This simple hummus recipe is full of flavor and nutrition from the chickpeas, tahini, lemon and garlic! It’s an easy protein for salads, and I love it as a dip for tortilla chips or sliced vegetables. It also makes a delicious spread for a veggie sandwich.
In the recipe below, I’ve included instructions for using both dried and canned chickpeas. Surprisingly, canned beans and pulses rate pretty close to dried for overall nutrition. However, dried are richer in folate (vitamin B9).
In fact, the folate is what drew me to make my own hummus again after several years. Some recent genetic testing confirmed that my family thrives on a high-folate diet (and, incidentally, a diet LOW in the synthetic/isolated form – folic acid). Since then, I have been focusing on folate-rich foods that my kids will eat. (This is not an uncommon issue – more and more people are discovering they “perk up” on a balanced diet rich in folate.)
Folate is important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects. It is also important for heart health, mental health and in the complex functions of detoxification and DNA synthesis.
A cup of cooked chickpeas (from dried) contains 70% RDA for folate. I’d never eat that much hummus in a sitting, but I figure a fourth of that gives me a good nudge toward my goals. (Green leafy vegetables, liver, lentils, spinach, oranges and avocado are among other good sources.)
Besides the folate content, chickpeas are high in other B vitamins (particularly B6 which is great for the immune system), fiber, protein and iron. The type of iron they contain is non-heme iron which is less absorbable than heme iron (found in animal sources). But the vitamin C in lemon juice helps with absorption – and this recipe calls for a fair amount of lemon juice. You can also use organic red pepper strips for dipping – another good source of vitamin C.
One additional note on the health benefits of hummus. Tahini (made from ground sesame seeds) is rich in vitamin E. Something I learned recently is that this fat soluble vitamin can be linked to speech development. Some children (not all) dealing with speech impairment or delays, may have a hard time absorbing fats and, in turn, this fat soluble vitamin. Some of these kids may see quicker improvements when eating more vitamin E rich foods.
So yes, that’s why we’re eating more hummus these days – and because it just tastes delicious! My daughter, especially, loves hummus. She doesn’t eat a ton in one sitting, but she’s happy to dip a few veggies or chips when I leave it on the table for a snack.
Reference: Morris CR, Agin MC. Syndrome of allergy, apraxia, and malabsorption: characterization of a neurodevelopmental phenotype that responds to omega 3 and vitamin E supplementation. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009;15(4):34-43.
Get printable recipe HERE
Makes 3.5 cups
2 15-oz cans chickpeas* (drained and rinsed – liquid reserved)
2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Unrefined salt, to taste (about ½ – 1 teaspoon if your chickpeas are unsalted)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until well-combined, adding reserved liquid until desired consistency is reached. Sometimes I forget to reserve the liquid and use a little water instead.
BRAND RECOMMENDATION: Eden brand canned beans are cooked with a little seaweed to reduce gas. Their can lining is BPA free.
TO COOK FROM DRIED: 1 cup of dried chickpeas yields about 2 cans worth. Soak them in fresh water 8 hours or overnight (cover well because they will double in size). Drain and rinse, then put the beans in a pot and cover with water about 2 inches over. To reduce gassiness, add a strip of kombu (found in many grocery stores) or a pinch of baking soda. Simmer about 45 minutes to an hour, until beans are very soft. Discard kombu and drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Rinse and use in the recipe.
LEMON: The lemon juice in the recipe balances out the bitterness of the tahini. If you skip the tahini, don’t use so much lemon juice.