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Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that usually contains a mix of dried thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds, is available at specialty stores or online. And while it's terrific on hummus, it's also totally optional—you can’t go wrong with a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkling of sesame seeds or just some flaky sea salt. Once you've got the base recipe down, here are four more ways to riff on it.
Start by prepping all of your ingredients: Drain 15½ oz. chickpeas in a strainer or colander and rinse thoroughly. Let drain again while you do the other prep.
Cut 1 lemon in half, remove any visible seeds, and squeeze juice into a small bowl. You should have 3–4 Tbsp.
Smash 1 garlic clove with the flat side of your knife on a cutting board and remove peel. Continue to mash with side of knife until a paste forms. (You can also grate garlic on a microplane if you have one—you're just looking for a fine paste.)
Combine drained chickpeas, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, garlic, ½ cup tahini, ¾ tsp. salt, 10 cracks pepper, ¼ tsp. cumin, and 2 Tbsp. water in a food processor.
Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
With the motor running, stream in 3 Tbsp. oil, then continue to process until hummus is very light and creamy, about 1 minute longer. Taste and season with more salt, if needed.
Transfer hummus to a shallow bowl, top with za’atar and/or sesame seeds, and drizzle with more oil.
Do Ahead: Hummus can be made 4 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill.