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10 Creative New Ways to Use Hummus

Hummus is a go-to snack for those who are trying to eat healthily, but did you know that you can do so much more with hummus than simply using it as a dip?

Hummus, the classic dip made from pureed chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and tahini (sesame seed paste), is not only delicious, it is also chock-full of beneficial nutrients including protein, fiber, iron, folate, copper, and manganese. Hummus is also incredibly affordable — and more scrumptious — if you make it from scratch at home.

While hummus has become a household staple, most people only use it as a dip for chips, pita bread, or veggies. However, hummus is insanely versatile and can add a velvety texture and delectable flavor to many different recipes without providing a ton of saturated (unhealthy) fat typically found in butter, cream, cheese, and other heavy ingredients often used for creamy consistency.

Sandwich Spread

Mayonnaise and other oil-based sandwich spreads are extremely high in fat and calories. Instead, try spreading a layer of hummus on your sandwich bread or inside your whole-grain wraps. The nutty taste of the hummus pairs particularly well with chicken or turkey slices and the velvety texture provides a great contrast to crisp sandwich fixins such as bell peppers, carrots, or cucumber slices.

Boost Your Burgers

Add 1/2 cup hummus to 1 pound of lean ground turkey, chicken, or beef to help stretch the meat and keep the fat count down while adding a boost of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals which are not found in meat.

Salad Dressings

Most creamy salad dressings are loaded with fat, but you can make your own delicious, creamy, low-fat salad dressing at home by using hummus as the base. The pungent garlic flavor of the hummus helps balance out bitter salad greens such as kale and arugula. Simply thin out the hummus with a little lemon juice or vinegar and water. Add additional salt, pepper, and other seasonings if necessary and dress your favorite veggie-filled salad.

Get Saucy

Do you want a creamy pasta sauce but wish to avoid all of the fat and calories from the usual suspects responsible for creaminess — butter, cheese, and cream? Try this quick, effortless alternative to creamy sauces (I’m looking at you, high-calorie alfredo sauce). Simply mix two parts hummus with one part vegetable or chicken stock. Stir over cooked pasta, along with roasted red peppers, olives, or fresh tomatoes.

Hummus Pizza Sauce

Rather than topping your pizza with the typical tomato-based sauce, smear on a layer of hummus instead. Use about 1/2 cup of hummus for a 12-inch whole-grain crust (store-bought or homemade). Spread the hummus evenly on the crust, top with tons of colorful veggies, cheese, spices, and lean proteins. Bake until cheese is melted and corners start to get brown and crispy. Top with chopped fresh herbs such as basil and oregano and enjoy!

Thicken Up Your Soups

Make your lackluster soups more luscious by stirring in several spoonfuls of hummus to create a creamy soup without the saturated fat of most cream-based varieties like bisques or chowders.

Jazz Up Baked Chicken

Oven-baked chicken breast is often a go-to dish for those watching their weight, but it can definitely get a little boring if you don’t get creative with the preparation. Try hummus-crusted chicken by spreading your favorite type of hummus on top of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit internally and the hummus is golden.

Mayo Replacement for Deviled Eggs

To boost the nutrition of this cookout favorite, use hummus in place of mayonnaise. Use about 1/2 cup of hummus for 8 egg yolks, and add in minced onion, celery, or bell peppers for added crunch, color, flavor, and nutrients.

Dessert Hummus?

Sweet hummus sounds silly, but it might just be the next big thing! I’ve tried it and can attest that it is delicious! Several companies are already selling it at major grocery stores. Delighted By Hummus sells “The Original Dessert” hummus in the following flavors: Vanilla Bean, Brownie Batter, Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Choc-o-mint. Aldi’s Little Salad Bar brand also sells two dessert hummus flavors — Vanilla Bean and Brownie Batter (I tried both varieties and loved them). A two-tablespoon serving of the Aldi variety has 50 calories, 1 gram of fat, 9 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

To make your own dessert hummus at home, simply combine mashed or pureed chickpeas with unsweetened cocoa powder, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a couple tablespoons of water or milk (any kind--I use almond milk), and a sweetener (maple syrup or a calorie-free sweetener such as stevia or monk fruit). Other optional mix-ins include cinnamon, canned pumpkin, powdered peanut butter, chocolate chips, or sprinkles.

Icing on the Cake

Use the dessert hummus as a healthier icing for cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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