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Food Focus: Why You Need More Hummus In Your Life

To some of us, “hummus” may sound foreign—and that’s because it is! We have ancient Levantine and Egyptian cultures to thank for this healthy and versatile invention. Its great savory taste and filling nature make it a fun snacking option that should not be foreign in your diet. Let’s learn more about hummus!

What is Hummus?

Hummus is a smooth and creamy dip or spread for veggies and grains made from mostly pureed garbanzo beans (also called “chickpeas”), tahini, and olive oil. Dating back to the 1200s, hummus has been popular in many Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and North African cuisines for centuries. Fortunately, over the years it has worked its way into western diets because it has numerous health benefits.

What does it look and taste like?

Garbanzo beans make up the majority of traditional hummus recipes. You will see most recipes call for canned garbanzo beans, primarily for convenience purposes, but soaking your own beans works too! This tan bean is nutty in both flavor and appearance, and when pulverized creates a flavorful spread. Depending on the country where it is consumed, the consistency and texture may vary.

Why is it good for me?

Though the garbanzo bean may be small, it is quite mighty. Providing about 7g of protein per ½ cup serving, garbanzo beans are a great meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans. It should be noted that while a great source of plant protein, garbanzo beans are low in several essential amino acids and should therefore be consumed with complementary foods like rice to achieve protein completion in the diet.
In addition to protein, garbanzo beans are high in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, while low in sodium and cholesterol. Its amazing taste and health profile make it a great substitute for your dipping and spread needs in comparison to options like ranch, cream cheese, and others that are high in fat and calories!

How do I make hummus?

A basic hummus recipe can be thrown together fairly quickly and effortlessly with just a few ingredients and a food processor.

  • 15-ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for topping
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • kosher salt, to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Process until combined and smooth.
  2. Salt to taste. (Add 1-2 Tbsp of water to reach desired consistency.)
  3. Scrape contents of food processor into a bowl. Chill. Top with additional olive oil and sprinkle with paprika before serving.
Aside from this traditional recipe, hummus can also be made using different types of beans like white beans or edamame as the base. You can also experiment with adding veggies like roasted red pepper or avocado to your hummus for more interest and nutrient value!

What are some great healthy hummus recipes?

  • 7 Layer Mediterranean Dip
  • Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Hummus Buddha Bowl
  • Hummus Pizzas
  • Tostadas with Smoky Sweet Corn Hummus
  • Roasted Chickpea Salad with Hummus Dressing
If you’re not a regular hummus eater already, hopefully you’ve been convinced to give it a try. Not only is it nutrient-packed, but it’s a quick and easy healthy snack and appetizer to bring anywhere!
Sources: Protein in Vegetarian and Vegan Diets – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, How to Make Great Hummus – Serious Eat, Health Benefits of Garbanzo Beans – Livestrong

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