This recipe comes from the David Rosengarten cookbook, It’s All American Food. We’re big fans of this book, and it seems strangely underrated (I bought my copy in the clearance area of a bookstore), despite winning a James Beard Foundation Award. The basic premise of the book is to be an overview of the most popular and loved of American dishes, grouping them by the original ethnicity, but including the tweaks that make it the “American” version. You can find nearly any dish in here, from Coq Au Vin to Chicago Hot Dogs and every one we’ve tried so far, we’ve enjoyed greatly.


Although hummus has become far more familiar to Americans lately, this version has a very fresh flavor and a fluffiness through the surprising addition of a little seltzer water whipped in at the very end.


  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved, and 1 1/2 tsp. garlic, mashed to a paste
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 8 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2-3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1-3 tbsp. club soda


  1. Drain the soaked chickpeas and place in a stockpot with the 8 cups water, the onion, the thyme, the 4 garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat to a boil on high, and then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, cooking the chickpeas until they are tender, approximately 1-3 hours. If necessary, add water to the pot to keep the water level just above the top of the chickpeas. Once the chickpeas are tender, add the salt, stir, and continue to simmer uncovered until the water is nearly evaporated. Sir frequently to avoid burning the chickpeas.
  2. Using a food mill or potato ricer, press the chickpeas into a paste, removing the skins and the thyme stems. Place the mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel chopping blade. Add the tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the garlic paste, and 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Process until very smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Refrigerate the mixture with the bowl of the food processor until cool, 20-30 minutes.
  3. Taste the mixture and adjust lemon juice and salt. Continue processing, adding small amounts of seltzer until the mixture is light and fluffy. It should be very smooth, but not runny. Serve with pita chips and cherry tomatoes.


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