Caramelised Onion and Plain Citrus Hummus

Caramelised Onion and Plain Citrus Hummus

Caramelised Onion and/or Plain Citrus Hummus, with pitta bread and salad

Yet another noisy lead-in photo. We really are in the depths of winter right now. And as it’s going to be another dull, grey and overcast day tomorrow I might as well go with this as a test shot rather than hoping for better natural light. I could wait, I suppose. After all, I’ve waited long enough to make caramelised onion hummus. Especially as this version has been for sale in the shops here for years now. And I’m just getting around to making it? Go analyse! Believe me, it won’t be the last time to make this. Hummus is something I’ve always loved, especially made with lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice. At this time of year that makes sense. What doesn’t is shopping around for a smallish jar of tahini, as I ain’t gonna find it. And I’m not going to spend that much – seriously, how much?? – to end up chucking out half of it. As it’s never going to be a case of using all of it. Even though it can be used within salad dressings. I’ve always found tahini to be too bitter for my palate, and any time that I’ve used it it’s always been used sparingly. Here, instead, I’m going with dry roasted sesame seeds. And trying to grind them by hand. Not the easiest thing to do as they will clump. Probably better to use some type of food processor and add the extra virgin olive oil as you go. Then add the chickpeas. The flavour of the dry roasted sesame seeds is incredible – with no bitterness. I’m pleased. Even though some might comment on the texture of my hummus! I couldn’t care less about that when I chomp on toasted pitta breads stuffed with salad and raw veg. It just means I’ve yet another incredibly tasty dip to go with the necessity of gorging on red cabbage every day. Why am I eating so much salad? To help counteract the rather large bowls of self-saucing chocolate puddings that I’m happily wolfing through? Who knows.

There are two recipes here as I couldn’t be bothered to drag the plain citrus hummus out of its draft version and republish. It’s at the end of this post. In the meantime, do have a look at my new toy – slide shows. Two of which you’ll find within Recipes at top of page, as in Pork & Soups. Yes! Some of the recipes have been updated with freshly edited lead-in photos. And posts formatted. With their individual HTML text copied and pasted on my HD & memory stick. And all obsolete photos deleted from library. Whew, isn’t blogging fun?! Now to start on the pastas & pestos…could always go out more. Nah, I’ll just stay in and have another large bowl of chocolate pud.

Caramelised Onion Hummus

  • Servings: 2 as a main course with pitta and salad or 3 - 4 as a dip
  • Print


PREP: about 30 mins ~ COOK: about 30 mins ~ READY IN: less than 1 hour


  • oils, sunflower and extra virgin olive oils used
  • minimum 200g (7.055 oz) x prepared weight onions, peeled, trimmed and sliced into crescents (slice repeatedly from root end toward where stem would be, turn and slice off root end)
  • 1 x 400g or 240g drained weight (14.11 or 8.466 oz drained) can cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 x organic garlic clove, peeled, trimmed and crushed/minced
  • up to 1½ x lemons, freshly juiced through a sieve to collect pips (start with less and add more toward end of cooking/preparation time)
  • 1 x tablespoon (white) sesame seeds, dry roasted and ground
  • up to 4 tablespoons x extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, to personal taste

