January 1, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Hummus

Like a lot of other vegetarians, I love hummus, and always thought it was a really good source of protein since it is made from chickpeas.

[However,] I just looked at the nutrition facts for a container of hummus I bought and see that each serving only has one gram of protein.

That doesn't seem right to me. Aren't chickpeas pretty high in protein?

-- Marcus (last name withheld)

Baltimore, MD

I often hear people erroneously refer to hummus as a "protein-packed" spread.

Although it is a decent -- and delicious -- source of heart-healthy fats, it is no protein powerhouse.

You are right -- chickpeas deliver quite a bit of protein. A mere half cup of them adds six grams of protein to your meal.

How, then, do two tablespoons of hummus only add up to one gram?

Simple -- hummus is more than just mashed chickpeas. Garlic, lemon juice, tahini (sesame seed paste), salt, and olive oil round out traditional recipes.

Thus, two tablespoons of hummus contain approximately one tenth of a cup of actual chickpeas!

To get the six grams of protein in a half cup of chickpeas, you would need to eat approximately one cup of hummus.

If adding some protein to your day is a priority, you are better off adding half a cup of chickpeas to your salad (6 grams of protein, 143 calories) than using a cup of hummus as a dip (6 grams of protein, 410 calories).


Doha Quinn said...

I am living in the Middle East, where we have this wonderful food every day. After eating freshly prepared hummus, I will never, I say Never, eat it out those mass produced ones from the market ever again. I finally took the plunge and made my own hummus - what a joy! Easy, quick, delicious. And you can better control what goes in if you do it yourself. I managed to get my mini-prep on a power converter to do the work with very little problem. Suggestions for great hummus: add some cilantro! some black or green olives ! use a different bean - I love canellini beans for this. I also make pumpkin hummus - canned pumpkin, a wee bit of tahini, garlic, olive oil - and the result is just magic. Please, try it. You'll love it.

Andy Bellatti said...


I agree! Nothing beats freshly made hummus. Best part is -- it only takes a few minutes and no kitchen skills are required!

Sexy.Porsha said...

I also agree there is nothing better than making your own hummus. I was one of those who bought pre made hummus from whole foods and trader joes. But when I got married we had to start saving money for a house one day. So that ment no more star bucks or eating out and for that matter buy expensive pre made foods including hummus. But I love hummus, so I had no choice but to make it my self. And I had no Idea how to make it, so I googled hummus recipe and lo and behold a youtube video showing me how to make hummus. I promise this was the best hummus I have ever tasted and I know a lot of middle eastern people. But this recipe from Dedemed, I think that was her name, or dede, was amazing, it was to die for it was so good. So in closing I agree making your own hummus is way better especially if you have a good recipe.