The health benefits of hummus and a recipe to make your own.
When you look at creamy dishes you don’t immediately think “vegan”, but most vegans I know adore hummus.
It’s a quick and nutritious snack and is totally vegan. You can eat it with celery, carrot sticks, or tortilla chips. You can even have it on toast.
I, personally, use it in falafel wraps instead of a dressing. I guess you could even dip your chips in it if you’re bored of vegan mayo and ketchup.
There’s an array of flavours available, from the basic humus, to the hot, chilli-powered varieties – you can mash any vegetables or spices into it and experiment until your heart’s content. I sometimes use truffle-infused olive oil instead of basic olive oil to give it a touch of luxury. I like to add extra garlic too – especially if I have a cold.
Hummus is rich in protein – so, by snacking on it, it actually fights your cravings to snack further. It is also rich in iron, so it gives your energy levels a boost. It also helps answer those pesky “where do vegans get their protein?” questions. Chickpeas – the main ingredient of hummus – are also said to help lower cholesterol – so a hummus diet can help you lose weight in a healthy way. Chick peas are also an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin which is said to help to reduce the risk of some cancers. We all know a vegan diet is healthier than a meat-based diet, but who would have thought a simple snack could be so healthy? And, by replacing your dairy-free margarine with hummus you can eat a little every day and improve the taste of your sandwiches.
If eating hummus is satisfying, then making your own is even better. It’s easy. You don’t even need a blender, but, to be honest, if you do use a blender the hummus tends to be creamier and it does take away a little of the work.
For the recipe I use, you need:
200gm cooked chickpeas (about one drained can)
2 Tablespoons of light tahini
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
1 Table spoon of olive oil
2 Tablespoon of water
Some garlic (powder or a clove or 2 crushed – depending on taste)
If you’re using a blender, simply blend the lot together (excluding the paprika) – adding more oil of water if you want it thinner or creamier. If you don’t have a blender, mash the chickpeas until they are completely creamed and mix in the other ingredients (again, excluding the paprika). You can then sprinkle the paprika on top to make it look even more appetising – maybe mix it with a little olive oil first to give it an extra twist. You can even put aside a couple of whole chickpeas to use as decoration if you’re serving it to others.
As I mentioned above, you can experiment by using different oils and flavour combinations – why not caramelize some onions and mix that in? To do this, simple slow cook the onions in a little olive oil to draw the sugars out. It adds a great flavour to your hummus, I promise. Or you could try mashing up some broad beans or peas to add some greenery. For some of these combinations you may need to add a little more water or oil to prevent the hummus from becoming too thick. The recipe is just a rough guideline, experiments with quantities so you get the right taste and consistency for you.
The point is, making your own can be fun and rewarding, but for the lazy vegan, there are plenty of varieties to choose from in your local supermarket.