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • Start by putting a heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 out of 6. Prep the onions, and by that time the pan should be hot enough to add a good glug of oil, the onions and a lid. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring through occasionally, and then remove the lid for the rest of cooking time. Any signs of the onions drying out add either a splash of water or a drizzle more oil. Any signs of scorching reduce the heat. Mine take at least 30 minutes, reducing the heat to No 2 after about 20.
  • In the meantime add the rinsed chickpeas/garbanzo beans to a large saucepan and put on heat No 3 with a little oil. Cook until they take on a golden colour, take off heat and crush the garlic into the pan and stir through. Make sure the rawness of the garlic is completely cooked out. If necessary do put back on low heat only until that happens.
  • When the garlic has cooked take the pan off heat and add the juice of 1 lemon and a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Start to mash them with a fork, or masher if you have something suitable.
  • Add the sesame seeds to a small saucepan/pan and put on low heat only. These need to be fairly evenly toasted so do keep an eye on them. If they scorch they’ll turn out bitter. When nicely golden take off heat and grind. Using a pestle and mortar they will clump, so do add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to grind them into a paste. Add them to the mashed chickpeas. Start to taste this mixture and add more lemon, olive oil and do add several grinds of sea salt. It may taste slightly bitter due to the lemon juice but when the caramelised onions are added you’ll be surprised at how good this can taste.
  • After adding the caramelised onions (and do grab all of the sediment and sticky sweetness from base of pan!) add a little water or more olive oil to gain a better consistency. Check for any needed extra lemon, olive oil or sea salt. Serve with toasted pitta bread and lots of salad.


Citrus Hummus, with pitta bread and salad

  • Servings: 2 as a main course with pitta and salad or 3 - 4 as a dip
  • Print


PREP: about 30 mins ~ COOK: about 30 mins ~ READY IN: less than 1 hour


  • 1 x 400g or 240g drained weight (14.11 or 8.466 oz drained) can cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 x garlic clove, peeled, trimmed and crushed/minced
  • 2 – 3 x lemons, freshly juiced through a sieve to collect pips (start with less and add more toward end of cooking/preparation time)
  • ½ - 1 x tablespoon tahini, dry roasted and ground
  • up to 4 tablespoons x extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, to personal taste
  • paprika, to serve
  • cold water, to thin to a consistency needed

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • It’s not really necessary to do this particular step as after rinsing the chickpeas as I place them in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring that to a boil, take off heat and drain. Put them back into the saucepan and cover with cold water. For me this rids the flavour of brine.
  • After draining the chickpeas well simply add to a food processor, add a little tahini and lemon juice (added through a sieve to prevent seeds from getting in) and blend until as smooth as possible. Pour in a little olive oil to help thin the hummus. Taste, and if needed add extra lemon and tahini, and add more oil if necessary. Or add a little water to help achieve the consistency you want. That simple!
  • Alternatively, mash with a strong fork until you get bored and then go for the rustic look! I do. -:)
  • Serve with lots of lightly salted tomatoes, toasted pitta bread, olives, your favourite salad leaves. Or, treat piglet to some junk food, as I do occasionally, and scoop with tortilla chips. No double-dipping, mind!

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Kitschnflavours:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny Hepburn

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55 responses to “Caramelised Onion and Plain Citrus Hummus

  1. i love hummus! this past summer i was in israel, where i had the creamiest hummus (and falafel) so this takes me back…

    • Wow, I bet both of those were amazing. I can’t get my hummus to a really nice and creamy consistency as I don’t have a suitable food processor, only a large soup blender. Having said that, when I get my teeth into one of these pitta breads stuffed with this particular hummus I don’t care about the texture! :) Besides, it’s better to have something this healthy. Regardless of how rustic.

  2. I actually don’t love tahini. So I’d probably love this!

    • Thrilled that I’m not the only one that’s isn’t keen on tahini! I find it way too bitter. Which is why I never bother with it in anything other than plain hummus. Yes, this is much sweeter. And the flavour of the dry roasted sesame seeds go really well. Far better than tahini. Only IMO!

  3. I love hummus! I enjoy it daily with pita chips or veggies!

    • I bet you have a superb processor to make it with. By hand it’s a bit of a chore! Still, it’s delicious. And incredibly healthy. So I’ll persevere for now. It’s definitely worth it. :)

  4. You are so right about the jars of Tahini being huge, I am not a tahini fan so end up throwing the stuff away. I LOVE the idea of using sesame, great idea!! I could sit with a big bowl of veggies and hot pita and hummus and not want for anything else, it’s so delicious. I like your photo, looks bright and crisp and makes me want a hummus sandwich.

