Hummus and Variations on the Theme

hummusWe use a lot of hummus in our house!  We use it for all kinds of things! It is a substitute for mayo in a sandwich, salad dressing on Greek Salad and as a quick snack or small meal.  We eat it with carrot and/or celery sticks, on sliced tomatoes, corn chips, tortillas and whole grain (home-made) flat bread.

It is full of good stuff ! If you use a traditional hummus recipe with olive oil and tahini you are looking about 30 calories a tablespoon.  Breaks down to : 44% fat, 45% carbs, 11% protein. If you cut or reduce the oil and tahini, the fat content plummets.

Most recipes call for Tahini – basically like a nut butter only made from sesame seeds. The seeds are delicate and quickly deteriorate since the oil spoils easily. Most stores sell it in 15/16 oz cans.  Since you only need about 2 Tablespoons for a recipe the remainder almost always goes rancid before you use it up. Truthfully, it starts spoiling the minute you open it and air hits it.  And it is expensive.

It occurred to me that making nut butter involves grinding the nuts in the food processor and you do that when making hummus, anyway.  So I bought a 1/2  pound of  sesame seeds (about a dollars worth) and a bottle of toasted sesame oil.  Went home and roasted the sesame seeds. Added the seeds and the oil instead of the tahini and I was in business.  At some point I decided that adding the oil was like gilding a lily and stopped using it. Besides who needs the extra fat?!?

The great thing about hummus is that each variation changes the taste and character of the hummus so it is a wonderfully simple dish (5-10 minutes tops) that has endless possibilities.

I like to make a big batch a day or so before eating it so that the flavors have time to mix well.

Basic Hummus:

  1. In a toaster oven (or the main oven if you need to) roast sesame seeds
  2. Combine into a food processor and chop
    • 2 cups cooked and drained garbanzo beans/chickpeas; reserve the juice (or use 1 can of garbanzos and drain the juice
    • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    • Garlic to taste
  3. When the mixture coarsely add:
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
    • 2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Cumin to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  4. Turn the food processor on high-speed and slowly add liquids to make the mixture as smooth as possible
    • 2-4 Tablespoons liquid – I  use a combination of olive oil, lemon juice and garbanzo juice but you can use one or some combination of the following ingredients:
      • olive oil
      • more lemon juice
      • garbanzo juice from cooking or the can
      • sesame oil
      • water

Variations (a very few shown here!):

  1. Add 2 or 3 medium size beets – either cooked, canned, or roasted.  This is our very favorite!!
  2. Use Roasted garlic instead of raw garlic; don’t be stingy!
  3. Add 1 Roasted red pepper
  4. Add 2 Tablespoons of Basil
  5. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of Pine nuts
  6. Add 2-4 Tablespoons of Pesto
  7. Add 6-8 rehydrated sun dried tomatoes
  8. Add an avocado
  9. Add edamame
  10. Add Jalapeno to taste
  11. Add red chili to taste
  12. Add chopped green onions as garnish
  13. Add chopped olives as garnish – preferably those stuffed with garlic, but black, kalamata or green work well

Go out in the kitchen and start experimenting!  You will sooooo glad you did! This is an easy to make, easy to carry and easy to eat food to keep you full and happy all day long.

About Genene Cote

Genene Coté -- Nutrition Advocate, Counselor and Coach who is also a Whole Food Plant Based Eater (vegetarian/vegan), cook and gardener.
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