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Easy Red Lentil Hummus

Tiny lens-shaped red-orange jewels, simmered ‘til soft, pureed with garlic, fresh lemon juice, toasted sesame tahini and salt—this red lentil hummus. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, give it a rivulet of fruity olive oil and eye-catching flecks of green and black—you’ve got buttery creamy dip, super simple, made from scratch in just twenty minutes—an addicting appetizer.

Red Lentil Hummus

You know red lentil hummus is much more than an easy-to-make delectable dip. Robbie slathers and rolls it in whole wheat tortillas with veggies and greens–his favorite wrap of a sandwich. (He says to double the garlic in the hummus—that’s up to you.) Forget mayo—go for the protein-rich spread the next time you make burgers. How about this hummus vinaigrette?

When I was in the Windy City for BlogherFood conference earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sharing the evening with a group of food-fervent bloggers. Hosted by Canadian Lentils, we gathered in the open kitchen upstairs of Chicago’s celebrated Little Goat Diner, watching Chef Stephanie Izard and her team work their magic. Cameras snapping to document all, we feasted on an inspiring parade of lentil-y goodness that never stopped.

Red lentil hummus, on a fried cracker called papdi, topped with pickled yellow beets and a dollop of sharp cucumber yogurt tzatziki sauce—memories of that nibble stay in this brain. Do you think it’s because I noshed down more than my share?

As soon as I saw Heidi Swanson’s recipe for red lentil hummus in her new cookbook, brain said mark it with a post-it sticker. Actually, there’re quite a few stickers earmarking recipes I want to try in Near & Far. If you are looking for a gift for an avid vegetarian cook who likes to explore and cook with new ingredients, this is your find. Read my review of the vegetarian cookbook here.

Red Lentil Hummus ingedients-1503

Do you know your pulses–the edible seeds of legumes–chickpeas, dried peas, beans, and lentils? Some pulses, like red lentils, have the seed coat removed and the inner part split in half. Since split lentils cook quickly, they’re perfect for hummus and soup.

Aiming to heighten awareness of pulses as a vital source of plant-based protein for people around the globe, 2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses. Read more here.

Near and Far Cookbook open to Red Lentil Hummus page

My aim right now is to get you to pulse orange-red pulses in your food processor. Pulse them with garlic, lemon juice, and tahini—into red lentil hummus.

Red Lentil Hummus w spoon lentil sprinkles-1448

In honor of the upcoming year of pulses, you might also like this brilliant Red Velvet Beet Soup, and this Red Lentil Confetti Salad.

What’s your favorite pulse? Not the one you check for heart rate, we’re talking about the legume!!

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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5 from 1 vote
Red Lentil Hummus
This hummus is absolutely wonderful as a sandwich spread, or rolled up with veggies and greens in a tortilla.
  • 1 ½ cups dried red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • ¾ teaspoon Real Salt
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds , optional garnish
  • Extra virgin olive oil , as desired
  • Toasted sesame oil , optional
  • Chopped cilantro , or green onions or chives
  1. Rinse the dried lentils and place in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook on super-low heat until soft and tender, about 15 minutes, adding more water as needed to keep the lentils from sticking to the pan. You should have about 2 ½ cups cooked lentils.
  2. With the motor of the food processor running, mince the garlic by dropping it through the feed tube. Add the cooked lentils. Pulse off and on for about a minute, stopping to scrape the puree from the corners. Add the lemon juice, tahini and salt. Pulse another minute or so, them puree until the mixture is creamy smooth. Add warm water, a tablespoon at a time, to thin the hummus as you wish. Taste, and adjust with more lemon juice or salt, if needed.
  3. Transfer to a bowl. Draw an indent in the hummus with a spoon, fill it with olive oil, and a drizzle of sesame oil, if using. Decorate with black sesame seeds, and something green, like cilantro or green onions.
  4. Serve with crackers or baked pita triangles.


  • Hi Letty! Fun post – so much good info it almost got my pulse going like a vigirous walk in the morning! Love the idea of the red lentil hummus. I was just day dreaming about papdi yesterday – had to post it on TJ! Have a terrifc Thanksgiving! Reply · 23 November, 2015

    • Thanks Beth,
      I enjoyed your review of the conference–it was perfect as a link, too! Reply · 24 November, 2015

  • Susan

    I love red lentils, and this looks like a great recipe, except that I am shocked by the inclusion of three fourths cup of salt. This seems excessive. I’ve looked up the Real Salt product, and am still puzzled. Can you explain? Thanks. Reply · 24 November, 2015

    • Susan–thanks for the heads up! It was supposed to be 3/4 teaspoon salt!–I just fixed it in the recipe. As far as Real Salt–it’s a sea salt from an ancient lake bed–delicious–intact with the trace minerals and I want everyone to know about it!
      Enjoy the recipe and the not too salty hummus! 😉 Reply · 24 November, 2015

  • Gorgeous food styling Hummus is one of those nearly impossible foods to photograph too! Well done. GREG Reply · 24 November, 2015

    • Aw shucks Greg–thank you! Reply · 3 December, 2015

  • I love red lentils, and this looks like a great recipe, thanks for share this recipe. Reply · 16 December, 2015

  • […] Gorgeous photography, mouthwatering prose, and keeper recipes. For review and sample recipes, go here, and […] Reply · 23 December, 2015

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