Easy Entertaining: Red Lentil Hummus

by Maris Callahan on June 5, 2011

There are a few things I always have on hand in my pantry and for some reasons, lentils are one of those things. I wouldn’t say I use lentils especially often, although they are certainly in the winter rotation for things like lentil soup with spicy Italian sausage or lentil soup with chunky potatoes and ham. Beyond that, lentils are a once-in-awhile thing and yet, they have a permanent place wedged between the equally ignored Arborio rice and a lone box of Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese (you know…for emergencies).

This recipe was born by accident when I was feeling the pressure to add one more thing to the table for a dinner party. I whipped it up using ingredients I had on hands and wrote the measurements in barely legible handwriting on the cover of the nearby May Bon Appetit.  After a brief taste test I couldn’t have been more pleased by how perfect it turned out. I placed in the fridge to chill….and then promptly forgot to serve it during said dinner party.

Really, not the worst thing that could have happened to me. This is a fun spin on hummus with a lot of extra nutrition – lentils have plenty of fiber and are one of those too-good-for-you-to-be-true foods. It’s perfect on crackers, pita chips or a sandwich, but If you’re watching your carb intake (in which case, I don’t want to know you), serve it with chopped raw vegetables

Red Lentil Hummus

What You Need:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (also sold garbanzo beans)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1/4 cup lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, chick peas, cumin and paprika and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in water and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer until lentils are soft, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer contents of pot to a large bowl and set aside to let cool.

Transfer lentil mixture to a food processor along with lemon juice, salt and pepper and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and garnish with cilantro and a drizzle of oil, if you like.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Nelly Rodriguez June 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm

yum, I’d love this! Add some Sriracha and even better! Plus…lentils are sooo good for you! Have you ever tried Lentils with Coconut Milk? YUM!


Three-Cookies June 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Lentils are great and different beans work together well. An interesting fact unrelated to your hummus. I heard that or chickpeas are not a full protein, certain protein elements are missing. These missing elements can be provided by mixing chickpeas with other nuts/seeds such as sesame, hence hummus was born!


Olga @ MangoTomato June 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm

what an interesting combination! love all the ingredients. You could also probably thin this out with broth to make it into a soup.


Erica June 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Thats hilarious. I also always have lentils in my cabinet too (next to my pasta, arborio rice and random boxes of mac n cheese that get used a few times a year). This looks so yummy. I always love a good hummus- especially when its homemade


Daryl June 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I would love this and probably eat the whole dish


Greg June 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Ha, I love your line about carb intake! I love this recipe. I always buy green lentils, but see recipes for red. Must make the switch.


Sarah Caron June 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm

That sounds so good — And I have all the ingredients on hand. YUM. But I will totally eat it with veggies. I love, love, love veggies with hummus.


rebecca June 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm

wow awesome hummus and packed with protein


NancyC June 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Hummus is one of my favorite foods! I’m going to be posting a basic hummus recipe later today. Your recipe sounds really good, and I haven’t seen one made with lentils, so I’ll have to try it!


Marnie June 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm

The ingredients list calls for chickpeas, but the “how-to” mentions sweet potatoes…which did you really mean? Thanks!


Maris Callahan June 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm

That was my error – thanks for catching! Corrected.


KalynsKitchen June 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I love the idea of using red lentils in hummus! I don’t think I’ve ever tried a hummus I didn’t like.


Heidi Renée June 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I have three kinds of lentils cooling their heels in my pantry. I generally only use them for soups, too, but hummus is a great idea!

As a side note, I see sweet potatoes in the directions but not in the ingredient list.


Maris Callahan June 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Thanks Heidi, my mistake! Thanks for catching! Corrected.


Claire @ Un Bello Aperitivo June 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I made hummus a few months ago using red lentils, and when I took it out of the fridge later, it was really…fluffy, like a lot of air was incorporated. It was good, just an odd texture, haha. Was yours dense like regular hummus?


Lisa from Lisas Yarns June 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Yum! That sounds really good! I should make that this month when my girlfriends come over to help me pack! It would use up the lentils I have sitting in my cupboard!


