Lacto-Fermented Hummus

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Yesterday, I made our family’s traditional hummus — a recipe handed down from my grandmother and namesake, Tata Wardee, to my mother and then to me. However, there was a difference: this time I lacto-fermented it. Yeah, yeah, by now you know that I try to ferment just about everything. :)

To do this with hummus (or almost any other condiment), just switch out some of the liquid for whey and give the mixture an overnight sit at room temperature to complete a fermentation. The beneficial organisms in the whey have a bit of a feast on the sugars in the food, and proliferate throughout. The result in hummus is that the organisms make it a little “fluffy” or “bubbly” from the gases they produce.

I found that my digestive system likes lacto-fermented hummus better than the regular kind — because sometimes garbanzo beans (or chickpeas, as they are also called) can be more gas-producing than other beans.

The darker flecks in my hummus are the result of using an Indian relation of chickpeas/garbanzos — the Chana Dal bean (and more info here at Azure Standard). They’re smaller with darker skins. I don’t bother to remove skins from garbanzo beans; that’s just too much work!

I highly recommend using toasted sesame tahini. Toasting is another means of reducing phytic acid in seeds, and it gives the hummus a darker, roasted flavor. Love it!

Our Family’s Traditional Hummus — Lacto-Fermented

  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 3 rounded tablespoons roasted sesame tahini
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup whey — with active cultures, such as from dripping off plain yogurt or kefir, or from raw cheesemaking

Put all ingredients in blender or food processor. Adjust water to desired consistency. Blend to make a smooth, thick, but sorta chunky paste. Transfer to an air-tight container and leave out at room temperature overnight, 7 to 12 hours. Transfer to refrigerator.

When serving, garnish with paprika, parsley and/or extra virgin olive oil. Pictured with sprouted spelt crackers.

How you eat your hummus? This morning, I served it with sprouted crackers, Middle Eastern cheese, two fried eggs, and kefir and fruit. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. says

    It never really occurred to me to make a lactofermented hummus. I do, however, sprout the chickpeas before cooking them. That seems to remedy the gas problems with most beans, in my experience. Have you tried sprouting?

    • says

      Crunchy Nurse — Yes, I’ve tried that and it does help, as long as the beans are then cooked as you do — raw, sprouted hummus is gassy in my experience. Most often I just soak and cook chickpeas for hummus.

  2. says

    Yum! We LOVE bean paste around here. I made an indian-style hummus paste and lacto-fermented it. It is really yummy over rice and beans with veggies.

  3. JK says

    HI Wardee

    Why do you use only the whey and not the kefir as it is?
    Is it ok to use kefir as it is instead of using whey?


    • says

      JK — Good question! I have to admit, I’m not sure what others would say, but I can speculate on my own reasons. 1) The whey is purified and doesn’t have solids or sugars to spoil. 2) The kefir can change the texture or taste, while whey is more neutral and really just supplies organisms.

      Water kefir is similar in both respects — sugars have been consumed by the organisms and it is fairly pure of other ingredients (fats/sugars) — and its flavor is neutral if used after the first fermentation.

  4. says

    Fascinating. I have not heard of fermenting hummus before, which must make the taste a bit more tangy and alive. I’m curious how long it lasts after a short fermentation, but maybe your family ate it up before you could tell. 😉

    • says

      Renee — Lacto-fermented condiments last longer than their non-fermented homemade counterparts, due to the protection of the beneficial colony of organisms and higher acid level. You can expect a few weeks at least in the refrigerator or cool storage, quite possibly longer.

  5. annalise says

    I am curious how long it will last, too. I just made some, and it made oh so much!! One bag of soaked chickpeas goes a long long way! I have a quart and a half! I am going out of town Wed-Mon, so I do hope the lacto-fermentation males it last longer than a plain batch in the fridg. It is out-of-this-world yummy!!!!!!! =D Thanks for sharing!!!!

    • says

      Annalise — Oh, that’s great you like it! :) Have a good trip, I think it will be fine until you get back (see my previous comment to Renee).

  6. Michelle says

    Wardee, do you have any guidelines for how much whey to add and how long to ferment things for? I am always afraid to experiemtn with this and create a food poisoning disaster. But it just seems random to me–your guacamole–which I’ve been doing–said only 7 hours, mayo is similar, whereas ketchup is 3 days, and some are longer. What’s the secret?

    • says

      Michelle —

      First realize this is an art, not a science. People have been doing it for so long and there could be as many “rules” as there are people! Not to mention people’s tastes with effervescence, crunch, and texture.

      I have some general guidelines I follow, and I’m always adjusting, too.

      1) I aim for about 1/4 cup of whey per quart of lacto-ferment.
      2) If it is solid food (chunks or chopped up veggies), I aim for 3 to 5 to even 7 days of fermentation. Generally, you have to taste the food to see if its texture is pleasing and then call it good.
      3) If it is pureed food, an overnight ferment is usually enough — in the case of mayo, guac, and other foods. BUT, those could go longer if someone was interested in more bubbliness or more overall fermented-ness (if there is such a word!). Going longer might require skimming the top for spoiling, as the top exposed to air is what will spoil first.
      4) If it is a higher acid food (such as tomatoes), the fermentation can go longer. This is because the acidity of the food prevents spoiling.
      5) Fruits or sweet ferments will spoil faster than veggies, due to the sugar content.
      6) Wet foods spoil faster than dry foods, due to the moisture that attracts putrefying bacteria. This is why we add salt to ferments — the salt acts to tie up the moisture so the bad organisms can’t use it.

