Roasted Lemon and Za'atar Hummus


(Note: this post was originally published on May 19, 2019. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Unique Flavors, Inspired by Spain

Looking for a different and exciting spin on hummus? Look no further; Roasted Lemon 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. We absolutely fell in love with the magical little city of Granada and it has inspired a few other recipes on this blog including my reinvented Patatas Bravas and my whimsical green bean salad If Green Beans Went to Southern Spain.

Bowl of Roasted Lemon Hummus garnished with lemon slices

Mediterranean Ingredients

One of the big flavor stars in this hummus is roasted lemon. Slicing the lemon thinly and roasting it in olive oil gives the hummus such a complex, roasty undertone. For that reason, this hummus can really work year-round, unlike many lemon dishes that have a specifically springy vibe. If you're loving the idea of roasted lemon, definitely check out my favorite caramelized lemon sauce too!

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 the spice markets in Granada and have been putting it on practically everything!

Finally, I sometimes add goat cheese to this hummus. I know it's a bit crazy and far from a traditional approach to hummus, but I think it really pays homage to the fact that goat and sheep dairy are so important in Spain. Plus it makes the hummus especially creamy! However, if you don't do dairy, it's totally fine to omit this. As many of you know, I eat a ~90-95% vegan diet but make occasional exceptions for local, small-scale dairy since it's such a cornerstone of the Vermont foodscape.

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

Lemon slices roasting in olive oil

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Olive oil
  • Lemons
  • Garlic. Fresh, whole cloves are a must!
  • Red pepper flakes. Optional, but I like this hummus to have a bit of a kick.
  • Chick peas
  • Tahini
  • Goat cheese. See my thoughts above on this. I occasionally enjoy local, family-farm dairy, although this is a totally optional addition.
  • 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, cumin, and toasted sesame seeds in its place.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pistachios
  • Sesame seeds
  • 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.

Hummus ingredients in a food processor

Closing Thoughts

What do you think? Is this combination genius or crazy? These flavors make me so nostalgic thinking about Granada. We had such a wonderful week there walking at least 20 miles a day, hiking in the hills above town, drinking local red wine in the evening sun, sampling all the tapas, and of course shopping for produce and spices in the street markets.

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.

Bowl of Roasted Lemon Hummus with garnishes

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Figgy Thyme Gin Fizz

Patatas Bravas

If Green Beans Went to Southern Spain

Loaded Mediterranean Salad

Blueberry Lemon Tahini Oat Flour Bundt Cake

Roasted Lemon and Za'atar Hummus

In this flavor-packed hummus, bright lemon is balanced by zesty za'atar and delightful roasty undertones. It's complex, can transcend seasons, and will keep you coming back for more.



For the Hummus

  • 4 tbsp good, robust olive oil
  • Lemon, thinly sliced into rounds, with seeds removed
  • A couple gloves of garlic, each cut into a couple thin slices
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Two 15-oz cans of chick peas
  • 0.25 c creamy, nutty tahini
  • 2-3 oz unflavored goat cheese (optional)
  • Juice of another lemon
  • A few tsp za'atar
  • Generous salt and pepper

For Garnishing

  • Half of the roasted lemon slices
  • A couple slices of roasted garlic
  • 1-2 oz goat cheese (optional)
  • Big drizzle of olive oil
  • Small handful of pistachios
  • Sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • Sprinkle of za'atar
  • Sprinkle of sumac


  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Add the olive oil to a small baking dish, then add the thinly sliced lemon and garlic. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Roast at 425 for 10-15 minutes, or until the lemon has just barely started to brown. Allow the oil to cool, then set aside half of the lemon slices and a couple pieces of garlic to act as garnishes.
  3. To a food processor, combine all the hummus ingredients (the flavored oil, roasted lemon and garlic, chick peas, tahini, optional 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 or additional olive oil.
  4. 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 black pepper. Adjust and continue processing as you see fit.
  5. Put your hummus into a serving bowl, smoothing out the top to get an even surface, then make a swirl pattern.
  6. Garnish with the remaining roasted lemon and garlic slices, an optional dollop of goat cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. Then finish it off with sprinkles of pistachios, sesame seeds, za'atar, and sumac.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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September 5, 2022
Oh, anything involving zaatar, I am in! Can’t wait to try this!