We won't judge if your go-to way to get your hummus on simply consists of popping off the lid of a store-bought tub and dipping pita chips, baby carrots, or crudités straight in. But set out a tub and a haphazard assortment of snacks at a party, and it's a different matter. (OK, we'll totally still be your friend — and likely dig right in — but come on, you can do better than that!) Here's why: with minimal effort, it can easily be elevated to a party nibble that's much prettier — we do eat with our eyes first, after all — and much tastier. Here are a few guidelines and ideas:
- Start with good product, whether that be a homemade batch or your favorite store-bought brand (our go-to is Sabra's Classic Hummus).
- Transfer it to a pretty dish: We prefer a shallow bowl, or even a small rimmed plate, over a deeper bowl, as this allows for more surface area to smatter with toppings. But whatever you have on hand is likely more appealing than the plastic tub it came in.
- Prep the surface: Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread the hummus out into an even layer, and then use the tip to swirl it; this swirl will hold olive oil and other toppings and adds visual interest. With a damp paper towel or clean dishcloth, wipe away any hummus that's on the edge of the bowl.
- Oil it up: It's pretty much never a bad idea to drizzle the surface of the hummus — this is where the swirl comes into play — with the best extra-virgin olive oil you have on hand. Not only does this add lushness, but it also gives it a glossy appearance. Garlic, basil, citrus, or chile-spiked olive oils are also great here.
- Play with toppings: Finely chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts (as pictured) are a no-fail combination but are not the only answer. Try a pinch of red pepper flakes, za'atar, cayenne pepper, sumac, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, thin slivers of roasted red peppers, a drizzle of pesto, or whatever tickles your fancy.