May 13 is International Hummus Day, my new favorite holiday! National Peanut Butter Day (January 24th) and National Caramel Popcorn Day (April 6th) are close seconds, but boy, do I love hummus!
Hummus, a bean dip or spread made from chickpeas, originated in Egypt hundreds of years ago. Today, hummus has “spread” into a cuisine that is used all over the world, and thank goodness for all of the hummus among us. There are plenty of reasons to celebrate International Hummus Day and plenty of ways you can do it.
The Mighty Chickpea
If you are looking for a good source of plant protein, you’ve come to the right place. Chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, pack 8 grams of protein in just one cup. This makes hummus a good protein-boosting spread on a sandwich or as a quick protein-packed snack. Chickpeas also contain 7 grams of fiber in a cup, which is a nutrient that is under-consumed in the U.S., according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Chickpeas are also bursting with vitamins and minerals our bodies need for daily function such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and manganese. In fact, chickpeas have higher levels of manganese, zinc and phosphorus than any other legume. Due to their high content of vitamins and minerals, chickpeas are very beneficial in helping with the processes your body carries out on a daily basis. Find out more about the benefits of chickpeas here.
Along with chickpeas, olive oil and tahini are two other essential ingredients for a classic hummus dish. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and has a consistency similar to peanut butter; and did I mention it’s chock-full of unsaturated fats? Unsaturated fats aid in your body’s daily functions and may also help raise HDL cholesterol (the healthy cholesterol) and lower LDL cholesterol (the kind you want in lower levels). To learn more about fats, check out our guide on Dietary Fats.
Nuts and seeds (like the sesame seeds in tahini) contain essential fatty acids that are necessary for health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a healthy adult diet to consist of 20 to 35 percent of total calories coming from fat, so it’s nothing to be afraid of.
Though hummus is a nutrient-dense and delicious snack, you still need to watch your portion sizes. One serving of hummus is about two tablespoons, the perfect amount to spread on a sandwich, use as a dip for veggies, or as a condiment with your dinner.
Hummus with an International Twist
In honor of International Hummus Day, I decided to go global and put an international spin on my hummus by adding some ethnic flavors from all over the globe to a classic hummus recipe. To make hummus, just combine all the ingredients in a blender, add water if needed, and enjoy! Try any of the combos below (or create your own!) to spice up your hummus world:
- Original Hummus: Chickpeas + tahini + olive oil + lemon juice + garlic
- Curry Hummus: Chickpeas + turmeric + curry powder
- Spicy Chili Pepper Hummus: Chickpeas + chili pepper + lime + cilantro + cumin
- Italian Hummus: Chickpeas + oregano + sundried tomatoes + any other Italian spices
- Ginger Wasabi Hummus: Chickpeas + wasabi + grated ginger