As a hummus company, we are always getting asked what’s in hummus. Shocker. And while our answer often varies due to innovative new flavors arriving on the market (such as Kale Pesto hummus, Mango Tomatillo hummus, and even Chocolate!), traditional hummus is made from a simple combination of hearty, healthy ingredients. The base ingredient is of course garbanzo beans – also known as chickpeas, bengal grams, Egyptian peas, and ceci beans. While it derives much of its nutritional value and signature creamy texture from garbanzo beans, the other ingredients give hummus its unique and versatile flavor.
What’s in Hummus:
Traditional Middle Eastern humus is made from cooked garbanzo beans, tahini, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt.
Mainly, hummus is made of garbanzo beans. They are one of the earliest known cultivated legumes, originating in the Middle East but now grown in a variety of warmer locales. Garbanzo beans’ low water demand – the lowest of almost any crop grown in the US! – as well as their erosion-preventing deep root systems and naturally insecticidal leaves, makes them a sustainable and earth-conscious crop choice. At HOPE we strive to source our entire garbanzo bean supply domestically, maintaining high quality through partnerships with our growers. And as part of our USDA Organic certification, we only deal with suppliers who can trace their beans through planting, harvest, sorting, transport, and cooking, to ensure that only the highest grade of garbanzo beans is allowed into our product.
Tahini is a sesame seed paste, made from soaking sesame seeds in water and then crushing them to separate the bran from the kernels. When the seeds are then soaked in salt water, the bran sinks and allows the floating kernels to be collected, toasted, and ground into paste. It is used not only in traditional Middle Eastern foods, but also in Asian cuisine and even modern American healthy diets, as a way to add luxuriously creamy texture.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Any discussion of what hummus is made from has to include olive oil as a main ingredient, and the oil’s quality greatly affects the quality of the dip as a whole. While olive oil is any oil derived from the fruit of the olive tree, the processing of olive oil creates tremendous differences in the taste and nutrient density of the final product. Extra Virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the purest form of olive oil, containing the least Oleic Acid (created by fats broken down into fatty acids), and providing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that lesser olive oils lack. The use of Extra Virgin olive oil in humus denotes quality and greater health benefits.
Well known for its unique pungent flavor, garlic is a member of the Allium (onion) family, along with shallots, onions and leeks. It also contains Allacin, a potent medicinal compound, and as such is one of the earliest recorded plants used by humans for its medicinal properties.
Lemon juice contains high levels of Vitamin C, and is an effective natural preservative due to its citric acid content. It also adds tanginess and a light, fresh flavor to hummus.
Sea salt is produced by the evaporation of seawater, leaving behind salt rich in vital minerals such as potassium and calcium. Also having a more understated flavor than most other salts, it adds depth to hummus’ flavor without overpowering it.
At HOPE, we were first inspired by our love of traditional hummus. However, we think of flavor like we do life… sometimes the traditional and comfortable is perfect, and sometimes we want something new and exciting! Some cultural crossovers we love in our hummus are mangos with tomatillos, kale with pesto, avocado with jalapeño, or coconut with curry. The possibilities are endless!