Food, Recipies

Hummus, zero waste, zero oil

The Zero-waste chief once said that there is a positive linear relationship between being zero waste and how much hummus you eat. I totally agree! Hummus makes a delicious creamy addition to almost any dish. It is so good that my girls often will eat veggies dipped in hummus for a whole meal.

AND, its super easy to make from ingredients in the bulk bin.

My 4 year old loves helping fill our containers. Its a great way to involve her in both eating healthy and doing zero-waste!

There are lots of zero-waste bloggers who have hummus recipes, but since we eat it so much, I wanted it to also be a whole-food plant based recipe as well–meaning, without oil. That way my girls can chow down on it as much as they want. If you want more info on avoiding oil, watch this video from Instead of oil, this recipe gets heart-healthy fats from the sesame seeds. It gets a lovely creamy texture from some of the cooking water from the garbanzo beans (aka “aquafava.”)

Plus, olive oil is a little expensive from the bulk bin at Whole Foods, so this hummus is a great budget option.

Here are where to find the ingredients package free in Chattanooga:

  • Garbanzo beans (also called Chickpeas)–bulk bin at Whole Foods (WF) or EarthFare (EF). You will use the cooking water too, so don’t throw it out! No shame in buying a BPA free can in a pinch, just be sure to recycle the can afterwards.
  • Sesame seeds–bulk bin at EF, I use the unhulled because they have so much calcium. Some people think they have a little more of a bitter taste. If that is a problem for you, the hulled kind is also in the bulk bins at EF.
  • Lemon–any grocery store, I like Linda’s Produce
  • Salt–Regular table salt at WF or more expensive mineral salt at EF. Or, I use Dr Gregor’s Savory Spice Blend, all of the spices can be found in the bulk spice section at EF.
  • Smoked Paprika–in a glass container from WF or EF. EF does have paprika in the bulk spice section, but it isn’t the smoked variety.
  • Garlic gloves–any grocery store
  • Sometimes I also add turmeric, roasted red peppers, roasted beets, and/or fresh herbs.
Everything you need!

During the first step of the recipe, you actually make tahini sauce, so I usually make more than I need and scoop some out to have tahini salad dressing.

Sesame seeds on the left, tahini sauce on the right. Tahini is nothing more than ground up sesame seeds. This is darker in color because I use sesame seeds that still have the hull on them for the added calcium.

You will need boiled garbanzo beans for this recipe. Start the day before by soaking your garbanzo beans. They need to soak for at least 8 hrs, but I’ve forgotten them and thrown them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and they were fine :). I usually put them in water on the kitchen counter before bed, then cook them in the morning.

To cook the garbanzo beans, pour off the soaking water, put in a pot, cover with fresh water, and bring to a boil. Once they have started boiling, turn the heat down to medium/low and allow to simmer for about an hour. I usually get them started before we eat breakfast, and they are done before leaving for work.

Now you are ready to make hummus!


  • 6 TB sesame seeds
  • 3 TB garbanzo bean cooking water
  • 4 cups boiled garbanzo beans
  • 1 lemon, peeled and seeds removed
  • 4 roasted (or microwaved for 2 min with some bean water) garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt or savory spice blend
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • Any other seasonings you want to add, like fresh herbs, roasted beets, or roasted red peppers. Or nothing else is fine too!
  1. Toast the sesame seeds slightly by heating over medium heat on a cast-iron skillet. Sometimes I skip this step and the hummus still tastes fine. This does gives it an extra yummy toasted flavor.
  2. Put the sesame seeds in the food processor and blend until it becomes a paste. You might have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. Don’t worry about getting it too perfectly smooth! If you want to make extra to use in salad dressing, put in extra seeds and scoop some out before the next step.
  3. Add in all the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

It will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. Sometimes I put some in mason jars to freeze for later.

So good!
Do not fill mason jars all the way if you are going to freeze them! Leave about an inch at the top.

Two tips about this recipe:

The garlic–don’t be tempted to skip roasting or microwaving them! Without cooking them a little, the garlic has a sharp taste that isn’t pleasing. I usually roast garlic earlier in the week when I am baking something else in the oven.

The lemon: Cutting the lemon after peeling it makes it easier to remove the seeds.


Let me know how your hummus making adventure goes!

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