Hummus is a dip made from chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice and garlic. The word “hummus” comes from the Arabic word for chickpeas and indeed, hummus originates from the Middle East.
The main ingredient in hummus is the humble chickpea. As with all beans and legumes, chickpeas need to be prepared properly before use in order to make them digestible and soft enough to use. They need to be soaked in cold water for 12 hours. They should then be rinsed and boiled in fresh water, and then simmered for at least 2 hours until soft. Chickpeas are known as garbanzo beans in the USA, which is useful to know if you use American recipe books or websites.
Chickpeas are a good source of fibre, protein, folic acid, manganese, iron, magnesium and zinc. Combined with the other ingredients in hummus, this makes it a very nutritious dip for your veggies or crackers.
Hummus can be a healthier option for spreading on your toast than chocolate spread or jam. Its fibre and protein help to keep blood sugar levels balanced, making it a great choice for management of diabetes and weight.
Hummus contains protein so can be a great base for a lunchtime salad. It also makes a delicious accompaniment to Middle Eastern style dishes such as chicken and rice, mince meat and couscous, falafel and pitta.
This lunchtime idea was quite quick to put together: shop-bought falafels, feta cheese, olives, salad veg and of course, a great dollop of hummus!