|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
It is true that black beans are not usually included in Middle Eastern cuisine and chickpeas or fava beans are the more commonly found pulse crops. In the United States, however, black beans are far more likely to be found on the menus of Mexican, southwestern, and Latin food restaurants. Like all legumes, black beans are healthy, loaded with antioxidants and have a great flavor and texture. So, while not traditional, they can still make a nice alternative to chickpeas in a hummus recipe.
For the purists among us, the word hummus does indeed come from the Egyptian term for chickpea. And the basic hummus recipe, common throughout the countries of the Middle East, typically consists of pureed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Pre-packaged versions can be found in most large grocery stores across North America.
Typically hummus is used as a dip for pita or other flatbread and is almost always found on a mezze (appetizer) platter along with falafel, eggplant, tahini, and vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, pickled onions, and olives.
Of all the Middle Eastern countries, Israel actually consumes the most amount of hummus and it's served as an accompaniment with almost every meal. Because the ingredients in hummus conform to religious kosher dietary laws, it can be eaten with both meat and dairy foods.
Bean dips are more common than hummus in the U.S. and are typically eaten with tortilla chips. Although we tend to think of them as Mexican or Mexican inspired, bean dips are really an American invention as refried beans are more typically eaten as a side dish in Mexico.
The primary difference between bean dips and hummus is that bean dips get their creaminess from sour cream or other dairy products whereas hummus uses the stronger, nuttier flavor of tahini (sesame paste).
Hummus, whether chickpea or black bean based, can include a wide variety of spices so try some cumin, za'atar, oregano, or lemony sumac.
Tahini is included in the recipe and can be store bought or made from scratch.
- 1 can (approx. 15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup sesame paste (tahini)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
Add the rinsed and drained black beans, sesame paste, garlic, olive oil, lime juice and cumin to a food processor and blend until completely smooth and creamy.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the cilantro (or parsley if you don't like cilantro). If the mixture is too thick for your liking, add half a teaspoon of olive oil and a half teaspoon of lemon juice or water.
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.