If you could eat one thing for the sake of health, this would be one of them. Chickpeas! Just the value that prevents osteoporosis is huge. As well, the iron, calcium, and other nutrients in hummus contribute to healthy bone structure and strength.
25 years ago there wasn’t a farmer in the US who knew how to farm chickpeas, now they can’t get them in the ground fast enough.
They are one of the oldest cultivated foods in existence and originated in the Middle East. If your purchasing dried chickpeas and cook your own, the smaller white-colored beans make the smoothest hummus. Not the larger beans typically found canned.
In the Middle East, hummus is not only a snack, or a topping for bread, it’s a whole meal. Fast food restaurants serve this as a single item with a topping much the same as a hotdog vendor at baseball games or stuffed baked potato. One of my favorite toppings is sauteed mushrooms and hot peppers over warm hummus.
Unfortunately, the chickpeas are quite different in America, making it hard to create that same balanced texture and flavors. Similar to Parma hams in Italy, the efforts to create the same flavor in other parts of the world doesn’t equal the same results, but it doesn’t mean the flavors are not good outside of the Middle East. If you ever travel, you must stop at a small booth or restaurant, they are usually tiny places as seen in the picture to the left.
The larger bowls with paprika and herbs is indeed hummus. This is one serving as it’s a whole meal for a patron. The texture is smooth and much more liquid making it quite palatable and easily eaten with pita bread as a spoon! Side dishes usually include pickles, onions, sliced eggs, avocado, radishes, whole chickpeas that are flavored with olive oil and spices, and depending on the restaurant, toppings can be added like sauteed mushrooms onions, and large beans that are indigenous to the region.
Salads are neverending around our world. They can change everything about how we feel about our bodies, our minds, and add fun to entertaining.
- Homemade hummus (I promise to post the recipe soon. Use a plain unflavored brand.)
- Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Pickles, preferably the small ones in brine, not in vinegar.
- Green onions, sliced
- Parsley, chopped
- Pumpkin seeds and black or white sesame seeds, browned or roasted. Heat the seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Continue to stir as they will heat up quickly. You want only a slight bit of color on the seeds. They will begin to pop in about 3 minutes. That’s usually a sign they are close if not ready. Black seeds are easily burned as you can’t really tell they are cooked, but they will pop.
- Arugula leaves, optional
- Whole chickpeas for garnish
- Nan bread, warmed in over or over stovetop flames.
- Jalapeno peppers, to taste
- Tehina salad (recipe follows)
- Olive oil, to taste
Arugula can be placed at the top of the plate then spoon a portion of hummus over it for a beautiful look. Using the spoon, circle the spoon to create a crater in the center of the hummus.
Sprinkle and spoon the remaining ingredients on and around the hummus finishing off by drizzling olive oil over the top.
Heat the nan bread and serve.
- 1 cup tahini (sesame seed butter/paste) – I use the whole seed tehini, which means it’s wholegrain and will be very dark.
- 2-4 cloves garlic (We love 4)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
Pour the tahini in a mixing bowl with the garlic, and lemon juice. Slowly pour in the water as you stir, the paste will act strange at first by thickening to an ugly clumpy mess, but keep stirring and adding the water, it will soon become a rich smooth light mixture. Season and add the parsley. We love our tahini thick, but others love it thinner. Make it how your family enjoys it.
The tehina salad can be stored for a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Medical News Today, Megan Ware, RDN, L.D.,What are the benefits of chickpeas?