Hummus Among Us

As the morning fades away and races rapidly towards noon, there’s rarely any question in my mind as to what’s for lunch. A creature of habit at the core, I’m almost always drawn to the same tasty, easy, and comforting staple: Hummus. Whether it’s in pita with falafel, spread on toast or bagels, nestled on top of chips or balanced on fresh veggies, it’s all good to me. The sheer volume of hummus that I alone go through in a week is enough to boggle the mind, so I like to think that I know a thing or two about it. Unfortunately, I tend to be very picky as well, and have only found one brand thus far that pleases my palate. Even the recipes I’ve tried at home haven’t quite lived up to that one supermarket commodity, so for ages now it’s been the only hummus in my heart. Always on the lookout for a decent alternative to shake things up a bit, I was excited with the prospect of trying out hummus by Summer Fresh, a label I had never heard of or seen up until now.

Available in a wide variety of flavors, sometimes topped with additional goodies like a drizzle of olive oil, whole chickpeas, or additional spices, or just in a standard package. Although they make convenient little to-go packs, the crackers included aren’t vegan, so just plan to scoop a dollop into some Tupperware if you want to take it to work or school with you. I wish I could have tried every last kind of hummus to get the full spectrum of flavors, but at least I got a taste of what these people could do with the humble chickpea.

While I wouldn’t normally bother with anything sounding as bland as Original flavor, I figured it would give me a good baseline for this hummus at least. Much to my surprise, it was anything but tasteless; a myriad of spices gives it an unexpected complexity, so much so that it’s hard to describe. A hint of lemon brings a nice hit of acid into the picture and all of the ingredients work to best compliment the chickpeas. Perfectly smooth and creamy, not the least bit gritty like most other commercial hummus, I was most impressed by the flawless texture. You really need to taste this for yourself, but believe me, this is not your average “plain” hummus.

Roasted Red Pepper is usually one of my top three favorite varieties, so I had high hopes for this one. Living up to its name, this luscious orangey-red spread boasted a bright, fresh peppery essence, with a detectable note of char, as if the peppers had just come off the fire. This is one that I would buy obsessively if I could find it with ease.

Another classic, Roasted Garlic is popular with many of my friends, so it’s always good to have around for parties. This one that I tried was topped with unadulterated chunks of roasted garlic, olive oil, and herbs, making for an impressive presentation straight out of the container. Intensely flavored with the both sharp and sweet flavors of garlic, fans of the stinking rose would be quite pleased to have this spread in their fridge. Luckily, it’s not over-the-top garlicky, but it definitely makes no bones about expressing its namesake to the fullest.

As an added bonus, I also got to try some of the other spreads made by Summer Fresh. They have a wide range of products, but beware- Many of their pestos contain dairy, and if you venture further through their product line, some of their soups and salads aren’t even vegetarian.

Although I wouldn’t call either of these two spreads “pesto” they are nonetheless labeled as Artichoke Pestoz and Peri Peri Pestoz, respectively. The artichoke version is certainly no looker, a pale greenish yellow shade and a bit lumpy, but the flavor makes up for its cosmetic failings. Singing out with pure artichoke flavor, this veggie is clearly the star of the show here, and it’s not sharing the spotlight with any other lesser ingredients. I think it would be awesome as a dip at a party, perhaps warmed up with a bit of Teese melted over the top. Talk about delicious!

Somewhat intimidated by the dark, fiery red peri peri, I knew that this stuff would be hot before even cracking the lid. When the label itself warns “hot” in no unclear terms, you’ve got to think that this stuff has some serious fire power. Looking much like chili paste with a bit of oil that stubbornly refuses to stay incorporated, just a whiff of this stuff tells volumes of its intensity. Taking the tiniest bite of this on top of a cracker, my mouth was instantly lit on fire, and the heat did not dissipate easily. I would recommend this only for real hot-heads who love serious spice, but it could also be a great ingredient in some hot dishes, where it could be dispersed more evenly to lessen the intensity.

If only I could find this stuff locally, my beloved Tribe hummus might actually have some competition on their hands!

[Written for Go Dairy Free]

25 thoughts on “Hummus Among Us

  1. Good morning dear! You are always such a pleasure to read in every entry and I find fantastic all the products and ideas that you show us!
    Thanks a lot..even if I’m not veg I really adore your blog :-D

  2. WOW those hummus varieties sound tantalizing… each and every one (especially the garlic one though, since I AM a garlic fanatic, haha). And those “pestoz” sound delicious as well!

  3. Ohhhhh… these sound fanTAStic! I am a hummus addict. The peri peri sounds like it might be a great addition to a pasta or pizza sauce. Just a smidge of it, of course. :)

  4. I love Summer Fresh! Maybe they’re Canadian, we’ve had them up for quite awhile now. My fave is their Lemon Dill, SO good. Beautiful photos, as always. :-)

  5. I’m surprised you like the Tribe hummus. I stopped buying hummus for a while because that was the only variety my supermarket carried and I found it boring. I do like the Summer Fresh variety now that they carry it, especially the wasabi hummus when it’s in stock. But if you can find Sabra hummus, the other two brands don’t even compare. It is the richest, creamiest, most delicious store bought hummus I’ve ever had. It’s the closest thing to going to my favorite Mediterranean restaurant.

  6. I second Ian on the Sabra brand. Tribe, Athenos, etc. don’t even compare. I even brought my whole tub of Sabra to work with me today.

    Speaking of bringing food to work: one of the first things I made from My Sweet Vegan (lemon curd filled poppy seed cupcakes) totally rocked the world of people who had never even heard of veganism. Thanks!

  7. Mmmmmm, I love hummus on my salad instead of dressing. So delicious! I find supermarket hummus very salty but will grab Tribe in a pinch. I like to make it myself and tweak it with various ingredients and spices, depending on the season. I’m also lucky enough to live fairly close to a couple of really fantastic Armenian markets who make the most fantastic hummus. I’ll look for Summer Fresh next time I’m at the market.

  8. Trader Joe’s Hummus is excellent and I love the original on cucumber sandwichs…try it, you will like it….

  9. oh, no! homemade hummus rocks! Play around with some more recipes and I’m sure you’ll find one you love more than anything you pull off a shelf. In my opinion, a good quality tahini really matters and for that I use a brand called Alkanater (these people specialize in Tahini and Halva, which is also a byproduct of sesame seeds).

  10. Its so nice to see other people who love hummus as much as I do. Chickpeas are so amazing. I can’t find very many brands where I live but I want to try and recreate the roasted garlic hummus.

  11. I’ll fourth the Sabra. It’s the smoothest, most wonderful commercial hummus around–unless you have a Trader Joe’s around. They have a wonderful hummus as well. I make my own at this point and found a wonderful recipe in Cook’s Illustrated that produces super smooth, wonderful tasting hummus. You should give it a try.

  12. Sabra brand hummus and baba ganoush are more fattening than many other brands. They use more oil and or tahini in the hummus and they actually use mayonaise in the baba ganoush, which will not appear in any authentic recipe. If you mouth likes this brand it is because your body craves fat, and you know where that leads. If you want the actual taste of chick peas, eggplant, and garlic then read the labels of prepared hummus and baba ganoush carefully.

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