Hummus’ popularity, which really hit its stride a few years ago when it earned its own refrigerated container in supermarkets like Dominick’s, may stem from the fact that it’s easy to make, on top of already being healthy. It may not be the prettiest spread around, but it sure is the most popular. It plays well with other ingredients and, if made properly, is closer to the healthy end of the spectrum than say, a mixed cream cheese. So get that strawberry whip out of here. Hummus has arrived.

This Lentil Hummus, adapted from the Green Lentil Spread in this month’s Bon Appetit, is Hummus 2.0. Not recommended for the hummus newbie, but definitely a spread worth aspiring to. Lentils, olive oil, garlic, and acid, pureed with some additions. It involves some cooking, which regular hummus really doesn’t; but then again, it’s Hummus 2.0. Hummus is the kind of thing that begs to be made at home because it is truly easy. It requires one step—blend. After that, it’s a spread open to improvisation. Throw in whatever crazy flavor that comes to mind and you’ve got a new hummus.

Basic Hummus 

Level: Easy

Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

Servings: 6-8

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained, though reserve about ¼ cup of the liquid
2-4 garlic cloves, depending on your garlic preference
¼ cup tahini, toasted or not (sesame paste)
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil, plus more if desired
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine the first four ingredients in a blender and puree. Add the olive oil and puree.
2. If you want a looser hummus, add the reserved canning liquid. Add more olive oil, if a looser consistency is still desired.
3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Dip as you like.

Lentil Hummus

Level: Advanced

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 8-10

Note: The key to surviving a college kitchen is adaptation. Yes, adaptation to messy roommates and unwashed dishes for weeks, but also adaptation of recipes. It’s simply impossible to keep a fully stocked pantry for each and every recipe that pops up, so knowing how to adapt a recipe to fit the ingredients on hand is a great skill. Take this hummus for example, instead of lemon juice, I substituted another acid, vinegar. I had a few fresh herbs, but not all that were asked for, so I substituted dried herbs– 1/2 a teaspoon dried herbs for each 1/4 cup of fresh herbs– tailoring the quantities. As for garlic, I have a lot of peeled garlic cloves, so I had to adjust for the roasted garlic head called for. Adaptation is easy, as long as you understand what role each ingredient has.

1 tablespoon, plus ½ cup good olive oil
½ cup roughly chopped yellow onion, (about half an onion)
¼ cup roughly chopped celery, (about 2 large ribs)
¼ cup roughly chopped carrot, peeled, (about 1 large carrot)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup chopped curly parsley, washed and dried
Salt and freshly crack black pepper, to taste

1 cup green French lentils, washed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme and parsley and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Add the white wine and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the washed lentil and sauté for an addition 5 minutes.
3. Add the chicken broth and garlic and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Add additional broth or water if needed to fully cook the lentils.
4. Let the mixture cool slightly before pureeing in a blender. Add the vinegar, remaining ½ cup olive oil, and Dijon and puree until just combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating in a covered container. The spread will thicken as it cools, and tastes best cooled, when all flavors have married. Lentil spread goes great on sandwiches, as a dip, or warmed and served over rice with a bit of Greek yogurt.