Hummus has long adorned the shelves of supermarkets and trendy health food establishments. A traditional Middle Eastern recipe, hummus has become a staple dish in the diets of the health conscious and with good reason.
This rich and creamy dip is not only exceptionally versatile in its flavorings and uses but also offers a great deal in terms of nutrition and health-giving properties.
Packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats, hummus is traditionally gluten-, dairy- and refined sugar-free, making it a great addition to any healthy diet.
The Benefits of Garbanzo Beans
The base of any traditional hummus is comprised of garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. These healthy little morsels are members of the legume family and have long been consumed by traditional cultures around the world. Particularly prominent in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and North African cooking, garbanzo beans are frequently added to rich soups and stews for texture, flavor and added nutrition. High in fiber and plant-based protein, garbanzo beans are a great source of valuable nutrition for those following vegetarian and vegan diets. In addition to this, garbanzo beans have been shown to balance blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol and reduce inflammation. As if that wasn’t enough, they are also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals and an excellent source of iron and B vitamins.
An essential component in hummus is the addition of oil. Traditionally, olive oil is used to give the hummus its rich and creamy consistency, and it’s not unusual to serve the hummus with an extra drizzle on top. A key contributor to the health of Mediterranean populations, extra-virgin olive oil is a powerhouse of health benefits. The key is to opt for organic extra-virgin olive oil where possible as this provides the greatest health benefits. A rich source of healthy fatty acids, olive oil is demonstrated to reduce inflammation, support heart health, fight cancer, prevent diabetes and nourish your skin.
Another staple Middle Eastern ingredient is tahini. Crucial to any good hummus tahini is the paste of ground sesame seeds and offers a whole host of nutritional value. Packed with protein and healthy fats, tahini is also an excellent source of minerals such as copper, iron and zinc. Tahini is also documented to lower cholesterol and can assist in balancing hormones.
One clove of garlic brings a real flavor punch to classic tahini. Raw garlic is touted for its medicinal properties and has been shown as an excellent preventive against both heart disease and cancer. Garlic is also a potent antifungal and antiviral ― ideal for warding off infections, colds and flu.
Lemon brings a zesty twist to the hummus, although this can be omitted if you prefer. Along with its refreshing flavor, lemon is packed with vitamin C for supporting a healthy immune system and is documented to lower inflammation and assist with weight loss.
Cumin is added to this hummus recipe to offer a subtle hint of flavor. Along with boosting the immune system, cumin has been demonstrated to aid digestion and fight infection.
If you are used to buying store-bought hummus, this recipe is worth a try. It is very simple, tasty and extremely versatile ― not to mention inexpensive to make.
This recipe gives the outline for a great basic hummus. From here, the possibilities and flavor combinations are limitless.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups cooked and drained organic garbanzo beans
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
For serving (optional)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh parsley
- Pine nuts
- Drain and rinse garbanzo beans and add to the food processor with garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin and salt.
- Blend on high speed to combine, forming a thick, chunky paste.
- Turn speed to medium and drizzle olive oil in slowly, then add the water. The hummus should be creamy with a little texture from the garbanzo beans.
- Check the hummus and add salt or lemon juice to taste.
- If you prefer a thinner consistency to the hummus, add additional water or olive oil.
- Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator. Scatter pine nuts and parsley on top if desired or drizzle with additional olive oil.
Suggestions for Making Different Hummus Versions
Once you have got the basics down, you can start adding additional flavors and experimenting with the hummus.
For some great savory and healthy additions to your hummus, why not try bringing a little sweetness with caramelized onion. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan over low to medium heat. Slice 1 medium red onion finely and add to the pan with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for 20 minutes or so, stirring often until sticky and caramelized. Add this to the blender with your initial hummus ingredients and blend to a thick paste. Continue the recipe as above.
For a sweet and spicy twist, try oven-roasting 2 red bell peppers for 35 minutes or until they are soft and collapse in the oven. Remove the skins and add to the processor with the initial ingredients as above. For a spicy twist, omit the cumin and replace with smoked paprika.
If you are feeling extra brave, why not make a sweet dessert hummus? Crazy as it sounds, chocolate-flavored hummus is a thing ― and it’s delicious. Omit the garlic and cumin and try adding 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the hummus mix. Replace the olive oil with 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Swap the lemon juice for maple syrup and add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. If you are feeling extra decadent, stir through some unsweetened chocolate chips.
Who knew hummus could be so much fun.
TOTAL TIME: 7 minutes COOK TIME: None PREP TIME: 7 minutes
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Calories: 380 Fat: 16g Carbs: 41g Protein: 16g