Are you looking for a healthy and inexpensive alternative to your average high-fat sour cream and onion dip? Try hummus! Hummus is a pureed blend of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, tahini (a sesame seed paste), garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. It is believed to have originated in the Middle East and has been consumed there for thousands of years. Recognized even in ancient times for its nutritional value, hummus is an excellent source of protein, iron, vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6. Furthermore, hummus contains a fair amount of fiber from the chickpeas, as well as healthy unsaturated fats from the olive oil and tahini.
Traditionally, hummus is served as a dip for flatbread, such as pita bread, and may be served warm or cold. However, it is a delicious dip that can be eaten with anything from pita chips to raw vegetables. Some people even use it as a spread on their sandwiches as a healthy replacement for mayonnaise.
Hummus is available at most grocery stores. However, it is also easy to make. There are many variations of hummus recipes, so you can decide which you like best. Add roasted peppers, garlic or jalapenos to put your own spin on this nutritious treat.
Basic Hummus Recipe
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2/3 cup of tahini (optional)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
- In a food processor, combine the garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.
- Spoon into serving dish and serve with crackers; raw dip vegetables, such as carrots or celery; or pita bread.
Makes about 3 cups (Recipe can be halved.)
Recipe adapted by Rachel Stroud, EHC dietetic intern, from http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/hummus/