White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus

White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus - Healthy and Delicious Mediterranean-Inspired Recipe

There’s something about fresh basil. Whenever I inhale its scent, my imagination is whisked away to a sunny afternoon in Tuscany. I adore basil in many dishes; pesto is a particular favorite of mine. It’s winter now, but for some reason I’m craving warm weather Mediterranean flavors. The answer? An Italian-inspired hummus infused with the flavor of pesto. Luckily, in most cities fresh basil can be found year-round. Even in the middle of a polar vortex, we can whip up a batch of pesto and find ourselves transported to a sun-drenched Mediterranean shoreline.

White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus

This hummus gets its burst of flavor and color from roasted garlic, lemon juice and fresh basil leaves. Basil is quite common in Mediterranean cuisine, thought it’s actually native to India and areas of Northeast Africa and Southeast Asia. Throughout history basil has inspired intense feelings of both love and fear. Sweet culinary basil, Latin name Ocimum basilicum, derives its name from the Greek words okimon (smell) and basilikon (kingly/royal). Okimon is obviously linked to basil’s unique and attractive fragrance. The basilikon reference is likely due to basil’s flowers, which bloom a historically regal shade of purple.

Greek philosopher Chrysippus (279-206 B.C.E.) wrote that “Ocimum exists only to drive men insane.” Historians believe that the negative folklore associated with basil stems from its Latin name, basilicum, which sounds quite similar to basilisk, the dangerous mythical serpent. Sound familiar, Harry Potter fans? On the other hand, basil has also been used as a powerful aphrodisiac in love spells. In Italy, the sweet variety of basil is known as bacia-nicola or “kiss me Nicholas.” If a pot of this basil is left on a windowsill, it is often done in hopes of attracting a potential lover.

Basil and white bean hummus are a match made in heaven. Drizzle this White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus with olive oil and sprinkle with pine nuts to complete the flavor symphony. Serve with crispy Italian breadsticks, olive and fresh crudités for a Mediterranean appetizer platter your guests will love!

How do you like your hummus- plain? Spicy? Garlicky? Roasted red pepper?

White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus - Healthy and Delicious Mediterranean-Inspired Recipe

White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus


  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups soaked and cooked cannellini beans or 2 cans (15 oz each) of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tbsp tahini paste
  • 2 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp honey or agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves and pine nuts, optional garnish (if serving to guests with nut allergies, omit the pine nut garnish)
  • Crudités, breadsticks, pita and/or crackers for serving

You will also need

  • Small saucepan, food processor or blender
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: 10-12 appetizer portions
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • In a small saucepan on the stovetop, roast the garlic cloves in the olive oil over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring every so often, till golden and soft. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Separate the garlic cloves from the oil; reserve both.
  • White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus - Healthy and Delicious Mediterranean-Inspired RecipeIn a food processor, combine the roasted garlic cloves with the cannellini beans, tahini paste, water, basil leaves, lemon juice, honey and cayenne pepper.
  • White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus - Healthy and Delicious Mediterranean-Inspired RecipeProcess for a couple of minutes, scraping the sides every so often, till a chunky hummus forms.
  • White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus - Healthy and Delicious Mediterranean-Inspired RecipeWith the food processor running, drizzle in the roasted garlic oil. Continue to process till the hummus is smooth and creamy. Taste and add salt if needed. Typically canned beans have already been salted, so you may not need to add much more. I usually add between 1/4 tsp- 1/2 tsp of salt. Be sure to add carefully, as the mixture can become too salty rather quickly. If you would like to adjust the texture of the hummus and make it softer, add more water 2 teaspoons at a time and process till the texture is to your liking.
  • White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus - Healthy and Delicious Mediterranean-Inspired RecipeTransfer the hummus to a container or serving plate and chill in the refrigerator. If desired, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pine nuts before serving (to keep this recipe nut free, omit the pine nut garnish). Serve with toasted pita or pita chips, crudités or your favorite cracker.
  • White Bean Basil Pesto Hummus - Healthy and Delicious Mediterranean-Inspired Recipe
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Category: Appetizers, Condiments, Finger Foods and Dips, Gluten Free, Healthy, In the Kitchen, Nut Free, Pareve, Passover - Gluten Free Sephardic, Passover - Sephardic, Passover - Vegan Sephardic, Passover - Vegetarian Sephardic, Purim, Recipes, Salads and Mezze, Side Dishes, Slide Show, Tomato Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Comments (61)Post a Comment

