Better than store-bought: Homemade red-pepper hummus.

Really: You HAVE to make this. If you like hummus—that wonderful, flavorful Middle Eastern spread—then you have to try making your own. Sure, there are tons of great store-bought versions out there. But go grab a can of chickpeas and a tub of tahini, and have at it. Promise: The homemade version of hummus is righteous.

I’ve added half a roasted red bell pepper to this hummus recipe, but you can do all kinds of things to make it your own. Skip the bell pepper and add more lemon juice. Throw in an extra clove of garlic if you want a stronger flavor. Add herbs of any type: basil, parsley, cilantro. Add 1/2 tsp. of cumin, or more to taste. Sprinkle a few red pepper flakes in for a kick. That’s the beauty of making hummus from scratch: You can add what you want, you know exactly what’s in it, and it’s cheaper than store-bought.

homemade roasted red pepper hummus

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded
1 14-ounce can chickpeas
2 Tbsp. tahini
1 large clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat broiler. Flatten bell pepper half with your palm; place on a piece of foil and broil until charred all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer pepper to a bowl and cover (this will "steam" the skin off and make it easy to peel). When cool, remove the skin and chop the pepper coarsely.

Drain the canned chickpeas, reserving the liquid. Add the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and roasted red pepper to a blender or food processor. Process until the mixture reaches your preferred thickness and consistency, adding a bit of reserved liquid a tablespoon at a time if needed.

Serve with pita chips—I absolutely love Stacy's sea salt baked pita chips—or wedges of fresh pita bread that you've warmed in the oven.