Hummus: what it is, properties and how to eat it

Hummus: what it is, properties and how to eat it

Hummus is a versatile and healthy chickpea cream, rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Here’s how to prepare and enjoy it

Index

  • What’s this
  • Property
  • How to eat
  • Simple recipe
  • Variants

What’s this

Hummus is a protein sauce made from chickpeas and flavored with tahini sauce, herbs, spices and flavorings. It is an ancient recipe, widespread above all in Middle Eastern countries but now also appreciated in our kitchen. Chickpea hummus is prepared in a simple way and is a nutritious and genuine food, to be enjoyed as it is or even as a condiment or to fill sandwiches as an alternative to less healthy sauces. There are also numerous variations of hummus, both savory and sweet.

Property

The properties of hummus substantially coincide with those of chickpeas, the basic ingredient of this sauce. Chickpeas are nutritious legumes, which provide about 320 calories per hundred grams, given for over half by carbohydrates, about 18% by unsaturated fats and almost 27% by proteins. In the lipid fraction of chickpeas there are also fat-soluble nutritional compounds which include polyphenols, isoflavones, lecithins. Chickpeas are also rich in fiber, useful for increasing the feeling of satiety and reducing hunger, regulating the absorption of sugars, fats and cholesterol and improving intestinal transit, helping to fight constipation and constipation. Finally, chickpeas contain important vitamins, including folic acid, and minerals, such as zinc and magnesium. The benefits of chickpeas are then added to those of the other ingredients present in the hummus recipe including the tahini or tahini sauce, a nourishing cream obtained by grinding toasted sesame seeds. In addition to being very tasty, tahini sauce is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, proteins and calcium, as well as phosphorus and potassium. Tahini is best known for its benefits for the bones and cardiovascular system.

How to eat

Hummus is a versatile sauce that can be enjoyed in many different ways. In fact, it can be eaten alone, spread on slices or croutons of bread and served during aperitifs and appetizers or it can be used to fill sandwiches and wraps together with salad, dried tomatoes, grilled vegetables. Hummus can also be an excellent condiment for pasta dishes, alone or together with other ingredients such as broccoli or aubergines. When used as a sauce for pasta, it is softened with one or two tablespoons of cooking water. The flavor of hummus goes perfectly with that of broccoli and aubergines but is also perfect with artichokes, courgettes and fresh or dried tomatoes.

Simple recipe

Hummus is on sale ready to taste but can also be prepared at home with a few ingredients and following a simple recipe. To prepare hummus you need:

  • 240 grams of boiled chickpeas
  • a clove of garlic
  • a small onion
  • two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • a teaspoon of ground coriander
  • half a teaspoon of cumin powder
  • a spoonful of Tahina sauce
  • a spoonful of lemon juice
  • a spoonful of fresh parsley
  • a pinch of salt

Chickpeas can be purchased already boiled if you have little time, or dried. If you opt for dried chickpeas, they should be washed carefully under running water and soaked in water overnight, after which they can be cooked in boiling salted water or in a pressure cooker. The boiled chickpeas will then be placed in a food processor with all the ingredients and chopped until a homogeneous cream is obtained. If you prefer a softer hummus, just add one or more tablespoons of cooking water (or water in the jar, if you are using ready-made chickpeas) until you reach the desired consistency. If you do not have a food processor, you can use an immersion blender or a vegetable mill; in this last case it will be necessary to finely chop the onion, garlic and parsley by hand. The cooking water or the water from the jar in which the chickpeas are stored can be reused: if it is worked with whips, it allows you to obtain a mixture similar to the white of the egg whipped until stiff, known as water faba. The faba water is used to prepare soft cakes in a vegan version, without ingredients of animal origin.

Variants

In addition to the basic hummus recipe, there are numerous variations. Hummus can in fact be enriched with turmeric powder, spirulina algae always in powder or with one or two tablespoons of beet juice to make versions with bright colors and to confer antioxidant properties useful against the harmful action of free radicals. The chickpea cream can then be prepared by eliminating all or part of the spices and aromas required by the basic recipe and be flavored with other ingredients. For example, there are versions of cinnamon hummus, which do not include the addition of garlic, onion, coriander and cumin, or even sweet variants of hummus prepared with chickpeas, bitter cocoa powder, melted dark chocolate and sugar. Obviously, according to the recipe used, hummus can be served as an appetizer, used as a condiment or enjoyed as a dessert after a meal.

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