      Anyway, those are just a few things I try to balance when fermenting foods. And I’m still learning it! I wish I had started long ago. :) I hope this helps. And as for you being afraid, you don’t need to be. Let your noise and your tongue guide you. In most cases, they will give you fair warning that an experiment has gone wrong.

  7. Michelle says

    Super helpful Wardee! They should have an outline like that in Nourishing Traditions to encourage experimentation. Some of the recipes just don’t sound appealing ot me but knowing how to apply the general princicples will be super helpful.

    I am doing the Specific Carbohydrate diet for which chick peas are illegal but I have a recipe for lima bean hummus that I will be trying this with. Thanks so much for the inspiration!!

  8. Dori says

    I am just getting into sprouting and it’s a miracle I found your website! I was wondering, do you need to cook garbanzo beans after sprouting for making hummus? If so, how long do you need to cook them? And does the cooking remove any nutrients? Thanks so much!

    • says

      I’m sorry I missed your questions, Dori. :(

      I do recommend cooking sprouted garbanzos — otherwise they can cause digestive discomfort. Cook until they’re tender — between 30 minutes and an hour, I’d say.

      Cooking is very helpful because beans contain complex carbohydrates that are hard on our digestive systems. Soaking, cooking and sprouting all help with this. Some beans (like lentils) are okay to eat sprouted but not cooked, though some people prefer to cook those too.

  9. says

    Hi! I tried Sally Fallon’s fermented bean paste, and thought it tasted a lot like hummus on steroids. I was wondering several things…mainly, how long does it last? And can you ever eat too much fermented food? I got a bellyache several times on the fermented bean paste. I ended up just trying to eat less and keep going and I haven’t had any issues recently. (Of course, my whey is about 7 months old, so I have had a few adventures with it, such as exploding bean paste.)

    • says

      R — Yes, you can eat too much. If you got a bellyache, that could be a sign. Or it could be a sign that the food was not sufficiently fermented. Fermentation is a pre-digestion of sorts, so if you’re digestive system is troubled that could mean the food needs more fermentation. Eating less but keeping going is a good strategy. :)

  10. courtney says

    I like to put Braggs Amino Acids in my hummus. Would it work to add the braggs when I blend everything up or should I add it after it has been out for 7 to 12 hours?

  11. Julia says

    I just soak some garbanzos Sat night, and following the NT recipe for basic Garbanzos, picked every skin off them before transferring to simmer for 6 hours. That took ridiculously long, and I only started with 1 cup dried beans (3 cups rehydrated). I was trying to find in the NT book why exactly the skins should be removed but couldn’t. I suspect that there is phytic acid in the skins which would make sense as to why to peel it off, but good grief, that took foerver and my fingers were cramping up! hahahaha! Well I plan to make this recipe for lacto -fermented hummus with them. I made pro-biotic buttermilk ranch dressing this weekend, as well as put up salsa and ginger/carrot/kale to lacto-ferment. So excited!

  12. Elisabeth says

    I have just made the hummus, and packed it into a jar. I was wondering, should there be olive oil in the basic mixture? Other hummus recipes I have made have olive oil in. I notice in the ingredients list you say extra olive oil. has it got left out of the main recipe?

    (Just bought the Complete Idiot, and I love it! I am so excited to be starting a new way of life!!)


    • says

      Elisabeth — I usually drizzle olive oil on top. My family’s traditional recipe does not call for olive oil in the hummus, but only as garnish. Enjoy the book! :)

  13. says

    Hi! Have been studying your posts and finally took the plunge to make something lacto-fermented – namely hummus. I pretty much followed your recipe (although I didn’t have any tahini but instead used 1/2t of sesame oil for flavor). I covered it and let it sit out for 16 hours now. But I don’t see any fermentation, no fluffy, no bubbles. My kitchen is a tad cool (mid-60s). Should I leave it on the counter longer or put it in the fridge now? Thanks. 😀

  14. grammyprepper says

    Wardee, I absolutely cannot stand chickpeas…would the recipe work the same with something like Great Northern or cannelini beans? I have been wanting to try a hummus with one of them (don’t ask…it all goes back to teen years and putting canned chickpeas out on the salad bar and the smell…)

  15. Victoria Digiulian says

    HELP! HELP! ANYONE? Oh dear!!.. I soaked overnight, then on sunday, I cooked a whole bag of organic WFoods chick peas and took off stove still in water put on side with lid on and promptly forgot all about them until just now. ooops! .Its Tuesday noon, opened lid and there is a thick white layer on top.

    Ordinarily I would have just chucked the lot however I just read this post the other day and figured you guys would know if I can save them or are they done and dangerous to still eat..(I had originally planned to freeze into hummus size batches as usual) Or maaaaybe they are just super fermented and awesome to still eat???
    What’s the verdict; chuck or keep? Thanks so much , Victoria

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