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Protein and Power-Packed Hummus

by Carrine Judy

Hummus is the Protein-Packed

Hummus is one of my favorite foods. It is one of those things that I always have in my refrigerator. It makes such a great snack with some veggies or whole grain crackers. It is nutritious and creamy and boasts protein and fiber which keeps me feeling satisfied after I eat.

Traditional Middle Eastern hummus is made from chickpeas and tahini. You can also find varieties made from edamame, white beans, or lentils. Other ingredients of hummus usually include lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and olive oil. To make this dish, all the ingredients are simply ground down until they form a smooth paste. Different seasonings can be added to make the dish your own.

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Hummus is a Blank Canvas

Hummus can be thought of as a blank canvas and the vegetables in your refrigerator or the herbs in your garden as the paints to create a beautiful and unique piece of artwork. Speaking of which, when it comes to creating special meals and foods, remember it’s often the presentation… the garnish design and serving ware you provide that all delegate delectable dishes.

This painting will not go on the wall but in your belly. Hummus is simple to make and will go well with almost any flavor you want to add.

Many of the ingredients in hummus have some great health benefits. Omega 3 fatty acids, found in hummus, is great for improving intelligence and maintaining a healthy heart. Iron, vitamin B6, manganese, copper, folic acid, and amino acids can all be found in hummus. Tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine are amino acids found in hummus that can help you sleep better and uplift your mood.

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Chickpeas: Chickpeas are rich in protein. They can be effective in preventing build up of cholesterol in the blood vessels. Chickpeas also help maintain blood sugar levels.

Tahini: Tahini contains a lot of fat and calorie, and adding too much can make the recipe bitter. Tahini is used sparingly in hummus recipes and it mostly contains unsaturated fat so there is not much to worry about. Tahini is also high in protein and is a great source of calcium.

Olive Oil: Another healthy ingredient found in hummus is olive oil. Olive oil is a healthy fat, it has a high monounsaturated fat content but is low in saturated fat. This oil can thus help control cholesterol and protect the heart from various diseases.

Garlic and lemon juice are full of antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in the body. These ingredients are also known for improving immunity and fighting bacteria and viruses.

What can you do with this tasty spread besides serving with veggies or pita chips?

*Toss in sautéed eggplant and cumin. Serve as a side with curry dishes.

*Use it as a sandwich or wrap spread in place of mayonnaise. Hummus can be mixed with chopped hard boiled eggs, chicken or tuna for a tangy, protein-rich sandwich or wrap filling. It is also delicious with roasted veggies.

*Spread over flatbread just like you would traditional pizza sauce.

*Mix into spaghetti sauce for a creamy pasta or pizza topping.

*Spread hummus over meats before roasting. The thick spread can handle the heat of the oven and the flavors will work as substitute for a rub and will develop into a creamy sauce.

*Swirl with salsa for a creamy dip.

*Make a quick salad dressing by combining hummus, vinegar, and salt and pepper.

*Spread hummus on toast or bagels, rather than butter or cream cheese.

*Serve a bowl of hummus as a sauce for kebabs of all kinds.

*Stir hummus into hot cooked pasta, season with freshly cracked black pepper, and sprinkle with chopped fresh chives or parsley.

Here is a simple hummus recipe to try…it may become one of your favorites too!


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Tips for Making Hummus

Heating the beans in the microwave for 30 seconds before blending will result in an extra creamy texture.

Use roasted garlic instead of raw garlic. Roasting the garlic will calm the raw bite and add creaminess.

Try adding cooked sweet potatoes or pureed canned pumpkin for a fall-inspired hummus. Reduce chickpeas by half and replace with cooked sweet potatoes or canned pumpkin. Add some fall spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne.

Roasted red peppers and hummus are a perfect combination. Stir in one cup chopped peppers for a sunset-colored hummus. This is one of my favorite additions!

Here are some other additions to try: finely chopped parsley, fresh squeezed lemon juice, pesto, reduced balsamic vinegar, chopped pine nuts, finely chopped black olives, or a sprinkle of feta and red pepper flakes.

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