Hummus: Smart and Healthy Appetizer

                             

                                       flickr.com/photos/87232391@N00/929736504/ Hummus

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip or spread made from cooked chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.  What makes this tasty mix so healthy? Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) are very high in protein. Chickpeas and Olive Oil are known to be effective in preventing cholesterol build up in the blood vessels. Garlic and lemon juice are great antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in the body. They also work to improve immune functions and fight off bacteria and viruses. Hummus can help you maintain correct blood sugar levels. It also contains plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for improving intelligence and maintaining a healthy heart. As if that wasn’t enough, this dish also has iron, vitamin B6, manganese, folic acid and amino acids. The amino acids found in hummus include Tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine which are known to promote good sound sleep and enhance your mood. Wow, hand over the gluten-free pita chips or carrots and dig in!

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz of fresh chickpeas (or 1 can)
  •  1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas (either the water you soaked them in or from the can)2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp of Tahini
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 3 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp of salt or as per your taste

Directions:

For best results, if you are using raw chickpeas you’ll need to soak the chickpeas in water overnight so that they get soft, easy to use and digest afterwards.  Soaking will also have the hulls rise to the top of your soaking bowl as these don’t blend well.

The next morning, drain (and reserve) the water from the chickpeas and then blend them into a smooth mixture in a food processor. (I love my Vitamix to blend, puree etc.)

You can also use canned chickpeas and save your cooking time as these can be blended straight away in the blender.

Variations:  You can enhance the flavor with spices like coriander powder, cumin, cayenne pepper or roasted red peppers.

You can  add hummus to lunches for your kids. It comes with all these great nutritional benefits and the high protein content will help you feel full for longer. If you have any other healthy and delicious variations for hummus, please share them with our readers and us in the comment box.

 Great Resource: Middle Eastern Spice Set

Healthy Blessings,

Sandy

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