Heather @girlichef June 5, 2011 at 10:02 pm

ha ha ha ha…that’s hilarious and totally something that I would do. Well, at least what you had left all for yourself was something healthy, huh? I love the sound of lentil hummus (I can hardly resist a plate of hummus set in my vicinity). Plus, it’s pretty :)


yummychunklet June 5, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Necessity is the mother of invention. I think you knocked this one out of the park! The hummus looks delicious!


Maria @ Scandifoodie June 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Great recipe and love the flavours. I’ve got to give this a try!


megan carroll June 5, 2011 at 11:30 pm

lovely- always have lentils for the emergency “i need to make dal”…. will try that spin very soon.


Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) June 6, 2011 at 1:16 am

I’m so pleased to find this recipe. I use lots of brown and green lentils but hardly any red. I don’t know what possessed me to buy two big bags of red lentils last week. They looked so enticing! Now I know what I’ll try with them. Thanks!


Kate June 6, 2011 at 1:18 am

This looks so delicious! I am not usually a lentil fan but add it in hummus and I think I could change my opinion rather quickly :-)


Anne June 6, 2011 at 2:23 am

I love lentils but you’re right…I haven’t used them in much outside of soups and stews. Such a great idea!


Kate (What Kate is Cooking) June 6, 2011 at 3:22 am

Haha, I totally feel the same way about people watching their carb intake :) My co-worker does and it drives me nuts! She doesn’t even eat fruit… so weird!!


Sawsan@chef in disguise June 6, 2011 at 9:05 am

Wow! this sounds great…bookmarked to try soon


megi June 6, 2011 at 10:26 am

The red lentil hummus looks healthy, nutritious and delicious, I have to try this! I made your bulgur salad twice, well once with bulgur and once with quinoa and both were a hit with everyone who ate it. Thank you!


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) June 6, 2011 at 10:52 am

You can also take the leftover hummus and turn it into a great red lentil soup. Add a bit of fresh lemon to some chicken or vegetable broth, or even use water as the base.


Alexis @ There She Goes June 6, 2011 at 11:21 am

mm never though to make lentil hummus, this is def on list of things to try!


Gina (The Candid RD) June 6, 2011 at 11:36 am

Great recipe! I love hummus, but Nick hates it. I know he doesn’t like chickpeas so I wonder if he would eat this….I bet he would! It sounds wonderful.


jessica June 6, 2011 at 11:37 am

Now that is what I am talking about. This hummus is perfect for our household. Spicy and smooth! I can’t wait to try it!


brandi@BranAppetit June 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I love red lentils, but have never thought to put them in hummus. Great idea!


bellini June 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Packed with flavour and nutrition, the best of both worlds.


Tasha June 6, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I’ve never seen a hummus with lentils before, but I absolutely love the idea of it. If I had enough red lentils on hand, I’d be making this today.


Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen June 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm

We are definitely on the same wavelength! I made a Yellow Lentil (ok, fine, they were split peas…) dip the other day that was DELICIOUS. I can’t call it hummus though, as mine didn’t have any chickpeas in it. :)


Susan June 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm

The next time I need to make hummus I’m going to try this! I think the addition of the red lentils sounds wonderful.


Betty @ scrambled hen fruit June 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I love both hummus and red lentils but never thought of combining the two! This sounds great- hummus is a staple at my house, especially in summer. :)


Kathleen June 6, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I love that you added red lentils to this. I bet it tastes great and it gives it such a nice color!


Nami @ Just One Cookbook June 7, 2011 at 12:06 am

Lentils and chickpeas are both new ingredient to try for me. I love hummus and someday I’m going to make hummus and I should include lentils so I could use both new ingredients together. Fabulous recipe!


Tanvi@SinfullySpicy June 9, 2011 at 1:20 am

One of my fav things is Red Lentils- Love the recipe and the flavors in the dip!


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella June 9, 2011 at 2:31 am

Great recipe Maris! I love hummous and making one using red lentils is such a clever and healthy idea! :D


Serena June 10, 2011 at 8:38 pm

OH YUM. I adore hummus; I adore lentils – what could be better than combining the two!?


fatisrecipes June 18, 2011 at 5:56 am

Wow, I have heard of red lentil soup and hummus dip.. but never thought of the end product when the two are combined together! :)
Nice dish. Thanks for posting.


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