Hummus seems to be a very hot food trend right now. Everywhere I go I see it. Big markets, little mom-and-pop markets, the local farmers market, and so many restaurants are selling this spread. Not only is it super tasty and very versatile, but it’s a nutrition superstar.
Hummus is made from chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), which means it’s high in protein, fiber, and folic acid. We know that eating beans provides a number of health benefits, including reducing cholesterol levels, decreasing risk of cancer, and increasing satiety (making it easier to lose weight). The other main ingredients in hummus include tahini (heart-healthy monounsaturated fat-rich sesame seed paste), lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings.
There’s a whole variety of flavors in which hummus can now be found. Besides the original, plain type, you can also find spicy, roasted red pepper, garlic, roasted eggplant, sun-dried tomato and basil, and edamame (soy bean) flavored hummus. Each one is so good, it’s hard to pick a favorite, though I am a fan of spicy.
What to do with hummus?
The easiest use for hummus is as a dip for all sorts of colorful veggies, as well as whole-wheat pita bread. But, let’s think outside the box. How else can you use hummus?
- Use it as a spread on sandwiches and wraps instead of mayo. It’s especially good on a roasted vegetable sandwich.
- Try using is as a salad dressing. Thin it out with some water, broth, or lemon juice until it reaches the consistency of your liking.
- Mix it into some cooked grain, like quinoa or whole-wheat cous cous, fresh herbs and chopped veggies.
- Mix it with some salsa or guacamole and serve with some whole-grain tortilla chips.
- Make your own hummus. It’s actually very quick and easy and will impress your guests.
RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE HUMMUS
- 1 (15oz. can) garbanzo beans, drained and liquid reserved
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/8 tsp. Sweet paprika
- 2 tbs. lemon juice
- 2 tbs. nonfat plain yogurt or tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- pinch salt
- Optional: add one of the following: 1/2 cup roasted red pepper; 1/2 head roasted garlic; 1 cup roasted eggplant; 1/2 cup cooked soybeans; 3 sundried tomatoes and 2-3 basil leaves
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until pureed. If the mixture is too thick, add some of the reserved liquid from the garbanzo beans, until desired consistency is achieved.
- Serve with mini whole-wheat pita and vegetables.