Few foods work as well in the cold wintertime as they do in the heat of summer. That’s one of the reasons this hummus recipe is my go-to when I need something nutritious and filling for family or guests. I’m going to show you how to prepare tasty homemade hummus that is both healthy and easy to make. It works great as a snack or a light meal and can easily feed a crowd. Served on homemade bread and root vegetables in the winter or with fresh produce from the summer garden, it is both tasty and satisfying. And I’ll be teaching you how to use dried chickpeas to even further boost the nutrition and lower the cost.
So what’s in hummus?
Hummus ingredients have a great shelf life: dry chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, spices. All things you can easily keep on hand and use as needed. Many people make their homemade hummus from canned chickpeas- while there are great options for organic canned chickpeas, by using dry chickpeas you can improve both the nutrition and flavor of your hummus. I buy my chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) in bulk, 25 lbs at a time. They require some simple preparation, but the benefits far outweigh the additional steps.
Benefits of using dry beans
There are many benefits to using dried beans of any sort, including:
Using dry beans is considerably less expensive than buying and using the canned versions.
Because canned beans are heat-treated, they lose a lot of flavor and texture. Hummus made from dried chickpeas will be creamier and smoother.
This is definitely the most significant reason to start your hummus from dried beans. By preparing your chickpeas at home you can control the amount of phytic acid in them. I’m going to take a quick detour here to explain what that means and why it matters.
Phytic acid, beans, and digestion
You may have heard of phytic acid before. Plenty of people are talking about it, in health blogs, traditional food communities, and fermentation classes. Phytic acid is what we call an “anti-nutrient” and an enzyme inhibitor. Basically, it binds minerals in the digestive tract, making them less available to our bodies. If we eat food that contains a lot of phytic acid, many of the vitamins and minerals will just pass through our digestive track. Because it is an enzyme inhibitor, phytic acid also reduces our ability to digest starches, proteins, and fats. That’s a lot of lost nutrition! So let’s talk about how we can neutralize phytic acid and regain those great benefits from your food.
All plant foods have phytic acid, but you’ll find it most in the seeds– beans, nuts, grains, etc. Phytic acid is what allows seeds to store their nutrients instead of going rancid, degrading, or sprouting before the seed is planted. This is great when we want to store the seeds long-term, either for planting or cooking, but when we want to eat the seed itself we need to unlock that nutrition for our bodies to access it. And that’s where soaking comes in. Soaking your beans in water will degrade the phytic acid that blocks nutrient absorption. It’s a simple step that allows you to reap far more benefit from the dry beans.
Recipe: Homemade Hummus using Dry Chickpeas
Adding the step of soaking beans will increase the time of your recipe, but barely affects the work. You’ll want to begin preparing your beans about 36 hours before you want your hummus. Try starting the beans right after dinner. This will allow most of the prep time to be through the night.
Begin by taking dry chickpeas, about 1.5 cups, and cover them with water. Allow them to soak on your kitchen counter for 24 hours. After the beans have soaked, drain the water off, rinse the beans, and put them in the slow cooker with fresh water. Cook the beans for about 12 hours (overnight). The end product should be firm, but easily crushed between your fingers. If you need to used canned chickpeas for this recipe, you can easily substitute two 15 ounces cans, drained and rinsed.
Once the beans are cooked, add them to your food processor.
At this point, you will add all the additional flavors for your hummus. Hummus is usually made with tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, but I rarely have that on hand. Feel free to substitute any nut or seed butter. I often use a high quality natural peanut butter.
Along with half a cup of nut or seed butter, toss in your peeled garlic (I use 6 cloves because I love garlic– feel free to adjust to your tastes), 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika.
If you don’t have fresh lemons or lemon juice on hand, try to avoid the shelf stable stuff from the store. It has so many additives and very little real juice in it. A better alternative is good quality apple cider vinegar. It will change the taste of the hummus slightly, but it will still be delicious.
Once everything is in the food processor, pop on your lid and blend, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides and make sure it’s all blending evenly. Your goal is a smooth consistency. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.
After the hummus is blended, taste test for seasoning. If you’re happy with the way it turned out, it’s ready to serve!
This is perfect for serving with all sorts of fresh vegetables (carrots, broccoli, celery, snap peas, you name it!), breads, crackers, pitas, or olives. Hummus is extremely versatile. Remember that the best tasting vegetables are going to come from your local farmer. Once you’ve tried the real thing, you’ll never go back!
- 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas (I get mine here)
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup tahini or nut butter
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika