Something about Sabra turns people into freaks. SABRA IS THE BEST THING EVER (EVER!) was the typical reaction I got when asking around for favorite brands. We'd agree that it's pretty special. Especially if you like your hummus tahini-heavy, super smooth, and with a nice drizzle of oil on top.
There's a certain je ne sais quoi about the flavor—it goes somewhere the other hummuses (hummi?) don't. Was that a savory beef taste? A hit of umami? Is the secret ingredient even legal?! It's definitely the richest of all—basically chickpea butter.
And the nutrition facts backed that up: 80 calories and 7 grams of fat for a one-ounce serving, compared to the average 50 calories and 3 grams of fat in many others.
Sonny & Joe's
Judging by the old-timey photos of Brooklyn on the label, Sonny and Joe just seemed like they knew a thing or two about hummus. The company started back in 1918, selling pickles from a pushcart in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but actually just got into the packaged hummus business two years ago. (No wonder most of us didn't recognize it.)
The tubs look like the Sabra tubs—the same bigger-than-normal 16-ounce size. And hey, it kind of tastes like Sabra too. The smoothness, the drizzle of oil on top, the tahini richness. But the difference is Sonny & Joe's still makes theirs in small batches in a Brooklyn factory, so the flavor is brighter and fresher-tasting. They're easiest to find in New York, but distribution is starting to spread up and down the east coast and out west, with sightings at Targets and Krogers.
Best Tahini-less Hummus: Trader Joe's Tahini-Free
Although the variety of hummus at Trader Joe's is seemingly endless, the tahini-free original is especially nice.A little lemony, a little garlicky—but neither are too overpowering. And without the tahini, you really get a distinct chickpea flavor. The texture is baby food-esque, but in a good way.
Read more here >>
"Actually tastes like chickpeas!" Tasters were pretty excited about that fact. There's a hint of tahini, but it won't punch you in the face. You mostly taste the chickpea in its purest form, which can get a little old after too many pita chip dunks. The texture is smooth—not quite Sabra smooth, but definitely not gritty.
Our man Ed Levine is a pretty tough critic when it comes to hummus. His typical reaction to a sample was an unimpressed ehhhh or maybe a shoulder shrug, but this one merited a "not bad." And bad it is not. "Creamy and full-bodied" agreed tasters. The citrussy kick tastes like real lemon juice and the garlic is punchy. It tastes clean, and not at all gut-busting heavy. According to the label, they've been around for over 25 years—which seems like a long time in hummus years—so they must be doing something right.
Al Wadi Al Akhdar
HUMMUS IN A CAN. Yes, in a can. Like what tomato soup comes in! Someone at Sahadi's, the Middle Eastern market in Brooklyn, pointed me to it when I requested "the hummus section." (Wait, did he think I said tomato soup section?) Though intriguing, this was ultimately disappointing. We'll spare you the gross details, but one taster summed it up perfectly: "double yahk!" Maybe we'd eat it while camping, maybe. But we'll continue to purchase our hummus in plastic tub form.