Balsamic Caramelized Onion Hummus

Balsamic Caramelized Onion Hummus platter

This balsamic caramelized onion hummus is a harmonious blend of sweet caramelized onions, nutty tahini and chickpeas, bright lemon, and a perfectly balanced sweetness and acidity, all rounded off with a hint of salt to elevate the flavors.

My mama (Ferial Schroeder) always had a can or two of chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, in her kitchen cupboard and she loved incorporating chickpeas into meals and appetizers. Chickpeas are incredibly versatile and nutritious, making them a valuable ingredient in cooking.

Chickpeas can be used in a wide range of dishes, from Mediterranean hummus and falafel to Indian chana masala and various stews, soups and salads. Chickpeas adapt well to different culinary traditions and flavor profiles and have a mild, nutty taste and a buttery, yet slightly grainy texture. This allows them to absorb flavors well while contributing to the body of a dish.

Balsamic Caramelized Onion Hummus appetiser platter

How to use chickpeas

  • Whole cooked chickpeas can be added to salads, soups, stews, or mashed for patties or used in this delicious balsamic caramelized onion hummus.
  • They can be blended into a smooth paste for hummus or used in batters for items like falafel.
  • Chickpea flour, also known as besan or gram flour, is used in a variety of breads, batters, and even desserts. Try our Daltjie recipe made with chickpea flour.
  • Roasted chickpeas make a crunchy, healthy snack. They can be seasoned in various ways, from savory to sweet.
  • For vegetarians and vegans, chickpeas are a great meat substitute due to their protein content.

Balsamic Caramelized Onion Hummus on crackers

What makes balsamic caramelized onion hummus delicious

  • The chickpeas and tahini serve as the base, creating a smooth and creamy texture. Blended together, they provide a rich and velvety mouthfeel. Use good quality tahini and chickpeas to avoid disappointment.
  • The onions, especially when caramelized with sugar and balsamic vinegar, contribute a deep, sweet, and savory flavor. The caramelization process brings out the natural sweetness of the onions, while the balsamic vinegar adds a subtle tanginess. The caramelized onions might add a slight chunkiness, offering a gentle contrast to the creaminess of the chickpeas and tahini.
  • Tahini, made from sesame seeds, adds a nutty and slightly earthy flavor. The chickpeas have a mild, nutty taste that complements the tahini.
  • The fresh lemon juice cuts through the richness with its bright, citrusy notes, adding a refreshing zing to the hummus.
  • The combination of sugar and lemon juice would balance the sweetness and acidity, enhancing the overall depth of flavor.
  • A pinch of salt would heighten all these flavors, making the sweet, savory, and tangy notes more pronounced.

Top tips for making balsamic caramelized onion hummus

  • Start with a good quality balsamic vinegar, high-quality dried chickpeas and tahini. You’ll also need fresh onions, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Slice the onions thinly and cook them slowly over low heat to caramelize. This can take up to 30 minutes, so be patient.
  • Adjust the amount of balsamic vinegar to your taste. It adds sweetness and acidity, so add it gradually until you achieve the desired balance.
  • To achieve a creamy texture for your balsamic caramelized onion hummus, make sure to remove the chickpea skins and blend the hummus thoroughly. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor or blender a few times.
  • Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning. You may need to add more salt, lemon juice, or olive oil to get the flavor just right.
  • Consider garnishing with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika, some chopped fresh herbs like parsley, and extra caramelized onions for added visual appeal and flavor.
  • Allow your balsamic caramelized onion hummus to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. This helps the flavors meld together and improves the overall taste.

Blended hummus

How to serve hummus

  • Use this balsamic caramelised onion hummus as a dip for crunchy vegetable like carrots, snack cucumbers, crunchy red and yellow sweet pepper or pita bread, bagel chips and crackers.
  • Add it as a base to a sandwich or wrap and layer with mixed salad leaves, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado and fresh herbs like mint and coriander.
  • Add it to a roasted veggie bowl with roasted peppers, courgettes and red onion and nutty brown rice and sprinkled with za’atar.
  • Add it to a protein salad bowl with salad leaves, sliced cucumber, tomato, red onion, olives and crumbled feta cheese and your choice of grilled sliced meat or chicken.

Other appetizer recipes you may love

Balsamic Caramelized Onion Hummus platter

Balsamic Caramelized Onion Hummus

Simone Claudia Fortuin
This balsamic caramelized onion hummus is a harmonious blend of sweet caramelized onions, nutty tahini and chickpeas, bright lemon, and a perfectly balanced sweetness and acidity, all rounded off with a hint of salt to elevate the flavors.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Soaking time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 30 minutes
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 8
Calories 281 kcal



  • 375 ml dried chickpeas
  • 5 ml baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 2 liters water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 30 ml crushed garlic

Balsamic Caramelized onion hummus

  • 375 grams onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped approximately 1 1/2 large onions
  • 45 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 45 ml granulated sugar
  • 30 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 60 ml tahini
  • 15 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 2.5 ml salt, or to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


Soaking the chickpeas

  • Place the chickpeas and baking soda in a large bowl and cover with cold water.
  • Leave to soak for at least 12 hours. This will allow the chickpea skins to soften before cooking.

Cooking the chickpeas

  • After the soaking time is completed, rinse the chickpeas thoroughly then add to a large pot with the bay leaves and crushed garlic.
  • Cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove the scum that comes to the surface.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer on medium high for 30-45 minutes until the chickpeas are tender but not mushy.
  • Strain the cooked chickpeas and remove the skins then set aside until required.

Making the caramelized onion hummus

  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over low heat and add the sliced or chopped onions.
  • Sauté the onions until it becomes soft and translucent, about 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally to stop the onions catching.
  • Add the sugar and allow the sugar to melt and the onions to caramelize on low heat until the onions are a rich brown.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and cook out for 5 minutes on low.
  • Place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and two thirds of the caramelized onions in the blender. Retain the remaining onions for the garnish.
  • Blend until smooth, adding cold water if required to gain the correct consistency.
  • Check the seasoning and add salt and black pepper as required.
  • Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with remaining caramelized onions and serve with crudites and crackers.


  • Don't add the baking soda / bicarb to the boiling water as it may make the chickpeas taste soapy. 
  • Rub off and remove the chickpea skins after boiling as it makes the hummus gritty.


Calories: 281kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 10gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 265mgPotassium: 472mgFiber: 8gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 35IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword dairy free, gluten free, high protein
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  • Reply
    December 16, 2023 at 9:58 am

    Sounds lovely with the caramelised onions. Never thought to do that before.
    Many thanks for the recipe. :))

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      December 21, 2023 at 12:36 pm

      You are most welcome Mary. Hope you get to make it over the festive season.

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