Hummus with Preserved Lemon

hummus with preserved lemon

I love the complex, intense taste of preserved lemons. The first time I made them, I didn’t really know what to do with them. Now I go through them quickly. Chopped up, they make a fantastic garnish for Indian dishes, such as dal or chana masala. They also pack a ton of flavor into hummus.

Not only do they add flavor, these lemons help me conserve my precious olive oil. I go through olive oil pretty quickly and where I live, it can cost substantially more in bulk than it does in a glass bottle. As lemons ferment, they excrete quite a bit of oil, so with that, some liquid from the jar of lemons and a bit of cooking water from my beans, I don’t need to add olive oil to this hummus recipe (possibly heretical).   

For this post, I used white beans because I had run out of chickpeas (more possible heresy). Either type works but chickpeas are more traditional. I cook soaked beans in my pressure cooker in mere minutes. If you want to save time in the kitchen, kick those plastic-lined cans of beans to the curb and eat tastier beans, I highly recommend you get your paws on a pressure cooker. Here’s how I cook beans in mine.

We eat hummus with sourdough bread, sourdough crackers and vegetables. Right now, in summer, we’ve been scooping it up with many sliced farmer’s market cucumbers.

Crumb shot of my last sourdough bake
Hummus, hibiscus soda and sourdough crackers


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas or white beans, soaked for 6 hours or longer
  • 1/2 cup reserved liquid from cooked beans
  • 2 cloves garlic or to taste
  • 3 quarters of a whole preserved lemon, including skins and pulp, seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons liquid from jar of preserved lemons
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (here’s a recipe for homemade)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste


1. Cook beans in a pot on the oven, in a slow cooker or in a pressure cooker according to instructions. In my pressure cooker, the beans are ready as soon as the regulator starts to shake. Yours may take longer.

2. Drain beans and reserve some of the liquid.

3. In a food processor, process the garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients and whir until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, thin it out with some of the cooking water from the beans.

4. Store in the refrigerator for about a week to 10 days.


1. Super salty preserved lemons add quite a bit of salt to your recipe. Add a small amount of additional salt (the suggested 1/4 teaspoon maximum), taste and add more salt if desired.

2. I usually double this recipe for a vat of hummus but I can’t fit all of the ingredients in my food processor, so I whir it up in two separate batches.

3. If you can find it, add a strip of kombu seaweed to the pot of beans to reduce gas-producing raffinose sugars present in the beans (I can buy this in bulk at the fabulous Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco). Remove the kombu after cooking if desired, unless it has disintegrated. Or just eat it. People have told me they get the same effect from adding baking soda to their soaking beans.

Cooking beans with a piece of kombu reduces gas-producing sugars

If you prefer a more traditional hummus, you can find a recipe for that here.

24 Replies to “Hummus with Preserved Lemon”

  1. Who adds olive oil to hummus? I’m Lebanese and we don’t, as the tahina is full of oil and makes any more redundant. The canon hummus recipe has only 5 ingredients: tahina, garlic, lemon, salt, and the hummus (chickpeas) themselves, so anyone calling you heretical needs some schooling themselves 😉
    My preserved lemons are just becoming ready to use so I may try this. I’m always looking for a deeper lemon taste, but there’s only so much juice one can add to a recipe!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you so much for this info Joumana! I was waiting for someone to call me out on the missing olive oil but now I feel emboldened 🙂 If you want a deeper lemon taste, I think you’ll love the addition of preserved lemon. It’s delicious. What else do you do with your preserved lemons? I made about six large jars this year, I love them so. ~ Anne Marie

      1. It’s the very first time I try preserved lemons, so I don’t know yet! I will probably start by finding some tajine recipes, as I once had a fish tajine with lemon and olives that was to die for, but definitely couldn’t be replicated with mere lemon juice.

      2. The Zero-Waste Chef says:

        Mmmm, that sounds good. I know a tagine is the classic recipe for them. Fish with olives and preserved lemons sounds pretty delectable. Enjoy!

    2. I don’t add olive oil to my hummus.

    3. Christian younes says: Reply

      Heyy I am lebanese too… Organic Tahini sauce pure 100% needs tbl spoon of oil if we don’t save to cooking water

  2. What a great idea to flavour hummus with preserved lemons! Never thought of it! I’m gonna try your recipe as soon as I can find some nice lemons to preserve!
    Now quick question about the homemade preserved lemons, while they sit on the counter, is it heat sensitive? I’m currently in Canada travelling around on board of a van, so the temperature varies depending on the weather, so I’m a bit scared to do any sort of fermenting in my “kitchen on wheels”, as some days can be very hot…
    thanks in advance for your advice!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thanks Gaëlle. I hadn’t tried it until I started preserving jars and jars of lemons. I love them. Do you have a refrigerator on board? They will ferment faster in the heat. But if you can move them to a cool spot when they’re ready, they should be fine. I understand why you wouldn’t want to ferment too much on wheels (by the way, a kitchen on wheels sounds totally awesome). If you had something like ginger beer on board it might get shaken up a lot and maybe explode (I’m not sure though). But the lemons only gurgle a little bit. Where are you travelling in Canada? I’m from there originally. ~ Anne Marie

  3. LOL, I hardly ever making hummus at home because it requires tonnes of olive oil. Or so I thought till now. Thanks for the recipe and your neverending creativity!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      My pleasure Anna. Happy to help you conserve olive oil too. Thanks for checking out the post 🙂 ~ Anne Marie

  4. I like and follow your blog and admire your life style and activities. I doubt you take a part in the awards game, but in case I just nominated you. I will read you anyway 🙂 Ivana

  5. I don’t always use chickpeas either. I will use whatever white beans I have on hand. Nor do I use olive oil, although I have been known to use a little toasted sesame oil as it adds some nice flavor, but I usually do a little of that on top when serving.

    As for reducing gas with beans, I drain off the soaking liquid from the beans and use fresh when cooking – it’s made a huge difference.

  6. I’m not a fan of oily hummus, so I never add it to my homemade recipes either. Yours is the second or third article I’ve seen recently mentioning preserved lemons. Come winter, when the lemons are falling off the farmer’s market stands, I’ll have to buy a peck and try preserving myself. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thanks for checking out the post 🙂 They add a rich, complex flavor. So good. I must be onto something if you’ve seen this suggestion a few times now 😉

  7. i love preserved lemons. and when i tried them in hummus it was so good, i never went back to making hummus without them. i usually blend the lemons when they are finished fermenting, right there in their jar with a handheld blender. that way they are easier to use in salads, for roasted vegetables, in stews…

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Ooooh, good idea to blend them in there. I don’t know how I lived all these years without preserved lemons, I love them so. Thanks for the tip!

  8. I have a prolific Bearss lime tree and I make preserved limes. They are interchangeable with lemons. This winter I plan to try to make preserved kumquats.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      :O I am jealous. I would love to have a lime tree. I’m going to have to add preserved limes to my to-ferment list. How will you do the kumquats? Slice them in half? Thanks for the ideas 🙂

  9. Ya la preparé, y es deliciosa, gracias.

  10. I already did it, and it is delicious, thank you.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Great! Glad to hear it turned out well. 🙂

  11. Hi

    Have been lurking on your blog for a while but just had to recommend Ottolenghis hummus recipe from his Jerusalem book. Tahini laden but uses no oil in thr making. Just for drizzling if yoh wish.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Yum. I love him. Thank you Thea! ~ Anne Marie

  12. […] dal, chana masala, not-too-spicy black beans, refried beans, and hummus with preserved lemon. When purchasing dried chickpeas and other bulk store items, provide your own glass […]

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