Who doesn’t love hummus? It’s one of those rare foods that manages to be both indulgent and healthy. From its first documented description in 13th century Egypt, it has been a staple of Middle Eastern and East Mediterranean cuisine but enjoyed a mainly cult following in the UK until quite recently. Now it’s a family favourite, whether dining out or simply raiding the fridge when the munchies strike; a treat that we can enjoy, guilt free.
One of the reasons for it’s superfood status is the inclusion of olive oil, either within or served atop, so I was dismayed to discover that few supermarket brands use this rich source of monounsaturated fat and anti-oxidants, substituting it for cheaper rapeseed. Also known as canola, this oil does not confer comparable health benefits. Studies suggest that, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) especially, may reduce the risk of developing a multitude of chronic ailments, including diabetes, dementia, stomach ulcers, heart disease, inflammatory disorders and even some cancers.
The great news is that hummus is as quick and easy to make as it is yummy! In this recipe I have used roasted red peppers but there are so many ways you can pimp it up both in terms of taste and health benefits by adding your own twist. Don’t worry about being generous with the EVOO - it will not lead to weight gain and may in fact help weight control.
Chick peas (aka garbanzo beans) are high in protein and fibre. They are also an excellent source of Tryptophan, the amino acid essential for making happy hormone, serotonin.
1 tin Chick Peas (drain and reserve aquafaba)
1 tbsp Tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/2 jar Roasted Red Peppers (approx 175g drained weight)
1 clove Garlic, crushed
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon*
Salt & black pepper
Spices (optional - here I used 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika and some chilli flakes)
Place all ingredients, except seasoning, into a food processor and blitz to your desired consistency. Add seasoning to taste. To increase fluidity, add some of the reserved aquafaba, water or additional olive oil.
* You can substitute for 1-2tbsp apple cider vinegar
One portion of this recipe gives up to 11 of your 30 different weekly plants target. It’s just as delicious after freezing and defrosting. Do feel free to exchange the peppers for cooked beetroot, green olives, sundried tomatoes or artichokes - the only limit to the possibilities is your imagination!
Eat and be happy!