I have long shirked the flavors of overly granola, "hippie" snacks, due to the fact that I was raised on them. But low and behold, as promised, "mom is always right." I have come around on most "hippie snacks" due to their wholesome ingredients and, in fact, I am now a teacher/ maker/ blogger of these flavors in my own right. But it was not until I tried a jalapeño & cilantro version of hummus, that I came around to this Middle Eastern classic. Now I am officially hooked and preaching the benefits of a protein-packed bean dip to all my clients.  This recipe has become a weekly tradition in my house and my hope is that it will do the same for you. Hummus is a protein-packed bean dip with lemon antioxidants and garlic immune builders to boost.  1 tablespoon contains about 25 calories.   Enjoy it with fresh-cut vegetables, toasted whole-wheat pita bread, on a sandwich or wrap, in a salad, as a side. Here are several of my favorite recipes.

NOTE: Because hummus is such a classic and easily modified recipe, I have included several variations.

Jalapeno & Cilantro Hummus

INGREDIENTS 3 cloves garlic 2 (19 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

DIRECTIONS 1. Place garlic, beans, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and process into a puree.

2. With the processor running, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream.

3.  Add cilantro and jalapeno.  Process until mixture thickens and ingredients are completely mixed.

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Classic Mediterranean Hummus

INGREDIENTS

1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained 1/2 of a fresh lemon, juiced 1 small clove of garlic, minced finely 2 tbsp. olive oil 3 tbsp. tahini 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper Sumac or za'atar (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine all ingredients except the sumac.

2. Blend until smooth. If it is a little dry, just add a little more lemon juice or olive oil, a teaspoon at a time, until you have the desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper if you like.

3. Scrape out the hummus into a serving bowl and sprinkle the sumac on top.

4. Serve with raw veggies, or pita bread

 

Spice it up! Here are a few other great hummus variations:

o   Add two to three tablespoons of cayenne pepper, or harissa for a little kick.

o   Blend in 1 cup of roasted vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and garlic for a roasted vegetable hummus.

o   Add ½ a cup of sundried tomatoes.

o   For olive hummus, fold in 3/4 cup of chopped green or black olives.

o    Nutty hummus is good! Try adding some lightly toasted walnuts or pine nuts.

o    For a lemony hummus, add zest of 1 lemon or 1/4 cup of chopped preserved lemons.