How to make hummus

How to make hummus

Hummus is an eastern mediterranean spread. Stemming from the Arabic word for chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), hummus is traditionally made from mashed chickpeas blended with tahini (sesame seed butter), lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Besides being both tasty and a crowd pleaser, hummus is a great source of protein, and an easy way for athletes to add a good dollop of nutrition to their diet.  

 

Hummus has certainly become quite trendy in recent years, popping up in new flavours at shops and on to menus all over. Why then make it at home when it is readily available at most supermarkets and generally not overly-expensive? Most store-bought hummus is not nearly as healthy or nutritious as the home-made version. In fact, most commercial hummus contains a lot of refined oil and preservatives, not only taking away from the health benefits that hummus offers but making it unhealthy and something to try to avoid.

 

I am a huge fan of hummus, eating it almost every day, for many reasons.

Hummus is:

  • incredibly versatile – you can make it spicy (chilli), creamy (avo / pine nuts), salty, umami (smoked paprika / cumin) or even sweet (caramelised onions);
  • healthy and a great way to increase your daily intake of legumes;
  • really quick and easy to make at home;
  • easily transportable and keeps relatively well; and
  • the perfect addition to a trail snack or post-exercise meal.

 

A study published in the Food and Nutrition Sciences Journal in 2011 (referenced below), recommends ½ cup of beans (including garbanzo beans / chickpeas) per day or 3 cups per week as part of an overall healthy diet, counting the beans as both a protein and a vegetable. The study further confirms that beans are a great source of fiber, protein, iron, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper.

 

Now that we know how great hummus is, let’s learn how to make it.

 

I’m sharing my recipes for 2 variants of hummus. I make it without oil or garlic but add them in as optional extras. The reason for the omission of oil is personal preference. It is very calorific and because I eat quite large quantities of hummus on a regular basis, I choose to “save” some of those calories for some of my other favourite calorific foods, such as avocado. Keep in mind, from a nutrition point of view, that tahini already contains healthy fats so you do not need to add oil but if you are an endurance athlete running high mileage training weeks I do not see an issue with adding the traditional extra virgin olive oil. From time to time I will add garlic because I like the taste but only if I plan to eat the hummus at dinner-time. Garlic breath in a meeting after my 10 am hummus on rice/oat cakes snack will not please my colleagues. I’m sure yours will thank me too.  

 

Okay, let’s get to it:

 

Basic hummus

 

Ingredients:

1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ lemon, freshly squeezed

3 tablespoons of tahini

50ml water / vegetable broth (cooled) – can be substituted by 50ml extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste (I use 2-3 grinds) – rather use too little and add more

 

½ teaspoon ground cumin (optional) delicious secret ingredient – worth it!

1 clove garlic (optional)

 

Method:

  • To a food processor, add the chickpeas, freshly squeezed lemon juice, tahini, salt, cumin (optional), and garlic (optional).
  • Start processing the ingredients and then slowly pour in the water / vegetable broth / olive oil into the mixture through the top spout of the processor while motor is running to combine.
  • Let the motor run for about 30 seconds to a minute before stopping to remove the lid and scrape the sides of any unblended chickpeas, scraping them into the middle. At this stage, taste a teaspoon full and decide whether you would like to add any more salt or spices – be creative!
  • Resume the processing for another 30 seconds to a minute until the hummus is creamy and smooth.
  • Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 – 5 days. It may last longer but rather play it safe because we aren’t adding any oil or preservatives to help it keep.

 

Smoked hummus (garlic free, oil free)

 

Ingredients:

1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ lemon, freshly squeezed

3 tablespoons of tahini

50ml water / vegetable broth (cooled)

Salt to taste

8 drops of liquid smoke – I use hickory liquid smoke

 

Method:

  • To a food processor, add the chickpeas, freshly squeezed lemon juice, tahini, salt, and liquid smoke.
  • Start processing the ingredients and then slowly pour in the water / vegetable broth into the mixture through the top spout of the processor while motor is running to combine.
  • Let the motor run for about 30 seconds to a minute before stopping to remove the lid and scrape the sides of any unblended chickpeas, scraping them into the middle. At this stage, taste a teaspoon full and decide whether you would like to add any more salt or spices – be creative!
  • Resume the processing for another 30 seconds to a minute until the hummus is creamy and smooth.
  • Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 – 5 days. It may last longer but rather play it safe because we aren’t adding any oil or preservatives to help it keep.

 

*Tip: if you like it spicy, add a few drop of Tabasco or a dash of cayenne pepper. You can alo experiment with your local farmer’s market home-made chilli sauce or peri-peri but err on the side of caution, you can always add more!  

 

Hummus can be enjoyed in countless ways but these are some of my favourites:

Snacks:

  • Spread on to corn/oat/rice cakes
  • Use as dip for fresh and raw vegetables – I like cucumber, carrots, and baby tomatoes
  • Use as a dip for home-made sweet potato chips (baked wedges)

Meals:

  • Spread on top of toast and topped with sauteed mushrooms, wilted greens and fresh avo
  • Spread on a tortilla and topped with chopped kalamata olives – one of Scott Jurek’s favourite trail foods, yes he eats this while running faster than we can imagine
    • If you don’t plan on eating this on the run, add some greens and tomatoes.
  • Add it to basil pesto pasta for a creamy element to the meal

 

FAQ:

Can I freeze some if I make a big batch?

Absolutely! Just make sure that you store it in an airtight container and you’re good for about 3 months. When you plan on eating it soon, take it out of the freezer the day before and let it thaw in the fridge. Make sure not to use too big of a container so that it can thaw evenly.

 

Are tinned chickpeas much more unhealthy than cooked chickpeas?

Nutritionally they are very similar, except for the sodium content, which can be much higher. Luckily you get rid of about 45-50% of the sodium content by draining and rinsing the beans. Bottom line: beans, regardless of their type or the form in which they come, should be encouraged as part of a healthy diet.

 

Before you go…!

 

I’m thinking about doing a hummus part 2 with recipes for more flavours. What flavours would you guys prefer I do? Some suggestions: avo / olive / caramelised onion / garden peas / roasted peppers – but feel free to suggest your own! 🙂

 

References:

Zanovec, C. E. O’Neil, T. A. Nicklas. Comparison of Nutrient Density and Nutrient-to-Cost between Cooked and Canned Beans. Food Nutr Sci. 2011 2(2):66-73.

S. Jurek. Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness. 2011.  

1 Comment
  • Lita Hartman

    July 13, 2018 at 11:39 am Reply

    With beetroot and pine nuts? Sundried tomatoes and basil?Aubergine and cumin?

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