I've always loved hummus, but until recently had never made it myself, instead relying on the store-bought versions. It's surprisingly easy to prepare (ready in 5 minutes or less, seriously!), is wallet-friendly and is incredibly tasty. In fact, after making my own, I don't think I'll ever go back to the pre-made stuff!
Hummus (the Arabic word for chickpea) is a creamy vegetarian dip or spread made from - surprise! - chickpeas. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are a legume with a mild, slightly nutty flavor. They've been around for a very long time - consumption of chickpeas dates back to almost 10,000 years ago!
Although hummus is traditionally a Middle Eastern dish, this ancient food continues to gain in popularity in many other areas of the world.
This classic Mediterranean dish is packed with healthy nutrients. Chickpeas are a great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein. Tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, is rich in minerals, vitamin E, healthy fats, and amino acids. Hummus is also a good source of iron, vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6. It has a low glycemic index, so it helps keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Hummus is also high in fiber, so it can help keep cholesterol levels in check.
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Juice (and zest, if desired) from 1 large lemon
1/4 cup water
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons tahini (stir to remix any natural oils that may have separated)
salt and pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally.
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.
There are so many ways to perk up traditional hummus. If you prefer a spicier version, add a small red chili (chopped) or a pinch of cayenne pepper. You can also add a little cumin, paprika or other exotic spice to kick it up a notch. Fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, or basil (or even pesto) pump up the flavor. Or you can add roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, olives, pine nuts or walnuts. The possibilities are endless!
Tip: Hummus can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week and frozen for up to 3 months.
Nutrient Analysis per 2 tablespoon serving:
4 g Fat (0 g trans, 0 g sat, 2 g mono)
0 mg Cholesterol
103 mg Sodium
12 g Carbohydrate
3 g Fiber
3.3 g Protein
Hummus is incredibly versatile! Serve it as a dip with raw veggies, whole wheat pita chips or whole grain crackers. Spread it on a sandwich or wrap for a healthier alternative to mayonnaise. Use in place of dressing to create a Greek-inspired salad. Mix into tuna salad to create a Mediterranean version.