DIY-ing hummus is one of the easiest and most delicious experiments you can whip up in the kitchen. I say “experiments,” but there’s nothing “mad scientist” about this one: it’s almost impossible to do hummus wrong. (Just don’t do what I did once, and add 3 tablespoons of too-chunky lemon zest, a.k.a. big pieces of rind.) Once you know how to make a basic hummus, you can jazz it up with all sorts of flavorings and additions. We’ll talk about getting crazy with hummus tomorrow, but today, let’s stick to the basics.
What’s so healthy about hummus? Well, everything, if you do it right. The only ingredients you need are chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon, and each one is packed with nutrients.
Chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans: super-satisfying, and will fill you right up. Huge source of fiber, great for your colon, can help lower your cholesterol. Improves blood sugar levels.
Tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds: this staple of Middle Eastern diets is packed with vitamins (especially B vitamins), minerals, and protein. It’s also easy on your digestive system. Note #1: try to buy unhulled tahini, as hulled tahini is stripped of many of its nutrients. Note #2: Tahini can seem expensive ($8 for a jar at some grocery stores), but one jar will make you multiple batches of delicious, fresh hummus. When you do the math (good pre-made hummus typically clocks in at around $5, in my experience), it’s financially worth it.
Garlic: so small, so powerful, so good for you! Garlic helps prevent blood vessels from getting blocked and lowers blood pressure. Super anti-inflammatory, as well as antibacterial and antiviral. Improves your body’s metabolization of iron.
Olive oil: everyone’s favorite healthy fat! If you spring for the extra virgin stuff, it’s cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory, and may improve brain function.
Lemon: vitamin C powerhouse. Antioxidant.
Got all that? Let’s blend.
Quick, Basic Hummus
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tahini
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
In a blender, food processor, or Vitamix, blend together chickpeas, garlic, half the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Too thick? Add a tablespoon of water at a time until i’s the right consistency. Taste and add more lemon or salt as necessary.
If serving right away, place in a bowl and drizzle olive oil in the center. If saving, keep in mind that the garlic flavor will bloom throughout the hummus in the refrigerator. If you don’t like garlicky hummus, stick to half a clove.
The great thing about this recipe is that it’s totally customizable. Less garlic? More garlic? Less tahini? More lemon? It’s really hard to go wrong. Follow your tastebuds.
photo attribute: Steve Ford