Health, Nutrition, Snacks

Get Ready for International Hummus Day

If Nutella gets its own day – as it does on February 5th – why not hummus? Don’t get me wrong, I love that chocolate hazelnut spread, but nutritionally, it doesn’t quite measure up to hummus.

So the good news is that on May 13, you can celebrate this delicious blend of chickpeas and tahini that originated in thirteenth-century Egypt. Of course, its popularity has spread far beyond the Middle East, and it is as well-liked in Austria as it is in Australia – not to mention Canada, where we can find more variations than I dare to count.

What is Hummus & Its Health Benefits?

In its most basic form, hummus is comprised of chickpeas, tahini (a paste made from toasted and ground sesame seeds), olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Hence, this whole-food dip has a solid nutritional profile.

Hummus is relatively high in healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), along with moderate amounts of fibre and protein. And in regards to the latter, when you combine hummus and pita, you are consuming all nine essential amino acids, making it a good plant-based alternative to animal protein.

I’ve been a fan of hummus for decades, making it my go-to dip for raw veggies. Especially broccoli and cauliflower, as there’s no better way to make these cruciferous superfoods taste even better.

Getting Creative with Hummus Flavours

But one can eventually grow tired of plain hummus, as the ingredients – other than garlic – are a bit bland. That’s where brands like Summer Fresh and Sunflower Kitchen can spice things up.

I’ve gone through the Summer Fresh lineup, and am particularly fond of roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, and sweet potato hummus. The avocado variety is good as well, although I prefer guacamole for this particular fruit. (Yes, avocado is a berry!)

Sunflower Kitchen offers a nice range of organic hummuses, with choices like roasted garlic and spinach, turmeric and lentil, and beet & dill. The latter is especially healthy, with beets being recognized for everything from cardiovascular to athletic benefits.

Of course, you don’t have to purchase a tub of this treat, as there are many good recipes that require no more than a few basic ingredients, minimal time – and a blender. Here’s a traditional recipe. You can tinker with the ingredients to vary its taste and texture.

I’ve heard of some wacky hummus flavours (like cookie dough!), which may be ideal for the adventurous palate. There’s also no shortage of food that can be dipped in hummus, as it doesn’t stop with the items already mentioned. I have also used it on sandwiches, as a healthier alternative to mayo.

So, with only five days left until International Hummus Day, not to mention that we’re all stuck at home, why not put together a celebration for your family? Something like an old-fashioned fondue party, but without the molten cheese – or chocolate.

Let me know how it goes!

— Neil

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