One of the most endearing foods in Middle Eastern cuisine that has become popular worldwide is hummus. It is literally the Arabic word for chickpea, one of the main ingredients used to make this tasty dip. Other components of hummus include olive oil, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and salt.1,2
The actual origin of the dish has been lost in the passage of time, and several countries have claimed that they invented hummus. Egypt and Greece, for example, were major trading partners during ancient times, which led to both of them greatly utilizing hummus in their cooking. Regardless of who made it, the whole world now enjoys hummus because it’s easy to make, tastes great and can be paired with many foods.3
What Is Hummus?
Hummus is essentially a dip that is a popular fixture in Middle Eastern cuisine. Its core ingredients are chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, garlic and salt blended together to create a creamy texture. For adventurous people, more ingredients are added to modify the flavor to suit their personal preference.4
However, a caveat when it comes to eating hummus is that it may contain lectins, as it’s primarily made using beans. Lectins are sugar-binding plant proteins that attach to your cell membranes, and have been proven to be associated with inflammatory or autoimmune conditions. The good news is there are ways to minimize the effects of lectins in beans so you can enjoy this dip — more about this later.
How to Make Hummus at Home
Regular hummus is very easy to make. Here are all the things you need to stir up some delicious hummus in the comfort of your own home:
How to Make Healthy Hummus
- 2 cups chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 to 2 tablespoons pure, filtered water
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. If you have time, pinch and remove the skins from each chickpea to make the hummus smoother.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor, then blend for five minutes until smooth.
- Adjust seasonings such as salt and pepper, and adjust taste as needed.
- Transfer to bowl and then serve.
Healthy Hummus Recipe Variations You Should Try
The great thing about hummus is that you can modify the ingredients to suit your taste and create something new. Each of the following recipes is unique, so I recommend that you try all of them at least once to find your personal favorite.
Black Bean Hummus5
- 15 ounces (equivalent to 1 can) black beans
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cold, filtered water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
White Bean Hummus6
- 1/2 pound cannellini (navy) beans
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup tahini
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 medium beets, cleaned, cooked, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Substitute for rice
Note: To cook the beets, cover them with water in a saucepan; then simmer for 30 minutes or until tender.
If you find that regular hummus is getting boring for your taste, I encourage you to try the ones mentioned above. However, if you’re looking for something new and adventurous, you can swap out the beans for avocado to make sure your hummus is keto-friendly. It’s the perfect way to lower your carb consumption while simultaneously increasing healthy fat consumption. Check out this fat-rich hummus recipe from Megan Olson of Paleohacks:
Creamy and Bean-Free Avocado Hummus
Total time: 10 minutes
- 2 medium zucchinis, peeled and deseeded
- 1 to 2 large, ripe avocados
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup homemade tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Sea salt, to taste
- Paprika and dried cilantro for serving (optional)
Makes 4 cups
- Slice off the ends of both zucchinis, peel and deseed them, then place in a food processor along with the avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, garlic and salt.
- Process on high until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with paprika and dried cilantro on top (optional) and serve.
- Use two avocados instead of one to thicken up the texture.
- Try this avocado hummus as a marinade! Slather it on chicken, pork or beef to add depth and flavor.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Is Hummus Healthy for You?
A 2016 study published in Nutrients indicates that regular consumption of hummus helped increase intake of dietary fiber, beneficial fats, vitamins A, E and C, as well as magnesium, potassium, folate and iron. As a result, weight management and blood sugar levels can be managed and even improved.8
Individually, hummus ingredients provide their own benefits:
- Chickpeas: Consumption of chickpeas may help manage insulin sensitivity better, as evidenced in a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.9
- Tahini: According to a study published by Health Promotion Perspectives, sesame seeds (which tahini is essentially made of) may help improve lipid profile, as well as fight oxidative stress.10
- Extra virgin olive oil: This type of oil has been found to have healthy fatty acids and other minor constituents that may provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits when regularly consumed.11
- Garlic: Extensive research done on garlic suggests that this herb possesses various benefits such as diabetes management, antitumor, cardiovascular health and antimicrobial properties.12
Hummus Nutrition Facts
Homemade, traditional hummus is rich in various vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. However, be sure to control your portions when eating hummus, as you can quickly pile up the carbohydrates if you’re not careful. The table below provides a good overview of this food:13
Hummus Nutrition Facts
|Calories from Fat
|| 0 g
|Calcium 121 mg
Beware of Lectins Before Making Hummus
Lectins may negatively affect your health, especially if you have any of the following conditions:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Heart disease
To minimize the potential damage lectins can do to your health, here are important tips to follow before making your hummus:
- Soak the beans in water for at least 12 hours before cooking, frequently changing the water. Adding baking soda can help boost the neutralization of lectins further.
- Rinse the beans thoroughly and discard the used water.
- Cook the beans for at least 15 minutes on high heat. Using low heat can actually increase the toxicity up to five times more. In addition, avoid any recipe that uses dry bean flour, as the dry heat of your oven cannot efficiently destroy the lectins.
Another effective way of eliminating lectins is using a pressure cooker, such as the Instant Pot. Avoid slow cookers, as they can increase the lectins further due to the low heat used. I encourage you to try hummus and taste for yourself why countless people enjoy it, as it can introduce you to a new world of flavors. Just remember to control your portions accordingly to prevent consuming too many carbohydrates, and don’t forget to soak and cook the beans properly first to reduce the lectins.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hummus
Q: Can you freeze hummus?
A: Yes, you can freeze hummus if you prepared more than what you need. Make sure to place it in an airtight container, but don’t fill it up too much as the food will expand. To thaw, simply place the hummus in the lower portion of your refrigerator a day before you want to eat it.14
Q: Can dogs eat hummus?
A: No. Hummus contains other ingredients that may be harmful for your pet.16
Q: How long does hummus last?
A: Homemade hummus can last three to five days in the refrigerator. In the freezer, it can last between six and eight months.17
Q: Is hummus low carb?
A: Hummus can be a low-carb dip if you control your servings. A single tablespoon of chickpeas contains 7.87 grams of carbohydrates, so watch your portions carefully.18
Q: Is hummus fattening?
A: Not necessarily. Hummus contains various healthful ingredients that can support your overall well-being. However, be mindful of the servings as consuming too many carbohydrates can pose a negative effect to your health in the long run.
Q: Is hummus paleo?
A: No. Chickpeas are legumes, which do not belong to the paleo diet.19
Q: What can you dip in hummus?
A: You can dip various foods in hummus such as carrots, celery and other vegetables. If you want, you may also use it as a dip for cooked meats to give them a different flavor.20
Q: Is hummus gluten-free?
A: Yes, because the ingredients used to make hummus are not grains.
Sources and References