Hummus is a food that has been around a very long time. The earliest mention of hummus comes from the Middle East in the 13th century. Hummus means chickpeas in Arabic. Hummus is undeniably healthy. It is particularly high in folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese and a good source of calcium, potassium and selenium (1,2). Hummus is also high in fiber. The main ingredient in hummus is chickpeas. Studies show that adults who eat hummus or chickpeas regularly are associated with a 53% lower risk of being obese and a 51% reduction in risk of high blood sugar when compared with people who don’t eat hummus (3). The addition of red peppers to hummus boosts its levels of Vitamin C and phytochemicals such as beta-carotene and lutein.
Recently we were looking for a new idea for a quick and delicious lunch and we became reacquainted with hummus. What could be easier than spreading some hummus on a piece of hearty whole wheat bread and topping it with a tomato and some pepper? We were hooked! But we were buying large quantities of commercial hummus and noticed that it contained an unnecessarily high level of fat. So Rob (my husband who loves to cook) began to put his substantial creative skills to work. After many versions, this is our favourite.
ROB’S ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS
2 sweet red peppers
1 whole head of garlic, cooked as directed (Youcan substitute with 2 tbsp store-bought minced garlic but don’t use raw garlic.)
Small amount of canola oil
2 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed (or 4 cups of well-cooked chick peas)
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp tahini (optional)
Dash of paprika
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the red peppers in half and remove seeds and stem. Place pepper halves skin-side-up on a cookie sheet and roast until the skin blisters and starts to turn black. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove the skin from the peppers.
Along with the red peppers, roast a whole head of garlic. First, slice the top off but leave the outer skin on the rest of the head. Brush on a small amount of canola oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place in the oven with the peppers and roast until it is brown and soft. (This takes about the same time as it takes for the peppers to cook.) Remove from oven and let cool. Peel off all the skins.
Place all the roasted garlic and red pepper in a food processor and blend well. Add chick peas, lemon juice, salt, sugar, cumin and tahini. Blend at high speed until smooth. Add a bit of water or more lemon juice to thin if desired. You can also increase the amount of cumin if you like.
Transfer hummus to desired container and garnish with paprika.
Store hummus in refrigerator or freeze for future use.
2 Wallace, T.C., Murray, R., Zelman, K.M. The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus. Nutrients. Dec 2016; 8(12): 766.
3 O’Neil, C.E., Nicklas, T.A. , Fulgoni III, V.L. Chickpeas and Hummus are associated with Better Nutrient Intake, Diet Quality, and Levels of Some Cardiovascular Risk Factors: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2010. J Nutr Food Sci. 2014; 4:254.