The popularity of hummus has been explosive over the last decade or so. Coming to us from the Middle East, this spread, dip, or paste is made from chickpeas and tahini and is usually eaten with pita and other flat breads. Throughout the Middle East, in Syria, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, and Lebanon, hummus spreads are popular not only because of their delicious taste, but because of extensive hummus nutritional value.
An Easy Hummus Recipe
This basic hummus recipe can easily be kicked up a notch to make a spicy hummus dip, roasted garlic hummus dip, or any other variety of hummus.
- One 15-oz can of chickpeas
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Half a large garlic clove, minced
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 t kosher salt
- 2-3 T water
- Dash of paprika
1/2 t ground cumin
- Combine tahini and lemon juice in a food processor for one minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, then process again for 30 seconds.
- Add olive oil, garlic, cumin, and salt. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom of bowl, and process for another 30 seconds.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas. Add half to the food processor and process for one minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, then add the rest of the chickpeas and process for one or two minutes, until the hummus is thick and smooth.
- If the hummus is to thick or still has tiny bits of chickpea, slowly add water while the food processor is on until the consistency is remedied.
- Scrape hummus into a bowl, drizzle with one tablespoon of water, sprinkle with paprika, and serve.
This spicy hummus dip is sure to be delicious, but is even more sure to provide excellent nutritional benefits. Let’s look at the major ingredients in hummus to see what hummus can do for our bodies.
Chickpeas do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fats and are an excellent source of protein. Chickpeas are also well known for preventing the build up of cholesterol in blood vessels and can help maintain correct blood sugar levels.
Tahini is rich in fat and calories, but it is used sparingly in most hummus recipes. The fat that tahini does contain is unsaturated, limiting some concerns about fat content. Like chickpeas, tahini is also high in protein and is a great source of calcium.
Olive Oil isn’t necessarily included in all hummus recipes, particularly in storebought varieties, but provides nutritional value in homemade hummus. High in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fats, olive oil helps regulate cholesterol and protect the heart from disease.
Garlic and Lemon Juice are full of antioxidants that reduce the body’s oxidative stress. They also improve immune system function and are beneficial for fighting bacteria and viruses.
Hummus, in general, is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which improve intelligence and help the body maintain heart health. Spicy hummus dips are stocked with iron, vitamin B6, manganese, copper, folic acid, and amino acids. The main amino acids in hummus, tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine promote quality sleep and even provide mood boosts.
Aside from being delicious, hummus is a good source of nutrients that can help contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Try hummus as a spread on sandwiches or wraps, as dressing for salad or pasta, as a dip for raw vegetables, or as a side dish for main courses to take advantage of the amazing benefits of one of America’s new favorite dishes.