Thursday, July 14, 2011

How To Make Hummus - Easy, Inexpensive & Tasty!

When money is tight, I hate to compromise my healthy lifestyle to save on groceries.  Over the years, I have learned the quality and quantity of certain things are better homemade.  Hummus is one of those.  While I will purchase store-bought hummus sometimes, often the price point is higher than I would pay and sometimes it contains preservatives I don't like.  So, I harkened back to my days working in a French bakery and dug out a recipe I learned there to make hummus, and which I have modified to make my own.  I have distilled down the basic recipe for hummus here, and will talk a bit about making gourmet hummus (adding mix-ins and flavors), as well, for fun.

When you make hummus for the first time, don't be intimidated.  It's super simple.  You just need a food processor or a blender, a rubber (silicon) spatula, and your ingredients.  For my part I don't mind 'cheating' with canned, organic garbanzo beans (chick peas) as long as they have no added preservatives.  My family size is small, so I just use one can and that makes enough.  If I have people over, I might make more than that.   Now, there are some real purists out there who like to use dried and soak and cook them before they make hummus.  I can't fault them for that - I have done that in the past. It shows dedication and a concern for the quality of what goes into your food.  However, when I am trying to be time-efficient as well, I find the good quality canned beans are just fine and the result is the same.

Hummus is a great, nutritious sandwich filler and snackfood.  Often, I will make hummus to have with salad, or in a pita for a quick cold supper on hot Florida summer nights.  And one of my favorite sandwiches is a pita or flatbread with hummus inside, and sliced cucumbers, sprouts, tomatoes and lettuce. (I also have one variation of this sandwich that incorporates cooked, diced zucchini, sauteed onions and eggplant for a different twist)!  Hummus is made from garbanzo beans, or chick peas, and they are high in B vitamins (folate), zinc and protein.  They are low in fat and high in fiber, and like lentils they are rather inexpensive to buy if you're on a budget or watching your health.

I will also have hummus on crackers as a healthy snack.  I make hummus and spread it on a cracker and top it with fresh diced red or green pepper, or a slice of cucumber or carrot.  I will dip carrots, sliced cucumbers and squash into hummus.  And to make sure I don't get too bored with it, I will change the flavor of hummus from time to time.  Some mix-ins I have used are roasted red peppers minced, artichoke hearts minced, eggplant diced and cooked, spinach cooked and chopped, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts or almonds chopped.  I have added chopped seeds like sunflower or pumpkin (done in a coffee grinder), and I have added tobasco for spiciness (also cayenne or jalapeno peppers), paprika, oregano, basil and cracked black pepper for flavor.  One of the keys to successful flavoring is to slightly blend or process the mix-in and add that to the hummus first, then fold in the rest toward the end after all blending has been done.  This allows the flavors to mingle and keeps the hummus recipe from getting too lumpy.

So, there you go - a quick tutorial on how to make hummus, with a recipe for hummus (and a lot of different varieties), too!  Hope you enjoy!


Paul said...

Hummus rules! And it always tastes better when it's homemade in my experience!

xysea said...

I totally agree, plus I love to make hummus since it's so easy! :-)