Healthy Hummus Recipe
The word “hummus” is literally the direct translation of the Arab word for chickpeas. It’s believed that hummus goes back hundreds of years, with the earliest confirmed source dating back to 13th century cookbooks.1 Many countries claim to have created hummus, but the exact origin has been lost. Today, nations such as Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt enjoy hummus as an important part of their cuisine and diet.2
If you haven’t tried hummus yet, it’s a great way to get more flavor from your other foods. Furthermore, it’s a gluten-free dish,3 which can help you avoid the health risks associated with eating grains. I recommend trying out the classic recipe first; then you can proceed with the other variations mentioned below. I’ve also added a section on how you can use hummus in different ways to maximize its benefits.
Cook time: 1 to 2 minutes.
Classic Hummus Ingredients:
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 to 2 tablespoons pure, filtered water
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until the mixture starts to become smooth.
- With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the hummus. Add the salt and pepper and blend until smooth for about one to two minutes.
Tip: If the hummus is too thick for your liking, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until it’s the right consistency.
Below are other variations, and the procedure is just the same as above.
Spicy Green Hummus Ingredients:
- 2 cups chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon pure, filtered water
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 3 green onions
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Turmeric Hummus Ingredients:
- 2 cups chickpeas
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Chickpeas and Tahini: The Foundations of Hummus
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a type of legume with origins in the Mediterranean and Middle East. As with other legumes, chickpeas are a nutrition powerhouse. Here are a few notable health benefits associated with eating them:
- Bone health: Chickpeas are rich in iron, vitamin K, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, zinc and manganese, which all help promote bone health.4
- Cholesterol: In a study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers noted that adding chickpeas to your diet may help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in your system.5
- Fiber: Chickpeas contain beneficial levels of dietary fiber, which can help promote a healthy digestive tract by facilitating the regular elimination of stools. As a result, the chances of developing common digestive issues such as constipation may be reduced.6
The other half of the equation in hummus is tahini, which is essentially a paste made from olive oil and crushed sesame seeds. It is also used to create other Middle Eastern dishes like baba ghanoush and halvah.7 Tahini can offer you the following benefits:8
- Rich in various minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron
- Contains methionine, an amino acid that may help in liver detoxification
- Has protein, which is helpful for your body’s essential biological functions
- May help manage inflammation thanks to its copper content9
I suggest making your own tahini using unhulled sesame seeds because the skin contains most of the nutrients.10 If you do not have the time or resources to make your own, I recommend purchasing organic, unhulled tahini from a reputable source.
Mix Different Herbs and Spices to Experiment With the Flavor
The great thing about hummus is that you can add various herbs and spices during the grinding process to modify its flavor. Furthermore, this method can help improve the nutritional profile of your hummus. Here are some herbs and spices you can add:
- Parsley: This herb is rich in vitamin K, which can help promote bone strength and may lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
- Jalapeno peppers: These peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which may help with weight management by increasing satiety. Capsaicin may also help lower your risk of developing tumors by activating cell receptors in your intestinal lining.
- Ginger: This rhizome has carminative properties that can help promote the release of intestinal gas. It also functions as an intestinal spasmolytic, which can help relax and soothe your intestinal tract.
- Turmeric: An important component in the creation of curry, turmeric is particularly known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Black pepper: This common spice contains potassium, a mineral essential in helping maintain heart rate and blood pressure. It also contains zinc, which may help promote cell growth.
How to Enjoy Hummus in Different Ways
Aside from being easy to modify, hummus can be paired with various foods. All you need is a bit of imagination and creativity, and hummus can be a regular part of your diet. Here are several ways on how you can enjoy this dish:11
- Mashed potatoes: Replace the sour cream with hummus for more flavor and fewer calories.
- Deviled eggs: Boil a few eggs, remove the yolks and stuff the whites with hummus to create a tasty midday snack.
- Salad dressing: Make a tasty salad dressing by mixing hummus, olive oil, lemon juice and paprika.
- Grilled chicken: Add more flavor to plain old grilled chicken by slathering it with hummus and sprinkling crushed raw almonds on top. Make sure the almonds are not pasteurized.12
- Stuffed peppers: Fill up bell peppers with hummus to serve as a simple and healthy appetizer to party guests.
The ones I mentioned above are just some ways to use hummus in different situations. Of course, you can also eat hummus on its own, but adding it to your favorite foods can make the flavor more interesting.
Who Should Avoid Beans and Other Lectin-Rich Foods?
People who may need to be particularly careful with lectin-containing foods — specifically those in the nightshade family, all grains, legumes and beans — include those struggling with inflammatory or autoimmune conditions, including but not limited to:
- Thyroid dysfunction (especially Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)
- Heart disease
Caution may also be warranted if you’re taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as they’ve been shown to increase gut permeability. This allows toxic lectins to enter your bloodstream, thereby raising your risk of experiencing an adverse reaction.
General Cooking Recommendations and Other Lectin-Reducing Strategies
Here are some general preparation and cooking guidelines to reduce toxic lectins in beans:
- Soak the beans in water for at least 12 hours before cooking, frequently changing the water. Adding baking soda to the soaking water will boost the neutralization of lectins even further
- Rinse the beans and discard the water used for soaking
- Cook for at least 15 minutes on HIGH heat. Cooking beans on too-low a heat can actually increase toxicity levels up to five times or more. Avoid any recipe calling for dry bean flour, as the dry heat of your oven will not efficiently destroy the lectins
- The best way to destroy lectins is to use a pressure cooker. Many swear by the InstaPot, a multipurpose pressure cooker. Avoid slow cookers, as they will actually increase lectin content due to the low temperature used.
- 1, 3, 11 Spoon University, “The Origin of Hummus and Why It’s the World’s Best Spread” November 28, 2016
- 2, Bodrum, “History of Hummus”
- 4 Medical News Today, “Chickpeas: Health Benefits, Nutritional Information” September 14, 2016
- 5 Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 2006;50(6):512-8
- 6 SFGate, “Nutrients & Benefits of Chick Peas and Garbanzo Beans”
- 7 Cinnamon-Spice & Everything Nice, “How to Make Tahini Paste”
- 8, 10 MindBodyGreen, “10 Reasons to Eat Tahini” December 3, 2012
- 9 StyleCraze, “5 Amazing Health Benefits of Tahini” January 28, 2016
- 12 Food Network, “5 Tasty Ways to Use Hummus (That Aren’t Dip)” Marc 2, 2017
- 13 Pacific Foods, “Top 10 Things to Do With Hummus” July 29, 2014