Monday, February 14, 2011

Hummus - the good old standby

I’ve posted some of my newer dips we’ve been eating over here, but not the good old favorite standby that we always have on hand.  We love hummus!!!  All three of us do in fact.  Charlie is just as passionate about hummus as we are.  We barely get two bites into a meal before he refuses to eat anymore until there is hummus mixed in (or tahini - that works almost as well).  In fact, many days we just skip the first two plain bites of food and smother it with hummus from the beginning.

But aside from Charlie, William and I love having hummus on hand for snacking on veggies, and sometimes just eating by the spoonful.  (Yea, it’s that good.)  We both used to eat loads and loads of chips and hummus (still the favorite way to have it), but my days of gorging on chips are over and I largely favor carrots and hummus.  William will still consume some corn chips and hummus though.

So here’s what I love about this tasty snack:

Versatile!!  Eat it with carrots, chips, pita squares, cucumbers or smother your entire plate with hummus (like Charlie does).  Sometimes I’ll even add a dollop of hummus to a soup that I’m eating (lentil soup in particular).  Slather it on some good whole grain bread, top with lettuce, tomato, bean burger (if you have it), and any other veggies. Do whatever you want with it!

Cheap!!!  When you make it yourself that is….  Our income certainly would not support our hummus habit, should we ever have to buy pre-made hummus again.  And given hummus’s other health virtures which I will sing in a moment, I’d hate to cut back on our hummus, just because it was expensive.  So homemade it is!  Plus you can tailor make your hummus to your exact tastes and needs.  At my Kroger a 1lb bag of dried chickpeas is $1.65.  Tahini is the only other “expensive” ingredient in here, which can have a huge range in price, but I can find it for $7/2lb tub.  For the salt, garlic, lemon juice and 6 Tbsp of tahini used per 1lb bag of chickpeas, I figure you’re looking at $2, maybe $2.50 for ingredients.  And a 1lb bag of chickpeas will make up 7 cups of hummus!  If you find good, store bought hummus for $2.50/7cups, please let me know!!

Healthy!!!  Chickpeas are a legume and are high in protein and low in fat!  But that’s just the beginning.  One cup of chickpeas has 12g of fiber, 15g of protein, 26% RDA iron, 71% RDA folate, 84% RDA manganese, and 28% RDA phosphorus, just to name a few of the high points.  Plus, they have satiety value “staying power” to help you feel full.  When I eat 1/2cup of hummus on my salad for lunch, it helps me feel fuller for longer than if I’d just eaten a veggie salad.
So recipe already…

1/2lb dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked, cooled
1/2cup lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp tahini
cold water to thin as desired

Place all ingredients in food processor, and mix until desired smooth texture.  Water will aid in getting a smoother texture but will also make it thinner, so it’s a trade off.

Couple of things you’ll notice:  No oil!  You can of course add olive oil to it, but with every Tbsp you add, the calories go up obviously.  Since we don’t use this as one of our main sources of fats (although you could if you needed that to suit your dietary style), I don’t bother with the oil.  In fact I use hummus as a substitute for the more calorific salad dressings.  Salad dressings are generally all fat, and have little to no nutrients, fiber or protein, unlike chickpeas.  If I’m going to consume fat, I’d rather do it in a more pleasing and healthy way (I love nuts!). Besides, it tastes pretty darn good without olive oil, so try it first!

Also notice the dried chickpeas.  You can in fact use canned, but in my opinion the quality of your hummus will diminish DRASTICALLY!!  And I say that in all seriousness.  There are some things for which canned chickpeas work fine - and I do NOT believe hummus is one of them.  Also cooling the chickpeas and using cold water in the recipe make for a better result too.

One last thing to mention that has to do with versatility, is that while I make our hummus with less tahini than some recipes call for because I like reduce the fat I’m getting, tahini is a pretty good way to consume fats.  So if your family needs more fat in your lean diet, or you have a child who needs more fat consumption, go a little more heavy handed with the tahini, or mix in extra tahini to the portion of hummus you are giving your lean folks and leave it out of the main bowl.  I would favor doing that over adding olive oil, as tahini (sesame seeds) generally have more nutrients in them than olive oil - so more bang for your fat calories.
Tell me what you think if you try it!  Off to have some hummus and carrots…


  1. I had Hummus on my salad today for lunch! (of course with balsamic vinegar mixed in, a tasty addition to the salad) I felt full till I got home :)
    I must confess, up until now, I'd been using Dried Chickpeas, doing the whole soak overnight+boil thing, but this past weekend I was in a rush and wanted to try cans. The consistency was different...I had to add more water to thin it. The taste was slightly different. I can't say that it was *worse*, but as long as I had the time, I would stick to dried as you recommend. However, for my unsophisticated palate, the cans were a decent alternative when you want "hummus in a hurry" (less than 30 min including clean up)!

    Yay hummus! Thank you for teaching me this! =)


  2. Oh! PS: refrigerating mixed hummus overnight tastes better the next day and days beyond. Something about it sitting there longer makes it taste better :)

  3. Yay for hummus and balsamic vinegar! What a lucky day when I stumbled upon that combination! (And I secretly feel justified knowing there is someone else out there now who likes it enough to voluntarily eat it on their own!)

    I'm glad the cans of chickpeas worked for you. They certainly DO take up less time and there are many days when I wish my one discerning palate thing didn't fall on fresh/canned chickpeas. :-)

    And I am so glad when I can pass on a recipe that someone really enjoys!