Did you know that hummus has been around since the thirteenth century? I sure didn’t, but I did know it’s a staple Mediterranean food.
For those of you who don’t know what hummus is, its main ingredient is garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. Any beans are a great source of protein and contain cancer-fighting ingredients like protease inhibitors, saponins, and phytic acid, which guard the body’s cells. Beans can also lower cholesterol. They can help with weight loss too unless we’re talking about baked beans, which have a lot of added sugar.
This is red roasted pepper hummus from Costco
It’s easy to make hummus at home, but I really like the one they have at Costco by Pita Pal. It’s organic and only cost about $5-$6 for a decent size tub. The red pepper hummus is fantastic, but the company also makes regular hummus. Pair this up with Greek flat bread, pita bread, or a plate of veggies to use for dipping and you have quite a tasty snack or light meal. Sometimes I get together with my neighbor from across the street and we feast on this and have a glass of wine while we chat.
Warm up pita bread to use for dipping
Basic Hummus Recipe
1 seven-ounce can of chickpeas (or use garbanzo beans.)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
3 and ½ fluid ounces of tahini (optional) (recipe below)
Salt to taste
Olive oil for drizzling
Drain and rinse chickpeas or beans
Add lemon juice, crushed garlic, cumin, 4 tablespoons of water and tahini, if desired. Place all this into a food processor, or mash by hand in a mortar and pestle or on a big plate until soft and creamy.
Scoop mixture into a bowl or onto a serving plate. Add additional lemon juice, garlic, salt and cumin to taste. Smooth the top with a spoon and sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil.
Serve with warm pita bread (you may heat in the microwave and cut into wedges), crackers, breadsticks, or sliced up veggies.
Note this can be changed up according to your taste. If you like spicy, add some red peeper flakes or a grilled chipotle pepper, chopped fine, to the food processor. You could also add cilantro, olives, and other things you enjoy. Hummus is healthy and versatile.
Tahini sauce (sesame seed paste) is thinner and is generally used in sandwiches as a spread, a marinade, or as a dip. This sauce will keep in the fridge for about two weeks if you place it in an airtight container.
Tahini Sauce - pic from About.com
Tahini Sauce Recipe
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon of kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped (optional)
NOTE: If you’re not a garlic lover, you might want to start out with 2 cloves of garlic
Add garlic, tahini and salt to food processor, or use the mortar and pestle. Mix.
Remove to a bowl and add olive oil and lemon juice. If mixture is too thick, add a teaspoon of warm water until you reach the desired consistency. Mix in parsley, if desired. Use immediately or refrigerate.