Pine nuts, Parsley and Lemon Juice
A classic combination. Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet until nice and golden brown, then stir them into your hummus along with some lemon juice, chopped parsley, and extra virgin olive oil. A touch of garlic, if you're not in that special mood tonight.
A hummus-tzatziki hybrid made by salting cubes of cucumber and letting them sit to drain in a strainer before folding them in along with strained (Greek-style) yogurt, chopped dill, minced garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Opa'chaim!
Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil
According to the West coasters of the office, this variation is something they would have had growing up. Apparently sun-dried tomatoes are a California thing? Chopped sun-dried tomatoes mixed with chopped basil, lemon juice, and olive oil before being stirred into hummus.
Beets + hummus = b'ummus. Get it? For this variation, we boiled a couple red beets in water until tender, then roughly chopped them and threw them into the food processor along with hummus, extra tahini, lemon juice, harissa, and plenty of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve it with parsley and a drizzle of extra tahini.
What hummus would be if it were invented in New Orleans. Chopped olives, capers, and pimentos stirred together with olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and parsley, all stirred together with hummus. Wanna get extra crazy? Add some cubed salami to the mix.
Hot Bacon Hummus
I know. Isn't everybody sick of bacon in everything by now? The problem is, the folks at La Quercia keep shooting us over samples of the stuff. Seems like we've got a near constant supply in the fridge. In this variation we crisply fried some lardons of slab bacon in a skillet before adding chopped pickled hot cherry peppers and stirring it into the hummus, bacon fat and all. Leave some out to garnish the top, and stir in a few mint leaves for a bright kick.
Spicy Black Bean Hummus
You see that guy over there? The one wearing the sombrero? Yeah, that guys is just hummus in disguise.
For this version, add equal parts hummus and black beans to a food processor along with some chopped serrano or jalapeño pepper, cilantro leaves, and lime juice. Pulse until smooth, then stir in a few extra beans. Serve with pita, chips, or better yet... pita chips.
Chipotle Lime Hummus
Hummus with a couple of canned chipotle chilies, cilantro, and lime juice. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, and lime wedges. Easy peasy. Watch your fingers, this one is hot.
Figs, Pepitas, and Smoked Paprika
A lightly sweetened version of hummus that is surprisingly delicious. Chop a few dried figs into little pieces and cover them with a bit of boiling water to tenderize. Drain them, then stir them together with honey and toasted pepitas. Stir the whole thing into the hummus along with a good pinch of smoked paprika. Garnish with parsley. Sweet, nutty, and delicious.
Spinach and Feta Hummus
Blanch (or microwave) some baby spinach and wring out the excess moisture before roughly chopping it. Then stir it into your hummus along with some crumbled feta, lemon juice and zest, and extra virgin olive oil. It's not a mind-blowingly original combination, but it works, and that's what really matters.
Tuna and Olive Hummus
If ever there was a time to spring for the really good tuna—you know, that imported stuff packed in olive oil?—this is it. Tender chunks of olive oil-poached tuna folded gently into hummus with chopped olives, parsley, lemon juice, and a big ol' glug of olive oil.
Pro-tip: Replace the hummus with egg yolks for excellent deviled eggs a la Oleana in Cambridge
Harissa and Mint
Another classic. This one is just hummus mixed with some good harissa, a bit of extra olive oil, and chopped mint.
Artichokes and Herbs
A good blend of fresh herbs is the key here. Parsley, mint, basil, dill, cilantro, any or all of the above will do. Roughly chopped jarred artichoke hearts bring texture and brightness to this dip.
A classic topping for flatbreads and dips, za'atar is both the Arabic term for thyme, and for a spice blend that features it. Our blend contains thyme (which you can bolster with fresh picked thyme leaves), toasted sesame seeds, and ground sumac berries, which add their characteristic bright tanginess. A healthy sprinkle with a big drizzle of olive oil is all it takes for an instant upgrade.
"I just want hot pastrami dripping with hot pastrami fat... on top of hummus. Is that too much to ask?"
Serious Eats New York Site Editor Max Falkowitz is either a genius or certifiably insane, I thought to myself. But I did it nonetheless. Hot chopped pastrami from Katz's stirred into hummus along with a dollop of their spicy brown mustard. Topped off with more pastrami, more mustard, sliced scallions, and olive oil.
Consensus? Certifiably insane genius.