How we tested
We sampled six brands of chickpeas, both plain (drained and rinsed) and pureed with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil in our Restaurant-Style Hummus. None of our tasters could tolerate a bland bean, especially eaten straight from the can. Samples with less than 250 mg. of sodium per 1/2 cup weathered criticism as polite as “aqueous flavor” and as blunt as “very bland,” “no taste,” and just plain “dull.” Worse was the batch whose distinctly “metallic,” “bitter” flavor couldn’t be masked by the other assertive ingredients in hummus. Another brand suffered similar censure, though a few tasters found them pleasingly “creamy.” Much more appealing were the “tender,” “well-seasoned” beans of our runner-up and the particularly “creamy” and “al dente” “golden pearls” from our favorite brand.