    • Exactly what I’ve done recently, as in chucking out at least half a jar. Which is why I decided to make this. As I can buy really nice white sesame seeds at the International store – like I’ve recently bought fennel seeds! Oh, so good. I’ve just gorbed (very, very late) on a bowl of dhal, and it’s turning out to be one of the best (unauthentic) curries I’ve made. Deliciously spicy. Anyway, big thanks re awful light photo! The hummus I’m making is never going to look attractive. So I figured I might as well go with. :)

  5. Looks really really good. And somewhat related, lots of caramelised onion making in Iranian cooking, and it’s gotten so that everytime I make some or even think of the step, I right away also think: Johnny! Ha ha!

    • Isn’t it funny! I do happen to like caramelised onions. And to think I despised onions as a kid. Now I chuck them in almost everything. Including a very delicious dhal I’ve just had a large bowl of. Phew, that’ll have to settle before my large bowl of chocolate pud!

  6. There’s that chocolate pudding again! Hahaha. You must have a limitless supply

    I totally agree with you about tahini. Hate the stuff. I never put it into houmous (which I LOVE btw). I sometimes use a little peanut butter instead, or nothing, just chickpeas, oil, lemon and seasonings. Sesame oil is a GORGEOUS replacement for olive oil too and would be a bit like your sesame seeds (but without the clumping).

    I love your caramelised onion addition – spectacular idea. I can’t wait to try it :)

    • I know. Some might suggest I’m obsessed with chocolate pudding! Hmm…
      So glad this post is bringing out the tahini dislikers. More importantly, I’m loving your idea of using sesame seed oil. Was just looking for it a couple of days ago as there are lots of Chinese New Year inspired products in one of my local stores. I’m sure you can guess which one! Anyway, they didn’t have it in stock. Will check today. As I particularly like the idea of topping the hummus with it. Like they do in the Middle East – not that I’ve been. You know, with olive oil and paprika.
      Oh, and I don’t agree – chocolate pudding doesn’t trump plums and crumble. Okay, on a par with. As both plums and crumble are two of my favourites.

  7. It looks and sounds absolutely delicious. I totally hear you on the gloomy days and no light, it’s been a difficult winter in Montreal, and I’m barely getting any sunlight for my photos! I miss summer. :)

    • It sounds just hellish over in N America, re weather. Here, it’s cold and damp – that’s to be expected. Canoeing to the local stores ain’t something I was expecting to do! Seriously, I’ve never known it to rain this much – ever. Shouldn’t joke, and I’m not as parts of the UK are flooded right now.
      Yes, this hummus is very delicious. I can’t take the credit for the idea of combining caramelised onions as the supermarkets got there well and truly before me. :)

      • Bad weather all around, it seems. You’re right though, lots of people lost power in my area and we are okay. So, I shouldn’t complain.
        Well, your hummus looks amazing and I’m definitely going to try it out!

        • Forgot to mention within post that this is usually sold with oven roasted garlic and caramelised onions. Really nice combination. And so healthy with the roasted garlic. I just couldn’t be bothered to have the oven on to roast enough garlic for two portions!

  8. About time I tried making hummus from scratch… right after I finish the rather large container that I bought today! Wish I’d seen your post a little earlier in the day. Love the idea of stirring the caramelised onion through at the end – must be delicious!

    • Which reminds me! I completely forgot to write about that within post. I think it was mentioned within the original. Must have a look. As here most hummus is made with around 30 – 40% oil! Which is why I very seldom buy the stuff. And it was buying it recently that prompted me to try out using dry roasted sesame seeds instead of tahini. And so glad that I have done. As now there’s no excuse in not making home-made. Regardless of the rustic look! One of these days I’ll find a processor I can actually afford!

  9. Hummus is one of my all-time favourite things. I make it at least once per week but I’ve never tried it with caramelized onion. Sounds delicious. Definitely going to give this recipe a try over the weekend. Never made a mashed hummus either, what a great idea… rusticity is definitely a plus when it comes to foodies! Hope that this year is starting well for you Johnny!

