Summer is hummus season

hummusLight

Hummus is a great summer food.  You can dip vegetables, pita bread or crackers for a snack or part of a hot weather lunch or dinner.  Use it in a wrap with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh basil.  Whip in some extra olive oil and use it as a dressing for salad or a grain or pasta salad.  Serve with roasted vegetable slices or kebabs, using zucchini, eggplant, onions, mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes.

Some random hummus facts:

  1. Hummus originated in the Mediterranean region, and it’s been around for a long time.  The ancient Greek philosophers Socrates and Plato both mentioned hummus.
  2. The main ingredient is mashed chickpeas (garbanzo beans), along with tahini (sesame seed butter), salt, olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
  3. There’s no official recipe.  Saying “hummus” is like saying “spaghetti sauce”.  There are plenty of variations and family favorites, but the key ingredients remain the same.
  4. Eat it with a spoon, or as a dip for veggies or crackers or in a wrap with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and mint.
  5. Hummus is for everyone: vegans, vegetarians, meat eaters.
  6. It one of the few foods that combines nuts (sesame seeds) with legumes (chickpeas).  Result: quality protein, along with plenty of other nutrients.

Calories and fat will vary depending on the ratio of chickpeas to tahini, which is higher in fat.  For a simple traditional recipe, 2 tablespoons has about:

  • 50-60 calories
  • 3 – 3.5 grams fat
  • 2 grams protein
  • 2 gram fiber
  • many other vitamins and minerals

These days you can buy ready-to-eat hummus in lots of flavor variations.  No more mashing chickpeas and blending ingredients.  But if you enjoy making foods from scratch, hummus really isn’t that difficult.  And by making your own you can fine-tune your preferred flavors.  A little cayenne, a bit more tahini, or more garlic, perhaps some cilantro or mint.  It’s really up to you.

Basic Hummus

  • 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzos, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup tahini (preferably roasted not raw sesame seeds)
  • juice of one lemon, or to taste
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced fine
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • Optional: 2 TB minced cilantro, or 1 TB minced fresh mint or fresh basil
  • Optional: pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste

Process the chickpeas in food processor, add garlic, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice.  Process briefly until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl.  Mix in the olive oil, salt and optional seasonings.

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