The Jew And The Carrot

Taking Hummus South of the Border

By Hannah Rubin

  • Print
  • Share Share
Hannah Rubin

All this week on the Jew and the Carrot, we’ll be taking a close look at the world of hummus. Check out our first post here.

After tasting six classic hummuses, we turned our sights to its next of kin: spicy hummus. Home cooks have been spicing their hummus for generations — adding a little bit of paprika here, or a dash of cumin there, to add a nice kick to their meal or snack.

Hummus companies have taken the work out of spicy hummus and started blending in a variety of spices into their classic recipes. We tasted six different varieties of packaged spicy hummus, to find the best option on the shelf. During our tastings, we tried a few varieties of Jalapeno flavored (which we were surprised to find is a commonly sold hummus), some that were merely labeled “spicy,” and one that tempted us with “40 spices.”

What did we discover? Each spicy hummus somehow tasted different than the last. Even more surprising was how many of them didn’t taste spicy at all.

Hannah Rubin

Another pattern we spotted during this taste test was the tendency for “spicy” to really mean “tastes like curry.” Most of these hummuses tasted like something that would be found chilling next to a mango lassi and plate of aloo gobi. Not really baba ghanoush friendly, if you know what we mean.

There were two that stood out— with nuanced tangy spices that sat deliciously alongside the rich tahini flavor, melting on our tongues in a delicious symphony. Yet, our final verdict remains: maybe you’re better off spicing hummus on your own.

(To learn more about our scoring, read this.)

1st Place: Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus
Score: 3.6

Described as hot, spicy, hummus-y, and good, by our testers — this hummus is worth trying. The nuanced spicy flavor sits perfectly alongside the rich and sweet tahini — making this hummus an easy first choice

2nd Place: Trader Joe’s Spicy Hummus
Score: 2.54

This hummus was an intriguing combination of rich Indian spices and garlicky goodness. One taster likened it to the hummus from his favorite New York hummus shop, quipping that it tasted like a “poor man’s Hummus Place” (for our review on New York City hummuses, including Hummus Place, check back tomorrow). Beware though: this has a heavy cilantro undertone, so if your tongue finds that Chinese parsley overwhelming, you should stay away. Overall though, very well-liked.

3rd Place: Sabra Jalapeno Hummus
Score: 2.29

If you asked our Israeli tester, he would say that jalapeno doesn’t belong in hummus. Ever. The rest of us sort of agree. Similar to the other Jalapeno flavor that we tried (listed below), this hummus has a soft lemony taste. The spiciness remains completely dormant until the after taste, and then, boy does it sit in your mouth for a while.

4th Place: Abraham’s Hot and Spicy Hummos
Score: 2.2

“Tastes unexpectedly Indian….Not sure what I would do with this if it was in my fridge,” pondered one taster. Another agreed that, while it was “nice as a novelty,” it was “a little odd.” In classic Abraham’s fashion, this hummus is rough and chunky, with fresh-tasting spices blended into each bite. Unfortunately, those spices are a little confusing, and taste more like those that belong in a curry sauce than a hummus dip.

5th Place: Whole Foods Jalapeno Hummus Score: 1.9 This hummus was more lemony than it was spicy, and, for that reason, didn’t bode particularly well with anyone. Though it had that good creamy Whole Foods texture, the taste left a lot to be desired. “Good texture,” commended one tester, “but not spicy. At all.”

6th Place: Tribe Forty Spices Hummus
Score: 1.6

As we tasted this hummus, we wondered which 40 spices could possibly have been blended in to this hummus, considering it didn’t really taste like much. Slightly sour, with a confusing Indian tang, this hummus may not even deserve to be called hummus.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Trader Joe's Hummus, Spicy Hummus, Sabra Hummus, Hummus Week, Hummus, Abraham's Hummus

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.