Hummus

Dear Reader,

I am always amazed when I hear people say they don’t like hummus.  I love it so much, it’s hard for me to understand.  It is more than a staple for me; I eat it by the gallon.  I pack it in my kids lunches, serve it at parties and use it like mayonnaise!  It is one of the foods that I can’t believe is healthy.

Like most things, you can buy it in the grocery store already made or you can make it yourself.  I prefer to make it myself because it is so much less expensive and it doesn’t contain all of the preservatives and additives  you just don’t need.  Commercial hummus is not the hummus that I consider “healthy”.  However, if you’re choosing between hummus and french onion dip, of course hummus is better.  I am always looking for ways to cut the processing out of my diet and this is really an easy way to do it, so why not make it at home?

The ingredients and methods of preparing hummus vary.  I’ll give you my standard recipe below and you can alter it as your tastes prefer.  A lot of people don’t like hummus because they don’t like tahini (a paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds), found in the peanut butter isle of most grocers.  You can skip the tahini all together if you’d like (I skip it when I make it for my kids).  However, you’ll need to use a little extra olive oil.

Hummus is made by grinding chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and a few other ingredients into a creamy spread.  Chickpeas are low in saturated fat, sugar and cholesterol.  They are a good source of dietary fiber, protein, folate, manganese and copper.  1/4 cup of chickpeas has about 100 calories, 2 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber (total carbohydrate 8 grams) and 4 grams of protein.

Most people eat hummus using pita bread as a dipper.  Since I refrain from wheat, I eat it mostly with cut up veggies or corn tortilla chips.  My kids love a mixed veggie sandwich with hummus as the mayo.  Hummus is so versatile, you can use it almost anywhere you would normally need a dip or spread.  So far, the family favorite dipper at my house is: napa cabbage leaves (the leafy veggie pictured below).

Nothing fancy here, just lunch!

The photo above is a VERY typical lunch for me with traditional hummus and sun dried tomato hummus.  Notice the child’s size plate?  It’s on purpose!

Try this basic recipe and make it your own.  I suggest trying it with and without the tahini to see which you prefer.

Phat and Fit HUMMUS

2-cans of low sodium, organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed really well

however, cooking your own is best nutritionally, try this method – you will never use canned again

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of cold water

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of tahini (to taste)*

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)

*If you choose not to use tahini, replace with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

Optional add ins: 2 tablespoons of either: sun dried tomatoes, pitted olives, roasted red peppers, jalapeños or green chilies.  Or use your imagination!

Process all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor for about 5-7 minutes.  Time will vary, but you want a very smooth and creamy mixture when finished.  You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.  Drizzle the top with the remaining olive oil.

That was your basic recipe, but you can make it to your taste.  When I make it for my family, I do not use the tahini at all.

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