I am the first to admit that when I first heard of hummus and saw it while browsing the deli section of the grocery store, I had no idea what it was or even what ingredients it contained.
For some reason, I envisioned something along the lines of haggis, which I knew and did not care for. However, after some research, I finally took the plunge and purchased some hummus to taste.
If I’m being honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting it to taste like. But, to my surprise and delight, it ended up being a delicious taste that I enjoyed.
So, what does hummus taste like? Read on to learn everything you need to know about hummus!
What Is Hummus?
If you have ever dined in a Middle Eastern restaurant, you would have most assuredly seen hummus listed on the menu. However, not knowing what hummus was, there was also the chance you chose to skip adding it to your order.
The fact remains, though, that you have probably wondered just what hummus is?
Hummus is a favor-rich dish that originates from the Middle East. Most commonly used as a dip or a spread, hummus contains cooked chickpeas (also known by the name garbanzo bean) that are then mashed and blended with various spices, including tahini (sesame seeds ground into a paste), lemon juice, cumin, paprika, and garlic. The addition of these and many other spices significantly enhances the flavor.
In addition to the spices, you’ll typically find parsley and a bit of olive oil mixed in. Hummus is a dish high in protein that is plant-based and often enjoyed on pita bread, sandwiches, and as a dip for vegetables like celery and cucumber.
Because the primary ingredient in making hummus is mashed chickpeas, this tasty treat is 100% friendly to those pursuing a vegan lifestyle.
Even if you are not vegan, hummus has the advantage of being chock full of many of the minerals and nutrients essential for bodies needs, including but not limited to Vitamin B, Iron, Phosphorus, and Fiber.
What Does Hummus Taste Like?
The texture of hummus is rich and creamy, with the chosen ingredients coming together to form a paste. Since it has a paste consistency, hummus has a smooth texture, which most commonly results in it being paired with such items as sandwiches and vegetables.
Depending on the ingredients used in the hummus recipe, it can have a strong garlic flavor. Other recipes make use of a variety of ingredients for their base flavor. You can find varieties of hummus made from (and tasting like) roasted red pepper, roasted beet, sweet potato, just to name a few – you can even go for chocolate hummus!
Overall, the flavor of hummus is unlike any other dish and one unto itself. You have to experience the taste of hummus to truly appreciate it!
Does Hummus Taste Like Chickpeas?
Because hummus is often composed of various spices and ingredients, the pureed chickpeas actually contribute very little to the taste. What is unique about hummus is that it adopts and takes on the flavor of those ingredients that you choose to incorporate into it.
Although most often ingredients as mentioned above of paprika, parsley, cumin, and garlic are used, many also enjoy the addition of roasted red pepper and a touch of sun-dried tomatoes.
What’s The Texture of Hummus Like?
The texture of the hummus will frequently depend on if it’s store-bought or homemade hummus.
Store bought hummus will have a creamy, exceptionally smooth texture to it. However, more often than not, the hummus will prove to be lacking in overall flavor.
On the other hand, homemade hummus can lend itself to customization and an abundance of flavor. Depending on the hummus recipe that you use, there’s a wide variety in the texture of the final product.
However, it’s often challenging to achieve the same creamy smoothness in homemade hummus as is seen in the store-bought version.
What Tastes Similar to Hummus?
If you require some hummus for a recipe or a snack but do not have any on hand, there are a few suitable substitutes available.
- Greek Yogurt – with the addition of some salt and pepper, along with some finely chopped garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Tahini Yogurt – mix equal parts of tahini (which is the sesame seed paste that makes hummus’ flavor as unique as it is) and Greek yogurt along with a generous addition of salt.
- Tahini Sauce – a mixture of 3-4 tablespoons of tahini, lemon juice, and water.
- Almond Hummus – a puree consisting of almond flour, water, lemon juice, and garlic seasoned with salt and olive oil.
Is Hummus Healthy?
Right about at this point, you are probably wondering to yourself, this all sounds good, but is hummus healthy for me? The short answer is – YES! Not only is hummus full of minerals and nutrients, but it also offers a variety of health benefits. There are several benefits of eating hummus that have been scientifically proven.
Chock Full Of Protein
Hummus is a plant-based food heavy in protein. So much so that as little as a 3.5-ounce serving offers you a whopping 7.9 grams of protein. This protein content lends it to be the perfect choice for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet, that are conscious of their protein and vitamin intake.
It is best to remember that protein needs to be consumed in the proper amounts to ensure your body’s optimal growth and for efficient immune system function.
When the body experiences such issues as illness, injury, or infection, it works to protect itself through triggering inflammation. Although inflammation is a natural occurrence in the body, it can often linger on longer than is necessary.
Hummus offers ingredients that work with the body to battle and eliminate chronic inflammation. One such ingredient is extra virgin olive oil, which is loaded with antioxidants that contain benefits such as anti-inflammatories.
Tahini, used in the making of hummus, which is comprised of sesame seeds, may aid in reducing the body’s markers that lead to inflammation.
Promotes Good Gut Health
The chickpeas in hummus are loaded with fiber. This can aid in the improvement of the overall gut and digestive health.
Hummus offers 6 grams of fiber to every 3.5 ounces consumed. This equals 24% of the recommended daily intake for women as well as 16% for men. Another added benefit is that fiber keeps you regular.
We have all heard recently how vital good gut health is, and hummus aids in this endeavor. The dietary fiber in hummus can help control and maintain the good bacteria vital to healthy gut function.
Controls And Maintains Blood Sugar Levels
The main ingredient in hummus is that of chickpeas, which is known to have a beneficial low glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is used relating to foods to scale the ability of a specific food to raise blood sugar.
Those foods that rank with a high GI are digested quickly by the body, which results in rapid absorption. This rapid absorption will lead to a spike, or even fall, in the level of blood sugars.
On the other hand, those foods that rank with a low GI are digested by the body slowly and absorbed less rapidly. The results are a more balanced and controlled rise and fall in the level of blood sugars.
Reduction In Heart Disease
An estimated 1 in 4 deaths worldwide are caused by heart disease.
Hummus offers multiple ingredients that are considered to help reduce those risk factors associated with heart disease. In addition to the health benefits of chickpeas, the olive oil used in hummus contains heart-healthy fats.
Despite these promising facts, long-term studies are still necessary to quantify just how advantageous hummus could be to overall heart health.
Maintain Healthy Body Weight
A survey conducted nationally determined that individuals who consumed either chickpeas or hummus were 53% less likely to be obese. However, the results were inconclusive as to whether the properties of the chickpeas or hummus consumed lead to the reduction in obesity or the overall healthy diet of the individuals surveyed.
Hummus does offer several properties that are known to promote weight loss. Hummus is an excellent source of much-needed daily dietary fiber, a trigger for fullness in the body. By helping us to feel full sooner, fiber helps reduce overall calorie intake and, in turn, aids in the promotion of weight loss.
What Do You Eat With Hummus?
Like with any other type of food, you can eat hummus with whatever you fancy. However, there are a few suggested side dishes that are more typically paired along with hummus.
- Vegetables – such as celery or cucumbers
- Salty snacks – such as pretzels or crackers
- Pita bread
- Chips – such as pita chips or tortilla chips
- Apple – preferably sliced
- Toast sticks
I suggest you experiment to see what flavor combinations are the most appealing to you!