Looking for the perfect dip or spread to elevate your snack game? Why not kick it old school, like thousands-of-years ‘old school,’ with hummus. The tasty treat, hailing from the Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean regions, has been a staple of the local diets for as long as history can remember due to its delicious taste and nutritional benefits.
Hummus’ main ingredient, chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), are amongst the all-stars of the legumes family. They are low in saturated fat, sodium and sugar—the stuff you should avoid—and high in protein, fiber, folate and manganese—the good stuff. The protein provides the fuel you need to keep your energy levels up. The fiber content can keep you feeling fuller longer, and can boost your heart health. The folate helps prevent free radicals from damaging cells in the body (think cancer prevention). And lastly, the manganese aids in strengthening bones, healing wounds, and supporting a healthy metabolism.
Hummus isn’t just nutritious, it’s extremely versatile. It basically tastes good with everything. Enjoy it with sliced veggies like peppers, cucumbers and carrots, or with pita bread or pretzels. Spread it on your sandwich or use it in chicken and tuna salad as a mayo alternative. It’s so easy to get creative with this simple, one-step-prep food.
Now that you’ve read all about this snack-time superstar, are you craving a little of your own? We’ve got you covered! Here’s one of our favorite ways to make hummus (count a quarter cup as one SmartCarb if you’re on the Nutrisystem program):
1 1/2 cups canned or boxed chickpeas (drain, rinse, save liquid)
1 clove of garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
Sea salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
1. Toss the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend.
2. At your discretion, and only if necessary, add saved liquid, a little bit at a time, to achieve desired creamy consistency.
3. Now let’s get flavorful! Try these add-ons to take your hummus to the next level:
For a roasted flavor, try diced, roasted red peppers.
Give it an extra kick by adding a hot sauce of your choosing, like Sriracha or Habanero salsa.
Add a Latin twist by replacing the lemon with lime (save some to drizzle on top) and add fresh, chopped cilantro. You can even tailor hummus to different cuisines. For some tex-mex flair, add cayenne, paprika and cumin. Looking to impress with a little zest? Top your hummus with Chimichurri sauce—a parsley and cilantro zinger—for a sophisticated taste.
Happy hummus eating!