09 Nov

You Say Hummus, I Say Chummous

Hummus is hands down one of my top five favorite foods both for its taste and its nutrition. It’s a delicious combo of chickpeas + tahini (crushed sesame seeds) + lemon and spices. However it causes an internal conflict on a weekly basis, if not more. I learned of the food in Israel where it is pronounced Chummous. But here it is pronounced Hummus.

This is going to be a total detour, but I cannot think of another way to explain the difference in pronunciation besides finding a random YouTube video of an Israeli saying the word:

And here is how us Americans pronounce it (and this video has a good recipe idea):

The few times I’ve attempted to pronounce it the correct Middle Eastern way I’ve gotten a blank face in return, so I retreated to the American version, which I am far less fond of but at least people will understand.

Ok, now back to what I really wanted to talk about. Hummus is relatively low in calories and fat and high in fiber and protein compared to other dips and spreads like guacamole, ranch dressing and any other cheese or mayo based concoction.

It’s got a reputation for being a dip, but it’s more versatile. I’m pretty creative with my food combos, which developed from a refusal to allow any of my groceries go to waste. Any food that is on its way to spoiling must be be used,  some way, somehow.

Here are some of the non-traditional and healthier ways to use hummus:
1. Base for salad dressing – thin it out with some water or apple cider vinegar.

2. Tuna, chicken, egg or potato salad – a flavorful and lower fat/calorie substitute to mayo (a “sneaky” way to incorporate some extra fiber into your kids’ tuna sandwiches).

3. Bagels and lox – who needs cream cheese when you got hummus. Skeptical? Try it.

4. Substitue for ordinary “empty calorie” non-nutritious condiments (mustard, ketchup) in burgers, wraps. I’ve even tried it with fries.

5. Binder for breading – instead of an egg, try hummus to keep your breadcrumbs on your fish or chicken.

Now, hummus isn’t just hummus. There are tons of brands and flavors with different ingredients and nutrition panels. I like the classic or garlic varieties. Choose more natural brands with an ingredient list you can recognize. I’m suspicious of the “…and other natural flavoring” line. If you can’t specify what these flavorings are, I don’t want it.

I compared 4 brands. A 2 tablespoon serving (c’mon who stops after 2 tbsp) weighs in from 40-70 calories, 1-3 gm protein, 1-3 gm fiber.

Abraham’s Roasted Garlic                                           Sabra Classic

                                             

Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Style                   Tribe Classic

             

My favorite is homemade (recipe to come), but Trader Joe’s and Abrahams are best in terms of taste and nutrition. Abraham’s is lowest in calories while TJ’s is highest in protein and fiber.

Stay tuned for hummus recipe.