11 Ways to Make Tastier, Healthier Hummus

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You should think of hummus as a white canvas and vegetables in your refrigerator or herbs in your garden as the paints to create a colorful work of art.  This painting will not go on the wall but in your belly. Hummus is simple to make and will pair well with almost any flavor you want to add.  Although the basic recipe includes olive oil and tahini (sesame seed paste), too much can be a little too much--it can taste bitter, and it does contain a lot of fat, though it is the good-for-you kind. In my recipe, I reduced the amount of tahini and replaced it with drained and rinsed white kidney beans. 
Start with my Simple Hummus.
 Try these easy quick swaps to make your hummus creamy and not so heavy in oil.
  • Replace 50% or all of the olive oil with plain fat-free Greek yogurt.  The yogurt, with its natural acidity, will also boost the flavor.
  • Replace 50%  or all the tahini with rinsed and drained white kidney beans as I did.  Tahini boasts a strong, somewhat bitter flavor so this tip is perfect for a large crowd of different "likes" and small children.
  • Use roasted garlic instead of raw garlic.  Roasting the garlic will subdue the raw bite and add creaminess.
  • Remove the skins of chickpeas by pinching them between your fingers to ensure a creamy hummus. This will reduce the fiber, unfortunately.
  • Use blanched edamame instead of chickpeas.  Pretty and colorful for spring or summer, this swap also boosts the protein. Remove the skins the same way you would with chickpeas.Mix it up with new additions.
  • Add cooked sweet potatoes or pureed canned pumpkin for a fall-influenced hummus.  Reduce chickpeas by 50%; add 4 ounces cooked sweet potatoes or canned pumpkin.  Throw in some fall spices as well such as cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne.
  • Stir in toasted sesame oil instead of ground tahini paste.  A little will go a long way--add just 1/2 teaspoon to my basic recipe for a strong sesame flavor.
  • Toss in sautéed eggplant and cumin.  Serve as a side with curry or vindaloo dishes.
  • Add 1/4 cup almond butter to the basic recipe for extra thick, nutty hummus. 
  • Roasted red peppers and hummus are a perfect pair.  Stir in one cup chopped peppers for a sunset-colored hummus.
  • Other great additions: finely chopped parsley, fresh squeezed lemon juice, basil pesto, reduced balsamic vinegar, chopped pine nuts, minced black olives, or a sprinkle of feta and red pepper flakes. 
Now that you have this flavorful hummus, what do you do with it? 
  • Use it as a sandwich spread in place of mayonnaise.
  • Toss with pasta for a higher-protein sauce.
  • Spread over flatbread to swap for traditional pizza sauce. 
  • Mix into tomato sauce for a creamy pasta or pizza topping.
  • Spread hummus over meats before roasting. The thick spread will stand up in the heat of the oven and the flavors will work as substitute for a rub but will develop into a creamy pan sauce.
  • Swirl with salsa for a creamy dip.
Try one of these tasty hummus variations:And try this easy appetizer: Mini Stuffed Potatoes with Charred Corn and Red Pepper Hummus
What do you like to do with hummus? Do you prefer it plain or with a topping? If so, which topping?
Want more healthy recipes from me and fellow SparkPeople members? Be sure to subscribe to SparkPeople's Recipe of the Day email. Click here to sign up!
Did you know SparkRecipes is now on Facebook? Click here to "Like" us!
Like this blog? Then you'll love "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight."