Have Some Hummus

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
  1. 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.
  2. Serve with mini whole-wheat pita and vegetables.

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