The “other” dip, this chickpea concoction is an ancient, healthy food
Whether you’re traveling the roads or kicking back at home, summer is a time to enjoy light fare like salads, appetizers and dips with chips and veggies. I’m especially a fan of dips, but many are loaded with fat and calories. And who can eat just 2 tablespoons of dip? Not me.
A great alternative is hummus, a creamy Mediterranean dip/spread made from cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lemon, garlic, salt, olive oil and tahini (sesame seed paste). It’s easy to make and delicious, and it’s good for you. Even your vegan/vegetarian friends will love hummus.
Ancient, Healthy Food
Hummus, which means “chickpeas” in Arabic, is an ancient dish. Variations of hummus appeared in cookbooks in the Middle East as early as the 13th century. It’s likely that hummus is even much older. Archaeologists tell us that people in the Middle East have been eating chickpeas for 10,000 years. Today, hummus is a central part of Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian and other Middle Eastern and North African cuisines.
Unlike cream- or mayonnaise-based dips or spreads, the base for hummus is garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), a fiber-rich nutritional powerhouse. A 3½-ounce serving of hummus contains 164 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 8.6 grams of fat (most of it monounsaturated, a “good” fat) and almost no sugar. A serving provides nearly 5 grams of protein and boasts vitamins like A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, C, E, K, plus minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium. And studies have shown chickpeas are good for controlling blood sugar, building bones, lowering blood pressure, managing and improving weight and lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and staying heart-healthy.
Just a few years ago, hummus was considered exotic, but you can buy prepared hummus in many grocery stores. While store-bought is OK, you can easily make your own; it’s tastier and much less expensive.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Here’s a wonderful recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Hummus from Birch & Barley restaurant in Pullman, Washington. The roasted red pepper adds sweetness and depth. You can buy or make your own roasted red pepper pesto: Roast the red peppers, then peel and whir with olive oil, pine nuts and salt.
- 2¼ cups dried garbanzo beans (or substitute canned)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 7 tablespoons red pepper pesto
Soak dried garbanzo beans overnight to soften. Cover garbanzos with water and bring to a boil (for each cup of garbanzo beans, use 2½ cups water). Lower heat and cook until soft (60-90 minutes). Drain well.
Using a food processor, place garbanzo beans, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, seasonings and half the red pepper pesto into the processor bowl and whir until smooth. Season to taste.
Spoon into a bowl and add the remaining red pepper pesto on top. Serve with crackers, bread or veggies for dipping.
Got a favorite dip recipe you’d like to share? Email Bobbie with “dip” in the subject line.