This simple, spicy garlic hummus packs the heat in under 5 minutes

Watching what you eat? This hummus could be your new favorite snack

By D. Watkins

Editor at Large

Published October 2, 2023 12:00PM (EDT)

Hummus and carrot sticks (Getty Images/carlosgaw)
Hummus and carrot sticks (Getty Images/carlosgaw)

I have a spicy garlic hummus recipe that may make your breath smell like dumpster, but it's healthy and you can proudly munch on as much as you want without feeling bad at all. 

I love hummus, which is funny because the first time I was presented with the dish, I couldn't have been more grossed out. A creamy whipped hummus looks beautiful now, but the back in the day when I was an inexperienced teenager, I said some wildly disrespectful like "Who eats this, and more importantly why?"

A group of my friends and I met up and Turkish restaurant on Charles Street, in what would be considered midtown Baltimore, called Cazbar, which is still one of my spots. I have traveled all around the world and I still have not had lamb chops or a chicken kabobs that could rival Cazbar (and no, this is not a paid advertisement, I don't even know the staff). Their Baltimore location closed over the pandemic. However, they have the bigger, more beautiful location in Columbia, a county that is about 15 minutes outside of the city. 

Cazbar serves hummus with the warmest, most buttery, perfect pieces of pita bread that anyone has ever had. I went from the guy who proudly rejected the dish the guy who could knock back three orders of hummus and all of the pita that came with it on top of my lamb and check in and wash it all down with Lion's Milk.

But I'm at a place health-wise where can't load up on pita, so I was looking for new ways to eat hummus without feeling too guilty, which is how I came to make this recipe. And while I think my recipe is delicious, I want to be very clear in saying it is not as good as Cazbar — and it shouldn't be, and that's OK. 

Cazbar's hummus offered a salty-tangy flavor that went perfect with the soft pita. While I love salty, I don't add salt to my recipe, because high blood pressure is real. The beauty of the hummus dish I prepare, is that don't have to wait for pita to bake, it's salt free and my whole process takes under five minutes (once your chickpeas are cooked). Full transparency: I keep a bowl of cooked chickpeas in the house, because I eat them on salads and as their own dish. I normally cook them and boiling water, with a teaspoon of baking soda, for about 20 minutes. 

5-minute spicy hummus
4-6 servings
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time


  •  1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda 
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (from 1 ½ to 2 lemons), more to taste
  • Chopped garlic clove, to taste
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of curry powder 
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons ice water, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½  Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil



  1. Blend the chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini and ice water in your food processor. Remove when it's creamy and place it into a mixing bowl. 
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. 
  3. Serve with sliced cucumbers 

By D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a writer on the HBO limited series "We Own This City" and a professor at the University of Baltimore. Watkins is the author of the award-winning, New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America”, "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir," "Where Tomorrows Aren't Promised: A Memoir of Survival and Hope" as well as "We Speak For Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress." His new books, "Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments," and "The Wire: A Complete Visual History" are out now.

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Hummus Recipe Snack Spice