Hummus is a huge part of my life. I make it all the time. It's pretty much a staple in my kitchen. And I'm not a fan of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so the other quick, easy, cheap, vegetarian alternative for a brown bag lunch is a hummus sandwich. I learned to make hummus at my first job working in a vegetarian cafe. I became a pro at it pretty quickly, making lots of batches for the hummus wraps, hummus sandwiches, and salads topped with a scoop or two of the chickpea puree.
At my next job at a health food store with a wonderful deli, I had to use my awesome hummus making skills to make eight gallons of the stuff for a group of over 200 swimmers after a big race in the Hudson River. Apparently, the race coordinators wanted to give the swimmers a healthy protein-packed post race snack, and I was told later that the swimmers loved it...there were hardly any leftovers.
I make my hummus with pretty much the traditional ingredients seen in the recipe below. Feel free to use more or less garlic (or roast your garlic beforehand to make a nice roasted garlic hummus), more or less spices, or even add a roasted red pepper to the food processor while you're pureeing it to make a lovely roasted red pepper hummus. It's up to you and it will take a few tries to make the hummus just the way you like it. I make hummus sandwiches all the time, usually stuffing a whole wheat pita with hummus, cucumber, and a bit of baby spinach. You could also use the hummus as a tasty dip for vegetables.
1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 clove of garlic (sometimes I use 2, but I really like garlic)
3 tbs tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup water (really, just add the water in small batches until you get the desired consistency)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of sea salt (you may need more or less, depending on your taste)
Put the garlic clove into a food processor and process it until it's nicely chopped. Add the chickpeas and the rest of the ingredients and some of the water and process. Add more water if it's too thick. Keep processing the hummus until it's nice and smooth. Put into a bowl or container and use it for whatever your heart desires.