, it’s not *exactly* the same flavor, but the peanut butter does give it that nutty, oily oomph that hummus has–plus it adds protein ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Anne in Oxfordshire

    Hi Sognatrice…definetely one for me…love hummus …I have also been to Sharon’s blog alot lately..love her recipes.

  14. Sara

    Huh. I would never have thought of putting peanut butter in hummus, never ever ever. But why not? Sounds great — and easy.

    Someday I will write about the difficulties that my trashy taste in American peanut butter has caused me as a cook, but meanwhile this gives me another way to use up the two jars of healthy stuff I have quietly separating from their oils on the pantry shelf and in the fridge. Thanks!

  15. sognatrice

    Anne, ooh, I love Sharon’s recipes too. So simple and delicious ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for visiting!

    Sara, you’ve intrigued me, as always. I hope you can, indeed, find a good use for all that healthy stuff whether it’s hummus or, you know, some sort of adhesive ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Anonymous

    Although this looks ultra yum – if you ever happen to come through Rome it’s pretty much available at all healthfood stores – so maybe you can stock up. I was so excited to find out taht they sell it right near my house at the “biologica” store. Not cheap at 4 euro a tub but I don’t use much when I make hummus.

    I love hummus – so yummy yet so healthy!


  17. sognatrice

    Thanks for the tip Kataroma! Is it wrong that tahini just may be what finally convinces me to make a trip up to Rome?

    Priorities ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. karen

    I can find tahini occasionally in small town Canada…. BUT sometimes can’t be bothered. I make almost the exact version you described, BUT instead of peanut butter, use roasted red peppers and some cumin. Try it!

  19. sognatrice

    Karen, yum! My problem then becomes, though, cumin (never seen it here) and the fact that red peppers aren’t always in season, and therefore not available…but I’ll definitely try this with just the red peppers ๐Ÿ™‚


  20. IRENE

    This looks delicious! I am going to try it and will let you know!

  21. sognatrice

    Irene, I hope you like it; I can’t count how many batches I’ve made already ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. I am so glad that you finally found a way to get hummus! PB – what a great idea! ๐Ÿ™‚ This looks great, Michelle! I am glad you enjoyed it so much. I would die without hummus! ๐Ÿ™‚

    JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen’s last blog post..Stormy Weather and Comfort Food: Keeping away Fay with โ€œItalian Style Mac nโ€™ Cheeseโ€

    Jenn, I have a little secret…I actually *prefer* hummus with peanut butter now. I know. You give a girl another way to enjoy peanut butter, and look what happens ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. 07.08.2009

    Now I can make hummus! It looks like it’s Scarlett-proof… we shall see!

    Thank you!!

    S & V

    Super simple this one. Last night I forgot to add the olive oil, and you know what? Didn’t notice. Enjoy! Btw, if you do have tahini, I’m pretty sure you just use a tablespoon of that in place of the peanut butter–more or less depending on your taste. And depending on the size of your garlic cloves, you may need to adjust the measurement. If they’re huge, I would suggest cutting it down to one or even a half…it gets strong in there!

    .-= Wanderlust Scarlettยดs last blog ..Wandering South ~ Destination Eleven =-.

  24. 11.16.2010

    Oh wow! I love the fact that it has peanut butter instead of tahini. Will have to try it. I’ve been craving hummus for a while. Thanks for sharing!

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, Rosa!

  25. 05.26.2011

    I love Hummus! I make it all the time. Where I live it is not that hard to find Tahini…. however, I have heard of people using peanut butter as a stand-in for it. I have never tried this, but think I might have to just out of curiosity’s sake. It seems to me that it would lend a sweeter flavor though??

    Good question — it might be a bit, but I do happen to use low-sugar peanut butter, so perhaps that helps?

  1. [...] more ideas? Add them to sandwiches, salads, dips (great in hummus!), tomato sauce, or as a topping on [.... bleedingespresso.com/2008/01/whats-cooking-wednesday-roasted-peppers-with-garlic-olive-oil.html
Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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