Hummus is growing in popularity and that is reflected in the diversity in countries that currently produce chickpeas. Hummus is the Arabic word for chickpea. It originated in Egypt and is common in Middle Eastern food and other Mediterranean recipes. Its popularity has expanded greatly and now Canada is a top chickpea producer and exporter. Approximately 158,000 tonnes of them were produced in 2012-2013 nationwide. An authentic hummus recipe contains mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon and garlic. There are a lot of reasons to make hummus your dip of choice.
- It can replace meat. Many vegetarians have a hard time getting enough protein. The chickpeas in any authentic hummus recipe contain enough protein to make it a viable substitute for meat. Approximately 175 mL provides the equivalent protein to one serving of meat. Getting enough protein is key to bone, skin, blood and muscle health.
- It is great for weight loss. Tahini, a key ingredient in any authentic hummus recipe, is loaded with monounsaturated fats. Eating these can help people lose weight in general and belly fat specifically.
- Hummus can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Hummus nutrition includes Saponins, protease inhibitors, and phytic acid are three compounds that have been shown to protect cells from developing into cancer. The beans in hummus are loaded with them. One cup of hummus also contains a day’s worth of folate, another substance that protects the body from cancer. Folate can also prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol.
- It is very good for people with iron deficient anemia. Both chickpeas and tahini are rich in iron. This is especially good news for anemic vegetarians who do not want to eat the beef most doctors recommend to patients with this problem.
Hummus is amazingly versatile. There are many flavors of hummus. Hummus dips can be used as substitutes for less healthy snacks. A hummus spread can be used to replace mayonnaise on sandwiches and elsewhere, like on a bagel in the place of cream cheese. Another yummy use for hummus is in potato salad. The nature of any authentic hummus recipe makes it useful in a variety of dishes. Other recipes using hummus include:
- Grilled chicken with hummus. Take a chicken breast and cover it with hummus. Sprinkle raw nuts such as almonds on top and then bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until done.
- Make a salad dressing. A great roasted garlic hummus recipe is one for salad dressing. Add some lemon juice and olive oil to roasted garlic hummus. Add enough to make the consistency of the hummus more like a salad dressing and enjoy on dark greens.
- Vegetable soup. Sauté or roast some vegetables of your preference (carrots, zucchini, onions and potatoes work well) until they are soft. Put some broth in a saucepan, the broth can be any kind you prefer. Add your vegetables and bring it to a boil. Add two cups of hummus and stir. Bring to a simmer and cook until the hummus is totally incorporated into the broth. If you like, you can fry some meat such an pancetta and add that. Garnish with parmesan cheese and green onion.
Hummus is a delicious dip that has a number of other uses, from making fast and easy appetizers to just about anything you can imagine.