How much can you really do with a bunch or smashed-up chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, if that floats your boat) loaded into a container and served with vegetables? If you asked the folks at go-to hummus brand Sabra, they'd tell you there are at least 14 things you can do, and all of those things make up the 14 flavors of hummus the cultishly adored brand offers.
But not all Sabra is created equal. Which is why we sat down with every single flavor to offer the definitive ranking. You can thank us later when you don't ruin your Super Bowl party with Olive Tapenade.
14. Olive Tapenade
Here's the thing: It's pretty hard to mess this hummus up. But that's kinda what Olive Tapenade does. For me the blend of capers, olives, anchovies, and more olives is too overpowering and makes for a relatively sad hummus for those who hate any of the above. This is the Jacksonville Jaguars of the Sabra brand.
13. Roasted Pine Nut
Aside from Olive Tapenade, I would describe every Sabra flavor as "this is actually pretty good." Alas, one flavor has to be the worst of the best. But you know what they say: The person who finished dead-last in medical school is still a doctor. And the hummus that finishes second-to-last is still Sabra hummus, so it's aight. The little pine nuts -- bless their proverbial souls -- have a weird texture and overall come off as a little bland (kind of like me in high school). But the hummus succeeds in spite of the pine nuts. Also, it kind of looks like the center of an insect hive that someone set on fire and left out in the rain.
12. Lemon Twist
The lemon twist is very simple: It's classic hummus with a little citrus burst. But the citrus tastes a little… off? Really, if you want a classic hummus with a lemon zest vibe, you're better off just buying the classic flavor, plus a lemon. Lemons cost like 10 cents, and squeezing them is an excellent stress reliever. It makes me think of this Robert Johnson song. And also this Led Zeppelin rip-off.
11. Sun Dried Tomato
Something about sun-dried tomatoes just screams "mid-life crisis." I don't know why. But yeah. I just can't get over it. I picked them out. The aftertaste is OK, so it's not the worst. But it does require the removal of the sun-dried tomatoes... which is actually kind of fun, because you can throw them against the wall and watch them "race" to the floor.
10. Spinach and Artichoke
I know, I know -- vegetables. And the worst vegetables at that. But the greenery in the hummus gives it a refreshing taste that the other flavors don't really hit. It makes something healthy even healthier. So one thing about this one that definitely dropped it in the rankings is that sometimes the little center cluster is this weird green, and other times it’s bright red. It's probably due to the green/red peppers in there. But obviously it doesn't have this formula down pat. So yeah. It's not in the top 10. Oh wait, yes it is. Barely.
This will be controversial. I'm normally a man who enjoys simple pleasures: buttered rolls, starting fires, anything involving Vince Vaughn. But here I have to draw the line. The Sabra flavor variations are so subtle and minute that the appeal of the Classic's simplicity just doesn't do it for me. It's good, of course. But 90% of all these flavors are just the Classic anyway, but with a little bit extra in the middle. This doesn't have that. Come on. Live a little. Also, actually, Vince Vaughn sucks.
8. Roasted Garlic
This is tasty, but it makes your breath smell even worse than most garlic things for some reason. Like, if someone made dentures out of finely chopped garlic, put them in your mouth for two years, and then also made you brush your teeth with pesto every day. That's kind of the vibe here. Is it worth it? Depends on how many people you plan to make out with in your lifetime.
7. Basil Pesto
Speaking of pesto, this basil pesto number was a major dark horse in these rankings. I had never had it, and I wasn't expecting much. It really delivers that unmistakable basil-y, pesto-y flavor that really doesn't have another name. And it has a really light, citrusy aftertaste that clears your palate. The only downside is that this one looks kinda gross, like somebody plopped a handful of soil into the middle of the hummus. But hey, just close your eyes and open your mouth. That's generally good life advice, right?
The best flavors of hummus are the ones that stick a spicy core in the middle of that smooth, classic garbanzo flavor profile. The Jalapeño flavor definitely delivers a kick to your taste balls -- or taste buds, as they are more commonly called -- but here's where it falters: the jalapeños come in big chunks. So if you're one of those people who DOES NOT like to keep your additives and your hummus separated like kids on a middle-school dance floor, you're going to have a tough time blending this ish together. You get big bursts of spicy. Then you get big globs of hummus. But it's hard to get the two to coalesce.
5. Supremely Spicy
The kids might call this the most "lit" flavor, and they might be right. It's probably the spiciest boy of the bunch. The heat in question comes from pureed hot red peppers and a blanket of chili seeds. Here's the deal, though: The spicy center in this one extends way beyond the normal circumference of the interior fillings. So if you want to go with this, you really need to like the spicy stuff.
4. Tuscan Herb Garden
"Tuscan Herb Garden" sounds like something a bunch of suburban housewives would pretend-read in a book club that actually only exists as an excuse to get together and drink 12 glasses of pinot grigio. It's also probably the hummus they would put out on the table while they did that. But it's also delicious. You've got what food marketers would call a medley of Tuscan herbs and garden vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach among them)… and yeah, it tastes like a sentimental journey through the heart of one of Italy's most beautiful and life-changing regions. Or whatever.
3. Rosemary & Sea Salt
This is the highest-ranking non-spicy option, and for good reason. It delivers a distinct salty/savory taste that none of the flavors even come close to matching. Also, it just makes you seem kind of refined. Or like, as refined as you can be with store-bought hummus. "Hey do you want to come over and have some light appetizers, including rosemary and sea salt hummus?" See, that sounded classy. At least as classy as ⅖ of the actors who have played James Bond.
2. Roasted Red Pepper
For our penultimate selection, a hummus haiku:
Roasted Red Pepper
It’s almost the best Sabra
Chunks of pepper: good
OK one more!
It’s nice and spicy
But not overwhelming, yeah?
Me likes to eat it
Why did Chipotle come in as the top dog of grocery store hummus? If we are going to be totally honest: Distinguishing these hummuses (hummusi? Hummesons?) is pretty difficult. What Chipotle does is encapsulate all the things I like about the other flavors: It doesn't look weird, it's spicy, it has a good flavor-center/hummus ratio, and it doesn't make your breath smell. It also has a smoky aftertaste that reminds me a little bit of breathing in barbecue smoke at a tailgate, and I mean that in the best possible way.
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