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The Best Hummus Recipe. Ever.

Hummus:  The Recipe.  The Answers.

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HummusI never knew what the big deal was with hummus.  That’s all I ever heard…eat hummus.  I didn’t think it sounded all that great.  Then I tried this recipe, and now I can’t get enough of the stuff.

The lettuce in the picture is not just to be pretty.  I like to roll the leaves up and dip in the hummus.  Or, swipe some hummus on the leaves and roll them up (cool for a party platter).

What is Hummus?


Hummus is a creamy dip or condiment made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and, often, cumin. It originated from the Levant (a large portion of the Eastern Mediterranean).  Alternative names are hommus and houmus.  The full Arabic name for the hummus is hummus bi tahini (chickpeas with tahini).

It is a good protein snack, contains healthy fats, is high in fiber, contains key nutrients like zinc, iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, betaine, choline, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and B vitamins like folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6, and also includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Eating hummus is has a number of health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, managing blood sugar levels, helping with irritable bowel syndrome, reducing cancer risks, lowering cholesterol, boosting energy, and more.   (See 10 Reasons to Eat Hummus Every Day).

What Hummus Tastes Like

The texture is creamy and smooth, but not-quite-silky.  The taste is slightly nutty and slightly starchy.  The flavors of garlic, lemon, and olive oil come through, and play well together, each enhancing (not overpowering) the other.  After you eat and swallow a bite, the flavors are the kind that make your taste buds go WOW, and crave another bite.  Because it packs such a big flavor punch, and is high in fiber and good fats, it is very satisfying.

About Hummus ingredients


Are they chickpeas or garbanzo beans?

They are the same.  Chickpea, or chick pea, is the most widely used name.  The current form of the word garbanzo comes directly from modern Spanish, and is commonly used in regions of the United States with a strong Mexican or Spanish influence.  There are different types of chickpeas.  The variety of chickpea used in hummus is Kabuli. (source:  Chickpea - Wikipedia) Chickpeas are one of the 10 Foods That May Help Those With Diabetes (and hypoglycemia).

Should chickpea skins be removed? (And how to do it)

I prefer the skins removed.  It takes about 15 minutes sitting in my chair watching TV to do it.  But they don't have to be removed.  Here are the pros for each method, and the how-to.

Pros of removing skins
  • Makes a smoother hummus
  • There is no nutritional value lost by removing the skins because all they are composed of is cellulose, an insoluble fiber (chickpeas still retain all the soluble fiber).
  • The cellulose (the skin), is extremely difficult for some people to digest. The unpleasant, sometimes painful, result is frequent flatulence, which of course varies from person to person.

Pros of leaving skin on
  • Faster and easier
  • It doesn't affect the flavor, and many like the more "rustic" texture.
  • Retains the insoluble fiber, cellulose, which aids in defecation (but also difficult for some people to digest and causes flatulence - see Pros of removing skins, above).

How to remove the skins
Canned chickpeas have a slippery skin that separates easily from the pea.  Drain (reserving liquid for the recipe), and rinse the chickpeas. Hold the pea between your index finger and thumb and pinch - the skin slips right off.

What is tahini?

Everyone knows what peanut, almond, and cashew butters are. Tahini is sesame seed butter.  Also known as Ardeh, it is a condiment made from raw, or toasted, ground hulled sesame seeds.  It is served as a dip on its own or as a major component of hummus, baba ghanoush, and halva.



I buy the 16 oz. size Kevala organic (raw, not toasted, but many use the toasted) tahini online at Amazon for about $9.  Tahini can also be found in your local store.  After opening, it keeps well in the fridge for months.  If the cost seems high to you, each recipe uses just  2 tablespoons so it makes a lot of hummus.  You can find non-organic cheaper, or make some yourself using a food processor, but it will be slightly grainy because commercially processed tahini is made with special equipment to get it silky smooth.  If you want to give it a go anyway, do a search for "tahini recipes".


HUMMUS RECIPE

Makes approx 2 cups
Hummus prep
15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
4 tblsp. lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
2 tblsp. tahini
1 clove garlic*
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil, DIVIDED
Paprika (preferably Sweet Hungarian)
2 tblsp. minced parsley
See "Options and garnishes", below

Directions:
1.  Drain beans, reserving 1/3 c. liquid.  Rinse beans and remove skins. [see Should chickpea skins be removed? (And how to do it), above].
2.  Put drained beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, and 2 tblsp. olive oil in a food processor.
3.  Process for 2 minutes, scraping bowl once or twice.
4.  Add 1 tblsp. reserved liquid and process. If necessary, add more a bit at a time until hummus is the consistency you want, and process 2-4 more minutes while you clean up, scraping the bowl once or twice.
5.  Taste for salt, processing in more if desired.
6.  Scrape into a bowl, drizzle with remaining 2 tblsp. olive oil and sprinkle with parsley and paprika.  Best served warm or at room temperature.

* I use up to 2 large, or 3 small cloves because I love garlic.

Options and Garnishes (choose one or any combination):
  • Sprinkle top with sliced black olives.
  • Add 1 tsp. cumin at beginning of processing.
  • Reserve 2-3 tbsp. whole chickpeas and sprinkle on top.
  • Add 3/4 cup roasted red peppers on step 4, before adding reserved liquid from chickpeas (add reserved liquid only if necessary). There are bottled roasted red peppers, or roast your own: Roasted Red Peppers by Ina Garten

Serving Suggestions and Storage

Serve...
  • With crackers, chips, and veggies - anything "dippable".
  • As a sandwich spread instead of mayo.
  • A dollop beside steak, chicken, pork, or fish.
  • A dollop beside grilled vegetables, instead of butter.
  • Spread on leaf lettuce and roll up, or before rolling up, add, in any combination: thinly sliced meats, sliced olives, shaved veggies (using a parer) - use your imagination!
  • Or use tortillas, instead of the leaf lettuce in the previous suggestion.
Storage
Keep covered in the refrigerator up to 7 days.  You can freeze hummus, if you're not going to eat it up before then (although I never have that problem).  Here is a good article on storage and freezing if you want more information:  About.com, Middle Eastern Food, Can You Freeze Hummus?

4 comments:

  1. This sounds great! I've heard the same things about hummus, but haven't brought myself to try it. You have inspired me!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Sheri, I do hope you try it. Don't buy the store bought stuff! I added more info to this blog if you want to come back and check it out.

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  2. It took me a bit to try hummus but like it now. Your recipe sounds delicious. As a solo person, I eat out a lot and sometimes my cravings are for something at home. For how long will this keep in the refrigerator?

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    Replies
    1. Good question, and I'll add the info to the blog, too! The recipe makes about 2 cups, and I usually eat it all within 4-5 days; once it was in the fridge about 6 days before it was eaten up and it was still good. Upon further research, I find up to 7 days in the fridge is okay. If you are not going to use it up, you can freeze it. It may possibly have a bit of change in texture and flavor, but from what I have read it is normal and minimal. Here is a good place for info on storing and freezing hummus: http://mideastfood.about.com/od/tipsandtechniques/f/Can-You-Freeze-Hummus.htm

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Your comments and opinions are always appreciated!