This hummus with spiced meat and pine nuts, also known as hummus bil lahme, takes classic hummus dip and elevates it into a delicious and complete meal. One of hummus's strong suits is that it is great for vegans and vegetarians. But if you eat beef or lamb, then you need to run to your kitchen and make this recipe asap. It's easy, packed with protein, and so filling!
"Hummus" in Arabic translates to "chickpeas", and "hummus bi thini" translates to "chickpeas with tahini", which is the popular Middle Eastern dip that is commonly known as hummus. This creamy and delicious dip is a staple in Lebanese cuisine and a Sunday barbecue is incomplete without it.
What many people outside of the Middle East don't know is that hummus is also a very popular breakfast and brunch food for us. But my favorite variation of hummus for brunch is this hummus with spiced meat and toasted pine nuts served with warm and fluffy pita bread. In Arabic we call it "hummus bil lahme", which translates to "hummus with meat". It is to die for and I really hope you give it a try!
This hummus with spiced meat recipe is part three of my "Chickpeas Recipe Series". If you haven't checked out my guide on how to cook chickpeas, check it out because you will have plenty of opportunities to use them up in my recipes!
- Cooked chickpeas: For the best consistency and flavor, use dried chickpeas and cook them yourself. Check out my guide on how to cook chickpeas. If you want to use canned chickpeas, you'll have to boil them longer to make them softer.
- Aquafaba: Also known as chickpea broth, this is the liquid that the chickpeas cooked in. It is used to thin out the hummus. Although not as flavorful, you can use water if you forgot to save the aquafaba.
- Fresh garlic: A little goes a long way, but make sure to use fresh garlic and not the pre-minced kind.
- Ice cubes: This helps to make a creamy and fluffy consistency.
- Tahini: This sesame paste adds a delicious nutty flavor and creaminess to hummus.
- Fresh lemon juice: Use fresh lemons if possible instead of bottled lemon juice.
- Ghee: This is used to cook the meat and the pine nuts. Clarified butter is another great option.
- Pine nuts: I know - pine nuts are so darn expensive! But they are delightfully delicious and so worth it. But if they are inaccessible, use slivered almonds.
- Lamb or beef: A lot of Lebanese recipes, including this one, call for lamb. In my opinion, it's the perfect combo. But if you don't like lamb, beef is a delicious substitute. Make sure to pick a tender cut of meat such as leg of lamb, sirloin, strip, or ribeye. For best results, cut the meat into small cubes or strips. You could use ground meat but it's not my preference.
- Seasoning: Ground cumin and salt are used to enhance the flavor of authentic hummus. Lebanese seven spice, black pepper, and salt are used to make the spiced meat topping.
- Olive oil: This is only used to drizzle on top of the hummus, not blended in it. Use a high quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowls
- Blendtec Total Classic Original Blender
- Cuisinart Food Processor
- Ninja Compact Personal Blender
- GIR Silicone Spatula
- Zwilling Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan
Step by Step Instructions
The key to making authentic homemade hummus is to overcook the chickpeas, whether you are cooking them from scratch or using canned chickpeas. You can cook dried chickpeas using this guide before starting this recipe.
If using canned chickpeas, place the chickpeas with their liquid in a small pot and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the chickpeas are very soft and easy to mash between your fingers into a creamy consistency.
For extra creamy hummus, there is one additional step you could take before blending everything together. It may seem tedious but trust me, it is not!
Drain the chickpeas (but save the aquafaba!) and place them in a large bowl. Fill the bowl about two thirds of the way up with water. Submerge your hands and agitate the chickpeas under the water - this loosens the skins and they will literally shed off the chickpeas.
The skins will float to the top and you can easily skim them off and discard them. Don't obsess over removing the skins of every single chickpea. Even if you got a quarter of them off, it makes a huge difference in the creaminess of the hummus.
If you don't want to go through this extra step, I don't blame you! Another great way to achieve a very creamy hummus without skinning any of the chickpeas is to blend the chickpeas while they are still hot. I've done this many times before with excellent results as well. So you choose what you want to do!
Place the drained chickpeas, aquafaba, garlic, and ice cubes in a high speed blender and blend until everything is creamy and combined. If you don't have a high speed blender, you could use a food processor, though it will result in a less creamy hummus.
You may need to stop blending and scrape the sides of the blender to make sure everything is incorporated. The mixture will look yellowish once blended.
Next, add in the fresh lemon juice, ground cumin, and salt. Blend it on high power until the hummus becomes a pale ivory color with a very creamy consistency.
The consistency of freshly blended hummus will be runnier than you expect, especially if you blended hot chickpeas. For thicker hummus, transfer it to an airtight container and into the fridge for a couple hours before proceeding with the recipe.
Spoon the hummus into a shallow bowl and spread it out. Set it aside while you prepare the meat topping.
Place a fry pan or skillet over medium heat and add the ghee and pine nuts. Stir the pine nuts around until they turn golden on all sides. Be careful, they can burn very quickly so don't leave them unattended. It should take about 6 minutes.
