This rich and creamy chestnut hummus provides a unique twist to the classic hummus recipe made with chickpeas. This is because cooked or roasted chestnuts have a gentle sweetness and soft, nutty taste complemented with a buttery texture. Blending these chestnuts with tahini paste, zesty lemon, garlic, olive oil and a touch of cumin results in a luxury, velvety and creamy dip. In other words, it is the perfect festive appetizer for holiday gatherings.
What is hummus?
Most people will know traditional hummus, the typical creamy dip made with chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), tahini, garlic, lemon and olive oil. It is a versatile dish that is popular in mainly Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine but is also embraced in lots of other parts of the world. It is enjoyed as an appetizer, as part of a mezze dish, or eaten as a dip with pita bread or raw vegetables.
Which ingredients to use
This chestnut hummus recipe is so easy and simple to make with just a handful of ingredients:
- Chestnuts: This hummus can be made with either cooked or roasted chestnuts. You can prepare the chestnuts at home or buy them already prepared and vacuum packed in the supermarket. Keep reading for tips to prepare the chestnuts and which ones to use depending on the flavour profile.
- Tahini: Tahini is a paste made from toasted sesame seeds and is a key ingredient in the classic hummus recipe. It has rich and nutty undertones with a deep earthy flavour which pairs great with the sweetness of the chestnuts. Tahini can be bought in most larger supermarkets or Middle Eastern speciality shops.
- Garlic: Raw garlic is quite pungent, so I recommend starting with half a clove and only add more to taste after first mixing the hummus. The taste of garlic becomes stronger over time, which is important to keep in mind when making hummus in advance. With that said, fresh garlic is a must for this recipe as with garlic powder you will miss that intense aroma.
- Lemon: Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for that zesty tang which brings balance to the flavours of this dish.
- Olive oil: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil to mix in the chestnut hummus as well as to drizzle over the dip just before serving. A type of garnish, if you will.
- Cumin: The earthy, smoky and warm notes of ground cumin adds a lovely depth of flavour.
- Salt and pepper: Season with salt and just a bit of pepper to taste.
Cooked or roasted chestnuts
The easiest and fastest way to make this chestnut dip is to use store-bought, vacuum-packed, pre-cooked chestnuts. But, during the chestnut season in autumn or fall, what is nicer than walking through the forest and looking for chestnut trees and their beautiful nuts? It will take a bit longer to make this hummus but it is a wonderful activity to do with the kids during the weekend. They will love it. Or you can buy raw chestnuts in the supermarket and prepare them at home. So the question is now whether to cook or roast the chestnuts and how to prepare them at home. Read on for some tips.
The flavour profile of cooked versus roasted chestnuts is quite different. Cooking the chestnuts gives them a milder and softer flavour profile than when you roast them. They will also retain more water which is fine when making hummus. On the other hand, roasted chestnuts have a more intense, sweet and nutty flavour. They also tend to be drier for which you might have to add some extra water while mixing the hummus.
How to prepare the chestnuts
- Roasted chestnuts: Chestnuts can either be roasted in the oven, in a pan on the stove or in a skillet on an open fire. Here is a more in-depth guide to roasting chestnuts at home, but in the meantime, a quick summary:
- Make an X-shaped cut on the rounded side of each chestnut with a sharp knife.
- Place the scored chestnuts on a baking tray and roast in a preheated oven (390°F or 200°C) for about 20 minutes.
- Or place the scored chestnuts in a dry pan or skillet (no oil or butter needed) on medium heat and roast for 20 minutes while stirring regularly.
- Peel the chestnuts when they are still hot as the skin comes off better, but be careful not to burn yourself, please!
- Cooked chestnuts: One advantage of cooking chestnuts over roasting them is that the skin tends to come off better. So when you have a lot of chestnuts to peel, consider boiling them.
- Make an X-shaped cut in the rounded side of each chestnut with a sharp knife.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the scored chestnuts.
- Leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes and drain the water.
- It is best to remove the peels while they are still hot as the skin comes off more easily, but again, please be careful not to burn your hands and fingers! Also, if your kids are helping you, please supervise them accordingly.
How to make chestnut hummus
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Add the cooked or roasted chestnuts together with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and cumin in a food processor or blender then blend for 2-3 minutes until you achieve a smooth and silky consistency. If the paste ends up too dry, drizzle in a bit of water and continue blending until you reach the desired texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Depending on personal preference, feel free to add more lemon juice, olive oil, tahini or garlic. Then, give it a last blitz and transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.
Serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil on top and optionally sprinkle with some smoked paprika powder for extra smokiness. This roasted chestnut hummus is great to serve as an appetizer with pita bread, pita chips, flatbread or raw vegetables like carrot, cucumber or cauliflower.
- As part of a mezze board: Serve as an appetizer together with other dips or other small tapas plates like baba ganoush, tzatziki, marinated mozzarella or crispy roasted chickpeas.
- As a side dish: This hummus works well with grilled meat, fish or vegetables.
- As a spread: Use as a spread for pita bread, as with these chicken pita pockets, or on small pieces of toast or crackers as finger food.
As this chestnut hummus dip is somewhat different from the usual hummus recipes what with its unique flavour profile, it is something special to serve during the holiday season. Most people will never have tried it so you can show off with something new and different, yet very delicious.
More chestnut recipes to try
- How to roast chestnuts
- Chestnut and mushroom soup
- Cauliflower and chestnut soup
- Roasted chestnut pesto with rucola
- 1 cup (or 130 grams) chestnuts cooked (or roasted) and peeled
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- ½ clove garlic
- juice of ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup water if needed
- smoked paprika powder
- Add the chestnuts, tahini paste, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and cumin in a food processor or blender.
- Blitz the ingredients together into a smooth paste.
- If the consistency is too thick, add a bit of water and mix again until smooth and creamy.
- Season with extra salt, pepper or lemon juice to taste.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and optionally some smoked paprika powder.
- Total cooking time: When starting with raw, uncooked chestnuts, add 40 minutes extra which includes 20 minutes preparing and cooking and about 20 minutes peeling.
- Chestnuts: Uncooked chestnuts can either be cooked(boiled) or roasted depending on personal preferences.
- Garlic: Start mixing the hummus with just half a clove of garlic, adding more afterwards to taste. Remember that when making the hummus in advance, the garlic flavour will intensify over time.
- Store: When making the hummus in advance or if any is leftover, store covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.