  1. Tina Diamond says:

    I’m a plain girl, but love garlic too

  2. Roasted red pepper is my favorite!

  3. Spicy ! or with Roasted Garlic ! Love to dip the hummus with cucumber sticks.

  4. Red pepper roasted, garlic. Fresh squeezed lemon at the end. Two cans of garbanzo beans. One drained. Dump into blender.

  5. Perfect for Superbowl Sunday.

  6. plain hummus drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pine nuts.

  7. I’m a traditionalist- make real hummus from scratch, with soaked, cooked and peeled chickpeas, tahini, lemon., garlic, cumin. Drizzle with Olive oil, and dust with cumin and hot paprika.

  8. Do you think this would taste okay with chickpeas? That’s all I have!

  9. Traditional hummus with garlic – yum. We dip celery sticks too – and add them to our wrap with bean sprouts.

  10. Since you asked, I like my hummus with raw peas and basil ground in…like my pesto that way, too.
    Or black beans.
    And plenty of tahini.
    Occasionally, a little curry powder.

  11. I’ve only had plain, will try some others now, thanks

  12. Like mine spicy, and roasted red pepper & pinenuts is one of my favorites. This recipe looks yummy, will have to try it this summer when I’m growing basil.

  13. I just love plain ole hummus… Lots of garlic and tahini!

  14. Found some jalapeno hummus I really do like

  15. Lynn Negus says:

    I like hummus with caramelised onion.

  16. Too many hummus flavors. There’s nothing like the original Middle Eastern made from scratch hummus. So delicious it makes your eyes glaze over…

  17. Have to make this recipe. YUMS

  18. Like roasted red pepper, three tribes organic roasted red pepper And their forty spices is great too.

  19. I like the roasted garlic and roasted red papper hummus – readily available and cheap and a good way to consume raw crudités that I wouldn’t eat cooked – such as broccoli and carrots and celery – those strips of red and yellow peppers look good !

  20. Garlicky,spicey, and lemony.

  21. Mike Janning says:

    Roasted Garlic Hummus.

  22. Bill Evans says:

    Roasted red pepper…..


  24. Surati Ivey says:

    I do the blood tpe diet and am not suppsoed to have garbonzo’s, so I love the white bean take off.

  25. Any way you wanna fix it for me is my fave!

  26. Hummus makes a great pasta sauce, just add evoo, and fresh parsley, etc

  27. Marie Montes says:

    Yes.. All if the above ~

  28. Recently had pesto made with edamame. It was amazing, had red pepper on the top

  29. What is the parsnip looking veggie?

  30. I like it any way I can get it, but my favorite is classic Greek style…lots of garlic and olive oil.

  31. Kate Simons says:

    Sublimely garlicky and creamy!

  32. I like it all–with veggies, on a bagel or chips/pretzels

  33. It looks delish! Unfortunately, I can’t have traditional hummus anymore because of a sesame allergy. I usually add a little roasted peanut oil to my bean puree, but I would love another suggestion to get that tahini flavor without the tahini.

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Beth– funny enough, I’ve heard that some people use a small amount of unsweetened natural peanut butter when they’ve run out of tahini. Apparently it is a workable sub, but I haven’t tried it myself so no promises!

  34. Rebecca King says:

    Home-cooked chick peas with cilantro, jalapeno, cumin and lime juice instead of lemon. I use olive oil instead of tahini when I make this version.

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