The pine nuts will continue darkening once off the heat, so don't let them get too dark in the pan. Remove the pine nuts and set them aside, leaving the browned ghee in the pan.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chopped lamb or beef into the same pan and add in the Lebanese seven spice, black pepper, and salt. Stir everything together to coat with the seasoning and ghee and let the meat cooked without stirring it constantly.
Let the meat brown on one side before stirring it to brown the other sides. Once the meat is nicely browned, reduce the heat to low and add the pine nuts back in. Stir everything together and give it a taste to see if you need to adjust the seasoning to your taste.
While the meat and pine nuts mixture is still hot, pour it over the top of the hummus platter. It will sizzle and give off the best aroma.
Garnish the hummus and meat with more cumin, aleppo pepper, cooked chickpeas, and fresh parsley for a pop of color. Serve immediately with warm pita bread and enjoy this luxurious hummus with spiced meat.
Substitutions and Variations
This hummus with meat recipe is naturally gluten-free. If you have dietary restrictions, below are some possible options for you.
- Vegan: I haven't tested it, but you can use a plant-based meat substitute for the topping. A natural, vegetarian alternative would be this walnut and mushroom meat by Sweet Simple Vegan blog.
- Ghee: For a dairy-free substitute, use extra virgin olive oil.
- Pine nuts: Slivered almonds and cashews are great substitutes. You could even mix two or more for different flavors.
- Beans: If you are unable to consume chickpeas, you can experiment with any type of white bean that cooks into a creamy consistency, such as cannellini beans.
- Tahini: In a pinch, try using a smaller amount of a nut or seed butter such as cashew butter or sunflower seed butter, and a little bit of sesame oil.
- Garlic: Traditionally, we don't like our hummus to be overwhelmingly garlicky or sharp. However, if that's how you like it, feel free to add more to taste.
- Cumin: If you don't like the flavor of cumin, simply omit it. This will not impact the authenticity of the hummus, as some people in Lebanon don't make it with cumin.
Tips to make the best hummus with spiced meat and pine nuts
- Make the best, creamiest hummus as a base. Check out my recipe for authentic homemade hummus for all the details!
- Brown the meat. Give the meat a chance to turn a deep brown color and don't keep stirring it. If you keep moving it around, it will end up with the color and flavor of boiled meat.
- Toast the pine nuts. Nuts in general taste best when they are toasted until just before they start burning. So don't be afraid to give them a deep golden color, that's where all the flavor is!
- Don't skimp on the ghee. Nobody said this is diet food. The ghee makes it oh so special and delicious, you don't want to miss out on it.
Frequently Asked Questions
My favorite brands of tahini are Al Kanater as well as Mid East. Both are made with 100% sesame seeds and do not contain any preservatives or additives. They are deliciously creamy, nutty, and not bitter.
I recommend you make the hummus ahead of time and store it separately in the refrigerator. The meat topping can be made immediately before serving since it is not very time consuming. But if you are trying to prep everything in advance, cook the meat and pine nuts mixture and store in a separate container in the fridge up to 5 days. You will need to reheat the meat and pine nuts immediately before topping the hummus.
Store the hummus separately in an airtight container in the fridge up to one week. If you make a big batch, you can actually store the hummus in the freezer for up to 4 months. Simply transfer it to the fridge to thaw the day before you plan on using it. The meat topping should be stored in the fridge separately so you can reheat it without heating up the hummus. It can also be frozen in an airtight container up to 3 months.
My favorite recipes to pair with this hummus with spiced meat and pine nuts
Hummus with Spiced Meat and Pine Nuts
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 8 ounces leg of lamb, cut into half inch cubes or strips (may sub with sirloin or ribeye)
- ½ teaspoon Lebanese seven spice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Ground cumin
- Aleppo pepper
- Cooked chickpeas
- Fresh chopped parsley
- Place the cooked chickpeas, aquafaba, garlic, and ice cubes in a high speed blender or food processor, and blend on high power until everything is combined and creamy.
- Scrape the sides and add the tahini, fresh lemon juice, kosher salt, and ground cumin. Blend again on high power until the mixture becomes a pale ivory color and very creamy.
- Spoon the hummus into a shallow bowl, spread it out with the back of a spoon, and place in the fridge while you make the meat topping if you want the hummus to firm up.
- Place a fry pan or skillet over medium heat and add the ghee and pine nuts. Stir continuously until the pine nuts turn golden brown. Remove the pine nuts and set aside.
- Turn the heat to medium high then add the cubed meat, Lebanese seven spice, salt, and black pepper to the same fry pan with the remaining ghee. Toss together and let it cook, undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes until it browns on one side.
- Stir the meat and continue cooking until the juices evaporate and the lamb is browned on all sides. Reduce the heat to low and add the toasted pine nuts back in and toss together for a minute.
- Transfer the sizzling hot lamb and pine nuts on top of the hummus. Garnish with cumin, aleppo pepper, cooked chickpeas, and fresh parsley if desired. You may also add extra virgin olive oil on top. Serve immediately with warm pita bread.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary.