Counting macros? Eating clean? Tired of the same mealtime routine? If you haven’t jumped on the hummus bandwagon yet, you’re in for a ride.

 

Hummus is a simple spread or dip usually made from boiled and pureed chick peas (garbanzo beans), sesame tahini (ground sesame seeds, or sesame butter), lemon, garlic, olive oil, and seasonings. The recipe originated in the Middle East, and sure enough if you visit different ethnic restaurants, you'll discover that each region does their hummus a little differently. The quality, type, and proportion of the ingredients yield different and interesting results.

A trip to your local grocery store will reveal no shortage of hummus; there are dozens of brands and hundreds of assorted flavors, sizes, and prices. You’ll find culinary herbs like parsley or mint; other beans like white beans; add-ins like roasted red pepper or artichokes… the variations are endless. I’ve even tasted chocolate hummus! Try a few that sound good, but of course none compare to the one you make yourself: it’s seasoned to your own taste!

Hummus is a superb source of protein, along with plenty of fiber, complex carbs, and heart healthy fats to boot. Its macro balance makes it ideal for stabilizing blood sugars and avoiding that spike that often results from sugary or low-fiber snacks. The ingredients in hummus make it a good source of iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin C.

 Here is a quick and easy basic hummus recipe.

 You Will Need:

1 can chick peas (drained, liquid reserved)

1/4 cup sesame tahini

3 cloves garlic

juice of 1-2 lemons

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

fresh parsley

salt, pepper, and cumin to taste (note: you may not need salt because the liquid that the chick peas are canned in is already salted.)

Directions:

1) In a blender, puree the drained chick peas and remaining ingredients. Add reserved liquid slowly until desired consistency is reached.

 

Serves 6

Per serving (100 grams): 

140 calories

9 g fat

1 g saturated fat

0 mg cholesterol

460 mg sodium

13 g carbs

3 g fiber

2 g sugar

5 g protein

6% DV vitamin A

20% DV vitamin C

4% DV calcium

8% DV iron

 Make it your own by adding in your favorite ingredients, such as:

- Sun-dried tomatoes

- Cooked and chopped spinach

- Chopped up seasoned roasted veggies (great use for veggie leftovers)

- Herbs of your choice (fresh or dried)

- Caramelized onions

- Roasted peppers

- Marinated artichokes

- Avocado

- Spices like paprika, chipotle powder, sumac, etc.

 

Some ideas to get your creativity flowing:

1) Mexican Hummus: Puree a can of rinsed, drained black beans with 1/2 cup spicy salsa, 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of 2 limes, 1-2 cloves of garlic, salt, and chili powder. Thin out with water to desired consistency.

2) Delicate Italian Hummus: Puree a can of rinsed, drained white beans with 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup tahini, a handful of fresh basil leaves, 3 cloves of roasted garlic, the juice of 2 lemons, salt, and white pepper. Thin out with water to desired consistency.

3) Curried Hummus: Follow basic recipe above but omit the tahini and bean liquid, and add 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1 tbsp curry powder. Add more coconut milk to desired consistency.

 

 

Most people use hummus as a dip for pita wedges, flatbread, raw veggies, chips, pretzels, mini toasts, crisp breads, crackers, or rice cakes. That’s a good start, but I bet you never thought of using hummus like this…

• In a whole grain pita with lettuce, tomato, and chopped raw veggies 

• As a mayonnaise or pesto stand-in, on a roasted vegetable sandwich

• Thinned out and used as a salad dressing

• On a slice of bread or bagel, topped with red onion, sprouts, lettuce, tomato

• In a wrap with tabouli (another Middle Eastern salad) or falafel

• As a sauce -- try tossing with piping hot noodles and freshly roasted or steamed vegetables

• As a topper for brown rice or other whole grains

• As a mayo stand-in on your favorite sandwich or in tuna salad 

• Mixed with chopped olives, cooked chopped portabello mushrooms, and roasted red peppers for a chunky side-dish

 

• Right off the spoon -- a great pre- or post-workout snack!

 

by Dina Aronson, MS, RDN

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