Quick Bites: No Ho-Hum Hummus

Is hummus Middle Eastern or Greek? No one quite knows for sure but this ancient recipe has traveled from Mesopotamia to the mainstream in recent years as a meal or popular snack.  In fact, the New York Times reported that the hummus industry has grown from just a $5 million business 20 years ago to one that totaled $530 million from U.S. food retailers in 2010. It’s a booming wealth of health!

Made from chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini (sesame seed paste), hummus is a healthy, low-sodium food. I know what you’re thinking…Chickpeas?! Chickpeas are a good source of protein and fiber and can help you feel full! Hummus also has omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to improve intelligence and maintain a healthy heart. As you can see, hummus is a great choice for helping to maintain (or even get to) a healthy weight.

Hummus is often used as a dip for pita or vegetables BUT it also makes a low-calorie substitute for mayo on sandwiches or mayo-based salads. Feeling adventurous? Try adding it to a baked potato instead of sour cream.

But…if you’ve only ever had store-bought hummus…boy, are you missing out! You might be surprised how easy (and inexpensive) hummus is to make at home and how simple it is to change the flavors with healthy ingredients!  With a blender and a few fixings, you can have homemade hummus almost as quickly as you can open up a store-bought tub!

To get started you’ll need:
1 can of drained chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 peeled and mashed garlic clove
1/3 cup of tahini (this can be pricey at first, but it will last several batches of hummus)

Ready for this? Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If your hummus is too thick, add water one tablespoon at a time. You can play around with texture and flavors as well; try adding a little more or a little less of the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice to see how you like it best. Consider adding a handful of fresh herbs like basil, parsley or a leafy vegetable like spinach. You can even swap out the chickpeas for edamame or fava beans or go half chickpeas and half edamame for a flavor change.

We are lucky that  this delicious dip with ancient origins in other parts of the world has come to us in America, and that it is so easy to adapt the flavors to find something that you like. From peanut butter to sun-dried tomato, there’s a favorite flavor for you and your blender to discover.

Don’t want to miss a crumb of Quick Bites? Check out our  Quick Bites archive for extra servings of our healthy cooking videos and articles.

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