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Hummus Dip vs. Tzatziki: Battle of the Dips

Hummus dip is that antediluvian Levantine Arab dip that is best known as being made from either mashed or cooked chickpeas. Hummus is usually also rounded out by including garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil and tahini. It is a well-known food throughout the Middle East, where it is quite popular, and it has also spread to other parts of the globe. Tzatziki comes from the Greek and Turkish parts of the world, where it is a meze, or an appetizer. Tzatziki is usually made from yogurt mixed with salt, garlic, cucumbers, mint, dill, olive oil, pepper, parsley and lemon juice. When it comes down to which dip is better, it is all a strict matter of personal preference and the type of food you just happen to be eating.

Hummus Dip

Hummus works best as either a dip or an appetizer. You generally eat it by scooping some of it up with some flatbread like pita. You can have hummus dip as part of a meze (which is an appetizer course that consists of the serving of several small dishes) or you can have it as a companion food to chicken that's been grilled, fish, eggplant or even falafel. You can even garnish your hummus dip with some cilantro, cucumber, chopped tomato, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, parsley, paprika, olive oil, pickles, olives or sumac. Outside the traditional environment of the Middle East, you can even have your hummus with just plain old crackers or tortilla chips. Hummus has about 86 calories for a serving that's close to 45 grams, and just about 10 grams of carbohydrates for the same serving size. Sodium is very high, with 120 milligrams being present in about 45 grams of hummus.

Tzatziki Dip

Tzatziki is always served cold, and its most traditional use has been as a sauce for either gyros or souvlaki, and also as an appetizer or part of a meze in Greek and Turkish cuisine. Tzatziki is consistently served as an accompaniment in both Greek and Turkish cuisine, yet in other places, it is served with pita as part of the first course of meals. Variations of tzatziki are common in Middle Eastern countries like Iraq and Iran. Iraq has something called jajeek, which is usually served as a part of a meze and together with alcohol. Iran's version of tzatziki uses a thicker kind of yogurt. Health-wise, tzatziki contains only 54 calories per a 45 gram serving; it also comes with only 8 grams of carbohydrates and a negligible amount of sodium.

Which to Pick?

If you make your determination based on health concerns, then hummus is clearly the less healthy dip, with high sodium being a particular concern. However, if you want to eat without worrying about your health, hummus is a great dip that goes with a lot of foods like fish, chicken and falafel. Tzatziki goes well with traditional Greek foods like gyros, and it also is healthier, with a lot less sodium.

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