Author: Veronica Hilliard
I love, love hummus. Not just like it. I LOVE IT! As I try to get away from preservatives and processed foods, I have been meaning to find the perfect hummus recipe. After all, hummus is a super food!
Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans in case you’re searching the shelves in vain) are rich in fiber and protein. They have more folic acid (folate) than most beans. They are high in magnesium and iron. Tahini (sesame butter) adds some calcium and more iron. Due to the chickpeas and tahini, hummus is high in Omega-3 and-6 fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids for brain function and health. They are good for skin, hair, bones, metabolism and reproductive health. Beans naturally contain protease inhibitors, saponins, and phytic acid, which the American Institute for Cancer Research says might be protective against cancer causing cell damage. And hummus is also a good source of monounsaturated fats. Call these the “good fats!” Hummus is cancer-fighting, brain food!
Check out the back of any store bought brand that adds in things like High Fructose Corn Syrup, a highly processed sugar, and Sodium Benzoate, an unnatural preservative, and I begin to feel a little leery of this “healthy” dip. Some also include preservatives, such as citric acid, sorbic acid, and phosphoric acid. These are generally recognized as safe by the FDA as long as they come from good manufacturing practices. Manufactured… what am I, a car? But as I look at the ingredients in my foods, I want to make sure that all of it is beneficial to my body. Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits. Sorbic acid is found naturally in the unripe Sorbus aucuparia fruit. Phosphoric acid is found naturally in meats and dairy. Why can’t I just get what I need from a natural source?
Cue delicious and healthy HUMMUS!
Hummus is traditionally made from a few ingredients but can be added to in so many wonderful ways. Start with a base of chickpeas, tahini, citrus (usually lemon) juice or vinegar, garlic, a little salt, and oil. Add spices of your choice and any number of other flavor enhancing ingredients. I’ve seen it with oregano, artichoke, roasted eggplant, roasted pepper, roasted garlic, olives, spicy chili peppers, lemon, pine nut, jalapeno, and sun-dried tomato. You can make it however it strikes your fancy. Today, just for you, I’ve made a simple hummus. It’s a good place to start.
Start by gathering your ingredients. Tahini (I get mine here. A little bit goes a long way so don’t freak out about the price.), chickpeas (canned or dried), oil of choice (I use extra virgin olive oil), ground cumin, salt, lemon juice, and garlic. I, of course, didn’t have lemons. But I did have grapefruit. Tomayto, tomahto. 🙂
Next step: Shoo your cat off the counter. I can’t work in these conditions!
In researching recipes (what, not everyone does that?) I found one that called for whipping the tahini and citrus juice first. I think that this is a key step to making beautifully smooth hummus. Try it next time and see what you think.
Next add everything else.
Then add the drained and rinsed chickpeas 1/2 first. Give it a whirl. Then add the rest. Blend it in the processor until it’s creamy. If you’re having trouble at the end, a little drizzle of water can work it all out.
Garnish and Mmmm! Mine has a little paprika and cilantro. Easy. Delicious. Homemade. You know what went into it and it’s good for you. Can’t get much better than that.
Basic Hummus Recipe: Modified from this one.
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup any tart citrus juice or vinegar
- 1/2 to 1 large garlic clove, minced (depending on how much you love garlic)
- 2 tablespoons healthy oil, plus more for serving (Canola oil is not healthy)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 15-ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water
- Garnish (paprika, herbs, olives, etc)
Blend together tahini and citrus juice. Add garlic, oil, salt, and cumin. Blend until incorporated. Add half the chickpeas. Blend. Add the other half. Blend until smooth, adding water slowly while blending if it needs a little help. Scoop out and serve!
Now, if you want to skip all this (it’s easy, I promise!) and buy something from the store, please avoid all the unnecessary disgusting sugars and preservatives. Check your labels and know your ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. The only brands that I’ve found that don’t use those nasty additions are Wild Garden Hummus for on the go, and Fantastic Foods Hummus Mix.
How to eat hummus. You know, other than dipping your whole arm into it and licking it off? What, that’s just me again?
Try it on crackers or your favorite sandwich. Dip all the veggies! Add your favorite homemade broth or some water until it reaches a consistency you like and make salad dressing. Spread it on beef or fish. Any way you try it, it’s good… and super good for you.
How do you eat your hummus? What have you added that makes it really pop?