10 Apr This Dietitian’s Pantry Staple: Hummus
I often liken myself to the character in the Adam Sandler movie, You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, who eats everything with a hearty dollop of hummus. On a recent trip to Israel I couldn’t get enough of it! Israelis tend to eat it as a meal rather than as a side dish. Suffice to say that I was in culinary heaven.
Hummus is always on hand at my place. I use it as a spread on my sandwiches, in salad dressings, on grainy toast, with eggs and sides, and sometimes I just eat it straight from the tub. It’s also great with mushrooms, other veggies, and in a pita with salad (with or without falafel).
Chickpeas are the key ingredient in hummus. They certainly pack a nutritional punch. Chickpeas are a good source of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese and magnesium. They are also naturally low in fat, sugar and salt. Studies show that those who eat legumes regularly, such as chickpeas, are better able to manage their weight, and have less incidence of heart disease.
Try making your own hummus by blending together tinned chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and a pinch of salt. You can use it as a condiment, dip, salad dressing or just eat it as is.
As a side note, the conflict between Israel and her neighbours over territorial rights is well known. However, what is not so well publicized is the food war between Lebanon and Israel: the battle over which country makes the best (and biggest) hummus. Known as the Hummus War, it has been waging since 2006 when a team of Israeli chefs created a Guinness World Record amount of hummus. Since then, the feat has inspired chefs from both countries to go one better. As it stands, Lebanon currently holds the title for the largest batch of hummus ever created. Unfortunately due to current regional tensions, the Guinness World Record judges are steering clear of the Middle East, so the battle has reached a stalemate.
There’s no doubt that hummus is worth including in your diet. Some would even say that it’s worth waging war over it.