Roasted Lemon, Goat Cheese, and Za'atar Hummus

Looking for a different and exciting spin on hummus? Look no further; Roasted Lemon, Goat Cheese, and Za'atar Hummus is here! Super unique and flavorful, this would be such a fun dip for your next gathering.


Inspired by our recent travels in southern Spain, this hummus has quickly become a favorite in our house. It makes use of some flavors that are big in southern Spain and Morocco, instantly transporting you to spice markets in narrow, cobblestone streets.

One of the stars here is roasted lemon. Slicing the lemon thinly and roasting it in olive oil gives the hummus such a complex, roasty tang. I've complemented that with goat cheese, which is far from a traditional hummus ingredient, but I think it really pays homage to the fact that goat and sheep dairy are so important there. Plus it makes the hummus especially creamy! (Although, if you don't do dairy, using a couple spoonfuls of tahini instead would work fine).


The other star here is za'atar. Za'atar is a middle-eastern spice blend. Although its composition can vary, it usually contains herbs and sesame seeds, making it at once herby and nutty. I brought a bunch of za'atar back from southern Spain and have been putting it on practically everything.

Throw in some roasted garlic, pistachios, and sumac and you have yourself an ode to flavors of the southwestern Mediterranean.


You'll see that I don't use any tahini in this recipe (again, certainly not traditional!) because I really wanted the lemon, goat cheese, and za'atar to shine. I love tahini, but it can sometimes be a bit overpowering. If you're wed to it, by all means add some. But I enjoy the fresher, more tangy flavor this hummus has without it.


I've always liked hummus, but have recently become enamored with it because of all the fun I've had garnishing it. Check out how pretty this is! You can have so much fun swirling, drizzling, and sprinkling.


A big, nicely garnished bowl of hummus is perfect for a get-together; it looks so impressive, but is really quite quick, and can be made ahead of time. So serve this up as an appetizer alongside veggies and pita at your next get-together and relax with some red wine, southern Spain style.

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Looking for more party dips? Check out this Guacamole Flight! Then go get yourself aaaaall the tortilla chips and pita chips.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • 4 tbsp good, robust olive oil
  • Lemon, thinly sliced into rounds, with seeds removed
  • A couple gloves of garlic, each in a couple slices
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Two 15-oz cans of chick peas
  • 2-3 oz unflavored goat cheese. Vermont pride! I usually get goat cheese from Blue Ledge Farm or Vermont Creamery, the latter of which is available widely out of state.
  • Juice of another lemon
  • A few tsp za'atar. This is a middle-eastern spice blend. Most artisan grocery stores will have it either with the spices or with the international food. It's lovely, I promise you'll use it for much more than just this hummus! But if you can't find it, I'd use some dried thyme leaves and sesame seeds in its place and increase the amount of cumin.
  • A couple tsp cumin
  • Generous salt and pepper
Garnishes
  • Half of the roasted lemon slices
  • A couple slices of roasted garlic
  • Another 1-2 oz goat cheese
  • Big drizzle of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of za'atar
  • Sprinkle of sumac. This is another middle-eastern spice I've recently fallen in love with. It's really beautiful (deep red!) and has a lovely bright, acidic flavor.
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Small handful of pistachios 

Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Add the olive oil to a baking dish, then add the thinly sliced lemon and garlic. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Roast at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the lemon has just barely started to brown. Allow the oil to cool, and set aside half of the lemon slices and a couple pieces of garlic to act as garnishes.
  2. To a food processor, combine all the hummus ingredients (the flavored oil, roasted lemon and garlic, chick peas, goat cheese, lemon juice, and spices). Process for several minutes until a smooth, creamy consistency develops, scraping down the sides as needed. If you have trouble getting a smooth hummus, add a little splash of water.
  3. Taste it! If you think the hummus needs more brightness, add more lemon juice and/or salt. If you think it needs more zing, add more za'atar and/or cumin and/or black pepper. Adjust and continue processing as you see fit.
  4. Put your hummus into a serving bowl, smoothing out the top to get an even surface. Then make a swirl pattern; I find this is easiest if I hold a rubber spatula in place and rotate the bowl around it.
  5. Garnish it up! This is what makes hummus so fun. For these photos, I put a big dollop of goat cheese in the center, layered the lemon slices and garlic along one side, drizzled it all with oil, then added the spices and pistachios after the oil to keep them neat. Hummus is really a blank canvas, begging to become a work of art!
  6. Serve it! This hummus would be great with some nice soft pita or crunchy pita chips. I always serve hummus with veggies too. You can drizzle the veggies with lemon juice and sprinkle them with za'atar and sumac to make sure those middle-eastern flavors really stand out.

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