My name is Amy and I'm a hummus-aholic. You are, too? Excellent. Let's hang out.
I love hummus for several reasons, probably more reasons than I should. It's a beautifully nourishing, fueling food: highlights of its health benefits include nearly 3/4 of our recommended daily intake of manganese and folate, tons of filling plant fiber to support elimination and sustained fullness, protein which the body uses to rebuild tissue (and as a bonus, helps control blood sugar), and a cocktail of antioxidant vitamins (C, E, and beta-carotene) and antioxidant phytonutrients (quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and vanillic acid). <-- I include these because they're fun words and excellent tools to use when you're composing your next haiku about hummus.
Not to mention: the tahini [the sesame paste used to give hummus its signature creamy consistency] provides a beautiful source of protein and iron, plus calcium and other alkalizing minerals. The healthy mono- and poly- unsaturated fats are great for clear skin and shiny hair. (Hummus just keeps getting better, doesn't it?!).
Plus, hummus tastes like magic, so really, what more could we ask for?
I suppose a more budget-friendly way of having it regularly without buying the store-bought kind would be good. At the rate we go through it at home, I should probably just give Tribe and Wildwood Valley my banking information. It would save everyone a ton of time if they just directly withdrew $700 a month for dip. (It's not actually that much, but even considering how much we have spent on premade purees in past makes me a little anxious. Do you have foods you feel that way about? Anything that you find yourself constantly buying, and it's not until months later that you realize you've spent half your wages on coffee or chocolate covered almonds or burgers? It's a good wake up call, especially when the food items are things you can make at home.)
Like this! The answer - finally! - to the conundrum of homemade hummus. For whatever reason, batches I've made at home in past have never had quite the same consistency, flavor or zip of my favorite packaged ones. And a disappointing hummus is a hummus that is better off not happening. Would you agree?
I've made the mistake before of using slightly undercooked chickpeas in homemade hummus (which made for a chalky, really hard to digest version... it was gross), and I've made versions that have been too lemony, too garlicky, too bland, or too chunky. The Hummus Gods were on my side this time, though, and I think we've found a good ratio of chickpeas : tahini : spice.
To be honest, I am pretty sure the reason store-bought hummus is so perfectly creamy is some kind of combination of the oil used (not necessary in this recipe) and in the case of some brands, the extra emulsifiers added (again, none here). Surprisingly, this recipe has only 8 ingredients, takes about 2 minutes to prepare, and costs less than a quarter of the cost of a tub from the grocery store.
Nom nom nom. Let's dig in:
You can use canned or dried chickpeas for this recipe, whichever suits your preference and your time constraints. Wherever possible, look for organic chickpeas, and if you're using canned, look for a brand that doesn't use BPA (icky, leaching plastic) in the can lining. Eden Organics are a good option. Rinse these thoroughly in a colander before tossing in the blender.
If you're using dried beans, soak them overnight in a bowl of water. I tend to put these in just before bed, and then pop them on the stove to cook up first thing in the morning while I get ready for the day. Soaking not only helps to reduce cooking time (down to about 45 minutes from closer to 2 hours!), but it also makes chickpeas easier to digest. Toss a little salt in the water, too, to help with this process. Rinse them well, then combine in a pot with 2 parts water to 1 part chickpeas and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 40-45 minutes. Drain and cool a little before blending.
When it comes to tahini... because many sesame products come from regions of the world where pesticide use is not monitored, a certified organic option is your best bet. Look for unhulled tahini: this means the paste is made from unrefined seeds, which retain more of their nutritional value and are more easily registered by the body as a nourishing, whole food (read: fewer cravings, more satiety when we eat them). This same concept is true of whole grains vs. refined grains: a whole grain's bran, germ and endosperm (starch) are intact, whereas a refined grain is just the starch leftover once the healthy fats, vitamins and fiber of the germ and bran have been processed out. We're better off eating all of the beneficial parts of a plant, instead of just the sugary quick-burn stuff. Cool? Cool.
The next part is the most fun, and most simple: combine everything in the blender. Blend. Dance a little. Hummus is coming!!
As I have mentioned before, I am obsessed with my Vitamix and can't recommend them highly enough. Come up with whatever occasion you can and ask friends, family, co-workers, strangers, etc. to chip in to buy you one. ;) They're an investment, but so very worth it. (And hey, if you don't have one, no worries. Any food processor will do!)
Adjust the flavor for salt, lemon, garlic as you like; the ratios below are a pretty middle-of-the-road option. I am a fan of hummus with veggies, particularly low-starch veggies like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant (like these eggplant chips) or endive boats, as opposed to crackers, pretzels, pita, etc. Although chickpeas have tons of plant protein, they also have a pretty high complex carbohydrate count (in a good way!). For the sake of nutrient variety, digestion, weight maintenance and blood sugar, try to pair hummus with something lower on the starchy scale. (Pita + hummus is kind of like having bread on bread.)
Consider using it, too, in place of salad dressing, or alongside steamed veggies and brown rice in a grain bowl (like some of these recipes here).
But really, no matter how you
slice dip it, hummus is a veritable superfood. It's a great way to add some valuable nutrients, powerful fuel and deliciousness to meals and snacks, one teaspoon at a time.
Give this recipe a go and let me know what you think! Do these ratios work for you, or are you a more garlicky/lemony/spicy kinda person? How do you use use hummus?
- 1 3/4 cups (or 1 can) cooked chickpeas
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 5 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 2 pinches sea salt (or sel de mer granules)
- a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
- Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust for salt, garlic and lemon to taste.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.