Favorite recipe: Hummus plate

Shared by Ilona Kassissieh, 43, of East Jerusalem

This is the second in a series of recipes from AFSC constituents around the world. Check afsc.org/recipes for more.

For 40 years, Ilona Kassissieh’s father Nasri cooked Mediterranean and international dishes—like goulash and schnitzel—at his restaurant in Bethlehem, serving pilgrims visiting the Holy Land for worship. Nasri is retired now, but still opens the doors of Al Andalus for special reservations.

Of all the recipes he taught her, his daughter’s favorite dish is a plate of hummus garnished with olive oil and parsley. ­­­“It’s easy to make,” says Ilona, AFSC’s Middle East regional advocacy and communications coordinator. “It’s nutritious and delicious, since it contains lots of vitamins and is high in protein.”

Ilona, who lives in East Jerusalem with her husband and three children, says the hummus dish is inexpensive to make, and more importantly, everyone likes it: “My children love to eat it, and so do my guests.”

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  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • ¼ cup tahini (a paste made from ground sesame seeds, that can be purchased in a Middle Eastern grocery store)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Pinch of salt


  • First you soak the chickpeas overnight in water with one teaspoon of bicarbonate soda.
  • Then you rinse the chickpeas. You boil them in water adding one teaspoon of salt until they the peel separates easily.
  • Then you strain the chickpeas to remove the water.
  • Mash or grind the chickpeas in a food processor adding the garlic cloves and a pinch of salt if necessary.
  • Afterwards, you add the tahini and the lemon juice. If needed, add some water to the mixture to make it smoother.
  • Finally, you add olive oil and parsley for taste and garnish.


What do you love about this hummus dish?

I think it is a dish that meets the satisfaction of the young and elderly alike. Grandmothers and toddlers alike enjoy this meal wholeheartedly. It is very convenient and is not costly to prepare.

Where do you get the best ingredients?

The chickpeas are purchased from a regular grocery. However, I love to accompany the dish with red cherry tomatoes from my father’s vegetable garden.