Hummus, the Arabic word for chickpea, is a staple food of Middle Eastern cuisine. It's an easy and healthy snack, appetizer, or dip made of chickpeas, sesame paste, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and seasonings. It's generally served with cut up vegetables such as carrot sticks, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, and radishes along with warm rounds of pita bread or homemade pita chips. And it's a fixture on any Middle Eastern mezze platter.
Much like the other well known Middle Eastern dip, tahini, hummus is endlessly versatile. The traditional chickpeas can be replaced with other beans such as white beans, black beans, or fava beans. The tahini can be omitted for people with sesame allergies and the spices and seasonings can be altered in a huge variety of ways with the addition of cumin, oregano, sumac, red pepper flakes, za'atar, smoked paprika, and rosemary.
Hummus also lends itself to many types of additions on top of the normal lineup of ingredients. Some fun flavors include roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, sun dried tomato, spinach, feta cheese, kalamata olives, peanut butter, yogurt, almond butter, pumpkin, sweet potato, soybean, tomato basil, walnuts, roasted eggplant, zucchini, jalapeno, chipotle, artichoke, and cranberry.
Although avocados are better known as ingredients in Mexican and southwestern fare, their creamy nature makes them a great addition to hummus. Their flavor comes through just enough without overpowering the chickpeas and tahini. And, of course, they add a lot of good nutrition with their healthy fat, high potassium and vitamins B, C, and K.
These days you can find hummus of all kinds on the menus of any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean restaurant, as well as being able to find both traditional and flavored hummus varieties in large supermarkets across the United States.
- 1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
- 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- 1 whole ripe avocado
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Optional: pine nuts or pumpkin seeds for garnish
- Slice the avocado lengthwise, remove the pit and, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh.
- Add the avocado flesh, rinsed and drained chickpeas, sesame paste, peeled garlic cloves, lemon juice, water, salt, and black pepper to a food processor.
- Puree until completely smooth and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
- Stir in the chopped fresh dill and parsley. Top with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, if desired.
- Serve as a dip with warm pita bread or toasted pita chips or spread on sandwiches. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in a lidded jar or seran wrapped bowl.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||9 g|
|Saturated Fat||1 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||4 g|
|Dietary Fiber||6 g|