    • It used to be one of mine. Then, it was simply a case of adding lots of citrus, including some lime. That’s when I used to have a manual grinder thing – can’t remember it’s name – that used to process the chickpeas to a purée instead of a lumpy pulp!
      Yes, so far this month is racing by – scarily fast. And well done you in gaining eighth place in the hottest Perth blogs! Did I get that right? Hoping so. As you definitely deserve it!

  10. Oh I love your version! I’m going to try the toasted sesame seeds to use with it, because I have to totally agree re: tahini – jars too large, small ones too expensive, will never ever used it up…

    • Small jars of tahini?! I’ve never seen them. And it’s quite difficult to find tahini over here as a lot of stores don’t stock it. Was disappointed at the International store as they only sell one type – in a huge jar! Like ghee. Hmm, okay. I could make my own ghee, I suppose. It’s just that much easier to add a knob of butter.
      Hope you like this version. :) And must try adding a squeeze of lime to the salad. As I’ve lots of them to use up.

  11. I adore hummus (and tahini), but love the idea of grinding my own sesame seeds too! And with caramelized onions and lemon juice, your hummus sounds truly delicious!

    • It is surprisingly delicious. Even the shop-bought is good – regardless of how much oil they use. Now I’ve no excuse but to actually make my own. Especially as it is so nutritional. And it just makes sense to use all of those wonderful wintry citrus fruits right now.

  12. This looks amazing, I haven’t had hummus in too long. I’m going to have to find some pita bread and try this!

  13. Johnny, I have been wondering if I could just use sesame seeds, as tahini is hard to find (and often sold in HUGE jars, as you point out). This is such a smart, delicious recipe. Also, I think the photo and lighting are very pretty – you have a talent with the photo and the spoon! :-) Best, Shanna

    • The photo and the spoon! Loving that. Could use that for a blog title! Actually, talking of which, I’ve got to change the name of this one. Still haven’t decided. Anyway, I was wondering exactly that – would this work with just sesame seeds. For me it does. What I forgot to mention within summary is that this product is usually sold with oven roasted garlic as well. Which would be a really nice addition. And the spoon, btw, is to help keep the pitta bread in shape. Well, that and to allow the steam to escape. If it’s kept flat it runs the risk of cracking when stuffed and eaten.

  14. This sounds incredible – I love hummus & its a sin that I’ve never made it. What better place to start than this recipe! How subtle was the garlic flavour? I’m quite a garlic fan one normally end up doubling or trebling whatever is suggested. Would you say 1 clove is just right?

    • I’ve just updated the post to include organic garlic. Completely forgot to add that, so thanks for reminding me. Organic garlic is quite often far stronger/pungent in flavour, which is why I only use one clove. And that’s cooked! I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to anything raw, like onion/garlic. Less for my palate is definitely more. The other thing I forgot to mention within summary is that this is usually sold with oven roasted garlic as well. That might be a better choice for you. As I love the flavour of roasted garlic. And would definitely sit with the other flavours far better than using lots of raw/nearly raw.

      • Thanks for the tip! I see what you mean, I sometimes get my hand on allotment fodder and I agree; the wild garlic or organic does have a stronger taste. One cooked clove does sound like a safer bet, the raw might be a bit bitter. I look forward to making this!

  15. I have never thought of grinding my own sesame seeds instead of using tahini! What a fabulous idea. It took me a long time to find a tahini that was good quality and not too expensive…but now you’ve got me wondering whether I should grind them instead. So much hummus is produced and eaten in my household that I’d have to buy sesame seeds in bulk though!! Also, I recently discovered shelling your chickpeas makes for a much smoother end result – it’s whether or not you have the patience to do so!

