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Your Guide to Lemon-Garlic Sinfully Delicious Healthy Hummus
My first taste of healthy hummus was in Cairo, Egypt in 2004, where it has roots dating back to the 13th century. For me, it was love at first taste! The texture and the flavor signaled perfection to my taste buds. Later, when I learned its health benefits (more about those below), I was even more charmed by this creamy concoction. Until about 18 months ago, I was purchasing my weekly fix from a Middle Eastern restaurant in my town. When they went out of business, my new supplier charged twice as much for half the amount. That’s when I decided to make my own, and I was both shocked and thrilled to discover how easy hummus is to make!
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Chickpeas are the primary ingredient in any healthy hummus recipe, so it’s important to decide on canned chickpeas or dried. My choice was the dried because the canned contain a significant amount of sodium.The dried are also considerably cheaper. A bag at my local foreign market goes for around three dollars and holds four cups (expands to eight cups when cooked).
The first time I prepared chickpeas I used the traditional method of soaking the beans overnight and then boiling them for several hours. What a time-consuming process that was, so I decided there had to be a better way. I discovered the website livestrong.com, where they talk about former New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman and his method of preparing the beans quickly. If it’s good enough for an NYT food columnist, it’s good enough for me!
Chickpeas Quick Prep Method
- Pour the beans into a colander and rinse under cold water. Remove any discolored beans.
- Place them into a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.
- Important: Watch the beans carefully during this first phase. They will absorb a lot of water quickly, and you will need to add more water so that they don’t burn to the bottom of your pan.
- Turn to low, and let them cook for 1.5 - 2 hours.
- You want your beans firm, not mushy.
- Drain and run cold water over the beans.
- Notice that the beans shed a thick husk, which won't affect the taste of your hummus, but can change the texture. If you want a smooth hummus, be sure to remove all of the husks.
- Run the chickpeas through your fingers under cold water, which is a bit tedious, but not difficult.
- I place 2 cups (500 ml) of chickpeas in each bag and freeze. (Note: 4 cups of dried yields 8 cups cooked)
- They should be okay frozen for 4 - 6 weeks. Most healthy hummus recipes call for 2 cups (500 ml)
- Thaw before using.
Lemon-Garlic Healthy Hummus Recipe
The essential components of most hummus recipes are much the same. Obviously, you’ll need the star element, chickpeas. After a bit of experimentation, the recipe below has become my go-to healthy hummus recipe.
One of the things I like about this recipe is that it calls for only 1.5 tablespoons (22 ml) of tahini paste. When I was trying out hummus recipes, some called for as much as half a cup (125 ml) of tahini. I found that that much tahini paste overpowered the entire dish.
The first time I made this recipe, I followed the ingredients and the preparation exactly as written. Now, I modify the dish to suit my taste. I like extra lemon, and extra garlic. Instead of 5 tablespoons of lemon, I add 6 or 7 (105 ml). Since garlic is one of my favorite spices, I always add an extra couple of cloves. I also increase the olive oil to about half a cup (125 ml). Lastly, I up the amount of time in the food processor. I like to process for about 5 minutes because I want my healthy hummus smooth and creamy.
If I’m serving my healthy hummus to guests, I usually prepare two versions; one original and one modified. Not everyone wants to smell like garlic for days on end!
The original recipe can be found here.
Lemon-Garlic Healthy Hummus Ingredients
- 2 Cups (500 ml) prepared chickpeas
- 5 Tbls.(75 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1.5 Tbls. (22 ml) tahini paste
- 1/4 Cup (60 ml) olive oil
- salt pinch
Lemon-Garlic Healthy Hummus Instructions
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until the hummus is smooth. The original recipe says 1 minute. For a smoother hummus I process for 5 minutes. Yields approximately six equal servings at 200 calories each.
|Serving size: 100g|
|Calories from Fat||108|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 12 g||18%|
|Carbohydrates 21 g||7%|
|Fiber 5 g||20%|
|Protein 5 g||10%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 311 mg||13%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Vitamins and Minerals
Five health benefits from Eating Hummus Often
1. Reduces inflammation in the body. Garlic, chickpeas, and olive oil are known to be anti-inflammatory foods. The medical community supports that reducing inflammation results in a healthier body, which in turn can slow down the aging process.
2. Help maintain healthy bones. As we age, bone loss becomes a concern. The sesame seeds, used in making tahini paste, are an outstanding source of some bone building materials. These include zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and selenium.
3. Aids in digestion. Like many other beans, chickpeas are high in fiber, which is necessary for a healthy digestive system.
4. Natural energy booster. All grains and legumes, including chickpeas, contain the complex carbohydrate starch, which the body needs for energy.
5. Promotes heart health. Scientific research indicates that olive oil, a primary ingredient in healthy hummus, can help to prevent heart disease.
Keep Your Hummus Consumption Healthy
Hummus is a healthy food that should have a place in most diets, but remember to serve with a variety of complementary health food. Cut up veggies, pita bread, homemade whole wheat bread, baked bread-sticks or crackers are all perfect accompaniments. If you’ve never tried hummus with fruit, you’ll be amazed. Apples, pears, and strawberries are all great choices. Replace the mayo on your chicken sandwich with a spoonful of hummus. Avoid serving healthy hummus with potato chips or other snacks that are high in fat and sodium. Finally, keep in mind that the recommended serving of 100 grams is roughly seven level tablespoons.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
How often do you eat hummus?
While healthy eating is important to a healthy lifestyle, adding hummus or any other healthy food to your diet is not a substitute for your primary health care professional. Always see your doctor if you are feeling unwell, or are planning major changes to your overall diet.