I can't remember when I first tried hummus, but I remember thinking that it was some sort of exotic, luxury, and expensive treat I could only have a couple times a year. Hummus is essentially a Middle Eastern dip typically made with five ingredients: chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice, garlic and salt. Yes, you can make your own hummus with only five ingedients (seven if you include extra-virgin olive oil and paprika for garnishing).
If you're wondering where you get Tahini, I usually find it in the "ethnic" aisle at the grocery store. The price is sometimes a little steep, but one jar will make around three or four batches of hummus, and each batch makes a little more than two cups (and I believe a serving is around two tablespoons). Please don't let buying Tahini defer you from making your own hummus.
I'll admit that the first time I made this I was terrified it wouldn't taste the same as store bought—the directions and ingredients seemd too simple. But once I made it and tasted it, I vowed to never buy the packaged stuff again.
This is an absolutely perfect base recipe for hummus, and from here you can let your imagination run wild with ways to spruce it up (roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, spicy red pepper, etc.). I'm usualy the first one to jazz something up with spice or other flavors, but believe me when I say that this is fantastic as is. The recipe below is only slightly adapted from the original (I added more garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes—naturally), so definitely taste as you go and create it based on your preference.
slightly adapted from Desert Candy
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas
1/2 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water from chickpeas
olive oil, parsley, paprika or cumin for serving
1. Rinse chickpeas. Place chickpeas in saucepan with water; cover by one inch. Place saucepan on the stove; bring to a boil and simmer until chickpeas are very soft: test a chickpea by squeezing it between your fingers, it should smush easily, this could take between 5 and 20 minutes. Remove from heat, skim off any chickpea skins that have floated to the surface and discard them.
2. Place garlic and salt in a food processor; pulse to chop. Add tahini and lemon juice; process until mixture is slightly whitened and contracted. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chickpeas to the processor (don't discard the cooking liquid); process until very smooth. Thin the hummus to desired consistency with reserved cooking liquid (I use about 1/4 cup of reserved liquid). Taste and adjust seasoning with lemon juice and salt. Refrigerate.
3. When ready to serve, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices if desired. Serve with pita bread, pita chips, veggies, or eat alone!