Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Hummus

Caramelized onions usually call for a lot of oil. So do traditional hummus recipes.

This entire recipe calls for just 1 Tbsp olive oil. That's about 70-75% less oil than would be expected for a recipe such as this.

75% less oil with 0% less flavour.

I can get down with that.

Dietitian's Recommendation: try these tips to make a creamy and delicious hummus using less oil:

  1. Add water: most people add more oil while the onions are cooking to prevent them from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Instead, I recommend adding 2-4 Tbsp water throughout the cooking process. This helps not only to prevent burning, but more importantly brings up the caramelized browning on the bottom of the pot. This incorporates into the onions as they cook, giving it the darker, distinctive caramelized colour plus caramel flavour.

  2. Add more tahini: when making the hummus, most people add more olive oil to give it a creamy texture. Instead, I add more tahini (sesame seed butter) - whole food fat sources are always preferred over concentrated oils.

  3. Add balsamic vinegar: another way this recipe is made creamier is the addition of balsamic vinegar. This adds both rich taste and also added moisture to make the hummus creamy.

Care for another tip?

Dietitian's recommendation: blend all the ingredients in the food processor before adding the chickpeas. This helps to thoroughly pulverize and blend the ingredients so they are evenly distributed in the hummus. It can be intense biting into a chunk of unpulverized raw garlic! Plus this takes away the flavour of the rest of the hummus if unevenly combined.

What that? Even another tip? Sure!

Dietitian's recommendation: using the food processor to chop the onions significantly speeds up the preparation time... and saves you a lot of tears.

Okay that's enough tips. Time to make this here hummus and nom! :)​


Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Hummus

Recipe PDF

▸ ▹ Vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, nut-free

Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 20 min Total Time: 30 min


2 medium yellow onions, diced

1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

2 cups (330 g) cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) *

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup (60 ml) tahini (sesame seed butter)**

1/4 cup (60 ml) water

1.5 lemons, juiced

1 Tbsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt***

INGREDIENTS: Optional Garnish

caramelized onions


paprika powder

ground cumin

fresh or dried herbs of choice


  1. Toss the onions in oil in a non-stick pan on high heat, stirring every 3-5 minutes. Add splashes of water to prevent burning. Continue stirring and adding water as needed until the onions are softened, a deep brown colour, and sufficiently caramelized, about 20 minutes. Note: depending on your pot you made need to reduce the heat to medium-high or medium, but this will also increase the cooking time.

  2. Place all ingredients except the chickpeas in a food processor and blend on high, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Then add the chickpeas and blend again until a creamy consistency is achieved.

  3. Garnish, serve with crackers, cut up vegetables, or enjoy in a wrap or sandwich.


  1. *This is about 1 cup (200 g) dry beans, or the amount in a 500 g can.

  2. ** If you’d like the consistency to be creamier, add 1-2 Tbsp (15 - 30 mL) more tahini.

  3. *** If using canned chickpeas, be sure to rinse first. Canned chickpeas are high in salt, so taste test and add this salt at the end in the amount desired.

  4. Variations: adjust to your preferences by adding more balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, or cumin if desired. You can also use roasted garlic (in this case use 4-6 cloves) or cook the garlic with the onions in the last 5 minutes.

  5. Speed-it-up: using canned chickpeas speeds up the process. Also, using a food processor to chop the onions significantly speeds up the preparation time and saves you a lot of tears.

  6. Storage: store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to one week.

// Sadia Badiei, Registered Dietitian