Chosen Eats: Super-Smooth Hummus with Lemon and Mint

I’ve been making my own hummus since college, and over the years I’ve developed an easy go-to recipe. But to keep things interesting, I like to make slight modifications. I’ll add extra-large doses of tahini for sesame richness, whisk in the olive oil by hand for a looser consistency, or roast garlic cloves and smash them into a paste for a hit of spice and caramelized sweetness. And although I’ll try just about any modification once, there’s one technique I’ve always avoided: peeling the garbanzo beans.

Plenty of blogs and chefs tout this trick, saying that your hard work will be rewarded with the smoothest hummus you’ve ever eaten. Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen is a staunch believer, as are many of my test-cook coworkers. But for many people (myself included), seeing the instruction “one can of garbanzo beans, peeled” is enough reason to discard that recipe and seek out another. After all, there’s nothing wrong with a rustic, rough-textured spread.

But the truth is, I prefer a smooth hummus. And I’ll peel hazelnuts, whose stubborn skins get under my nails and yet refuse to leave the nut. How much more tedious can peeling a chickpea be? As it turns out, it’s much easier. The skins pop right off the beans. When I mixed up a batch of hummus, it was delightfully smooth and rich—just like I wanted. And since putting that extra effort into the beans added the extra richness and body that tahini provides, I wondered if I could skip that expensive ingredient altogether. After I added a generous amount of lemon and herbs, I realized that I didn’t miss the tahini at all. And since peeling the garbanzo beans adds only a few minutes to the prep time, this is a technique I wish I hadn’t waited so long to try.

Super-Smooth Hummus with Lemon and Mint

Makes about 1½ cups

1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, peeled
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 small cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste

Transfer all ingredients to bowl of food processor. Run until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Season with pepper to taste. Drizzle with extra olive oil, if desired, then serve.