Just Hummus founder Colin Daly harbors a feverish passion for chickpeas.
“I can talk about hummus for hours,” says the 27-year-old Jamaica Plain resident.
He’s always enjoyed the snack, but his true love was ignited while he taught at a Bedouin school in Israel in 2017 and 2018. Weekends were spent visiting hummus shops.
“I didn’t realize that, in Israel, they ate hummus as a meal. I’d found my people! It was really nice. People in the U.S. were like, ‘Wow, you eat way too much hummus!’ But this is the amount you should be eating. I was thrilled about it. I made some Israeli friends. We traveled around and would go to the best hummus shop in every city. This is how I determined whether I’d had a good weekend or not. I started asking people in shops how to make it, so I could make it for myself,” he recalls.
Once back in the States, he began work as a JCC swimming instructor. In his off hours, he began experimenting with hummus: soaking times, types of chickpeas, refrigeration time (“the flavors come out overnight,” he says), various ingredients, such as beet or dill. Sometimes he’d give his creations to swimming students as a healthy snack.
“It was a long learning curve,” he admits, noting that using too much tahini can make the consistency far too thick.
He began by making 10-pound batches using chickpeas from Star Market. As he refined his technique, he switched to ingredients from Restaurant Depot and Shirazi Distributing in Boston’s Newmarket Square (and, OK, sometimes he visits Whole Foods for lemons and garlic). He favors a mix of Canadian and Bulgarian chickpeas and Al Kanater tahini, and he sources spices from Norwood’s Cedar’s Market, such as fresh turmeric and ginger.
Now, Daly cooks out of a kitchen at Brighton’s Presentation School Foundation Community Center. He sells his wares in eight-ounce containers at farmers markets in Oak Square, Jamaica Plain and Belmont. Soon he hopes to branch into restaurants, such as City Feed in Jamaica Plain and Wicked Bagel in Lexington.
“I just think it’s great. I go to sleep and dream about it every night,” Daly says, not totally joking, noting that he dips his French fries in it instead of ketchup.
Visit his website for a full rundown of preservative-free flavors, such as “melt your face off spicy,” made with ghost peppers (and note: zesty black bean and dill are big sellers).
“You can do anything you want, flavor-wise: spicy, sweet, gingery. It goes well with everything. It’s a condiment as well as a meal. You can use it as a dip, a spread, or eat it by the spoonful. I can’t think of another food you can do that with,” he says.