    • When I checked online about making takini I was horrified at the procedures. It’s hardly surprising it’s so expensive as the husks have to be removed. The skins from actual chickpeas is bad enough. Can you imagine removing the husks from something that small? Of course, it’s not done by hand. Anyway, yes! I’ve read the same. And I did stand in my then kitchen in London and managed to shell about half of a can – before I climbed the walls. There’s no chance in hell that I’m ever bothering to do that again! :)

  16. Weighing in late, as always. Very amused by all the tahini-hate. I don’t know whether I like it or not because I’ve never tasted it in isolation, but I won’t buy it either because I’d never go through it. I use a small amount of all-natural peanut butter instead. I love this idea of caramelized onion hummus and also the tip left above about using sesame oil. Looking forward to making a batch of this on the weekend. Thanks Johnny.

    • Hah! Yes, I was quite impressed by the tahini-haters making their mark. I’m not a hater of the stuff. And usually have a jar – lingering – in my fridge. But I just can’t get over its bitterness. And as I love sesame seeds it makes far more sense to go this route. And, totally agree with you, what a nice touch with a drizzle of sesame oil over this. Rather than the more typical way of serving this with olive oil and paprika. Must update post! Oh, and forgot to mention that this is normally sold with roasted garlic as well. Very good combo. I didn’t want to use the oven for a couple of cloves. Although I could pan-fry them until nicely soft.

  17. Yes, roasted garlic and kalamata olives too! No? I really enjoy them in my hummus, chopped very finely, of course. I love hummus.

    • Have to admit, the hummus sold here with caramelised onions and roasted garlic is really good. Unfortunately, they contain a lot of oil. Which never sits well with my system. And until I buy a mini oven – for one – I’ll probably end up just pan-frying whole garlic cloves and mashing those instead. Not quite as good. As for the olives, that type of hummus is sold here as well. Haven’t tried it as yet as I quite often chuck in some black olives into the salad mix to go with the pitta. I’ve always got to think of storing food overnight. And with hummus it can and will discolour. Even with freshly ground black pepper, several years ago, it turned sort of green the next day! Which is why I only use salt when making it. :)

  18. I also go for the rustic look when making hummus! Adding caramelised onion sounds great.

  19. You had me at caramelized onion! And I really don’t know what you mean about your noisy photo. I’ve actually pinned that photo. Will have to try this hummus…sounds fabulous!

    • Thanks for the pin. I still don’t quite know what all the fuss is about re Pinterest. Really should try and use it more often. Especially as it does load quite well on my laptop these days. Never did before. And yes, this version is fabulous. If only I’d thought of the combination! It’s so good.

      • You should get into Pinterest. It brings people over to your blog. People other than within our own circle of bloggers, who might not know of your fabulous blog!

        • I’ve been on Pinterest for well over a year now. Apart from pinning my own stuff I find it really cold. As in no interaction. And besides the occasional pin that I find inspiring I never seem to use it. Even though I’d like to. Yes, it brings traffic to my blog on a daily basis. Which I’m pleased with. But getting to grips with how to use it effectively, and enjoyably, has alluded me! If you have any suggestions I’ll happily read and follow your advice. :)

  20. There is a Greek recipe that could take care of that left of Tahini – its called Tahinopitta/Tahini cake and is made by the Greeks usually before Easter. Maybe worth a look up on google as it isn’t too sweet.

    • I’ll definitely Google that cake. Actually, I don’t really know a lot about Greek food. And it’s years since I’ve been there. But I’m toying with the idea of researching particular recipes, starting off in Spain and making my way along the Med! Well, I can’t afford to travel so I might as stay put and eat my way around. :)

      • All you need to travel is an imagination! Get a DVD from your chosen country from the library or watch something on Youtube, make a traditional recipe, what more can you ask? and you get to sleep in your own bed with no fear of mosquitos or being ripped off for parking the car at the airport!!

        • And memories. I did a trip along most of the Med five years ago. And only recently thought of researching recipes peculiar to each city/region. Even then wi-fi was far and few between, especially in Western European countries – go figure! In Eastern countries it wasn’t nearly so much of a problem. Because of lack of net access it was very difficult to plan ahead. And that included researching and finding local specialities. I do have some names of particular dishes I did manage to find. Now, I happen to like the idea of working on a theme. Only once or twice a month.

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