I love hummus.
I remember the first time I ever had it. I was in the Florida Keys on a family trip. My sister Jackie bought Stacey’s Pita Chips and Sabra Original Hummus.
I told you I remember!
For a while, I only ate hummus with pita chips (it’s all I knew). But now, pretzels, pita, roti, wraps, raw veggies, bean burgers–you name it! It adds a creamy flavor that is rare to find in a plant-based meal.
However, traditional hummus contains added oil.
If you have read our ‘Reducing Added Oils’ blog, you know Alison and I strive (we are far from perfect) to consume a diet low in added oils. Yes, even olive oil. Living a whole food plant-based lifestyle (#wfpb) involves avoiding processed foods. Oils are processed foods since the oil is extracted from the whole olive, coconut, etc.
Even though olive oil is thought to be “heart healthy”, it may impair your arteries’ ability to relax and dilate normally. (1)
Let me explain.
Our blood vessels are lined with endothelial cells. These cells are the barrier between our blood and our body’s tissues. Almost all tissues depend on blood supply and the blood supply depends on endothelial cells. (2) As you can tell, endothelial cells are pretty important.
They are involved in blood clotting, the formation of new blood vessels, and recruitment of immune defense cells. All oils, both animal and plant derived, tend to worsen endothelial function. Within hours of consuming fat, our arteries stiffen and the ability to dilate is impaired. (3) If our arteries have a reduced ability to dilate, it decreases blood flow and can result in high blood pressure.
Therefore, impaired endothelial function is an indication of the early development of cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis) and seen in patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes. (3)
If you are interested in learning more about this, this article provides a great overview of why oil is not healthy for us.
Personally, I find it extremely difficult to avoid all added oil, especially when going out to eat. If I can eliminate oil in my household, then I know I don’t have to be obsessive when I go out to eat.
Since hummus is a weakness of mine, I am excited about this easy, oil-free, preservative-free option!
Now, a few notes about the recipe. Before you start, you should decide if a smooth texture is a must for you. If so, it’s best to remove the peel of the chickpeas.
I have found two methods that work well to remove the peels:
Remove by hand, straight out of the can.
Bring a small pot of water to boil and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. This will help loosen up the peel.
I know both of these options are a little time consuming, but worth the smooth texture!
If you don’t feel like you need the wonderfully smooth hummus, you can skip this step.
Since we aren’t using oil, we need something to make it creamy. I achieved this with whipped aquafaba.
Aquafaba is the liquid leftover from cooked or canned chickpeas. The trick to whipping aquafaba is using a hand or stand mixer. Whipping aquafaba takes about 4 minutes to get it foamy with and peaks like meringue.
I promise it’s easier than it seems.
Now, time for the complete recipe! Enjoy!
Makes about 1.5 cups
15 oz can of chickpeas, drained liquid (aquafaba) reserved
¼ cup of aquafaba
1 tsp baking soda, optional
2 – 3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 lemon ( 2 – 3 tablespoons )
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Optional toppings: paprika, roasted pine nuts, oregano, etc
Hand-held mixer and food processor/blender
Bring a small pot of water to boil. While you wait, open your can of chickpeas reserve ¼ cup of the aquafaba liquid and set aside. Then, rinse the chickpeas.
Once boiling, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and the chickpeas to the pot. The baking soda will help loosen the peels. Since the chickpeas are already cooked, only leave them in there for 2-3 minutes (until you start seeing some of the peels float). Remove from the heat and immediately strain and rinse with cold water.
Now, you’ll want to go through the chickpeas and discard as many of the peels as possible for a smooth texture. Add the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and salt to your food processor.
Next, add your aquafaba to a bowl and whip it with a hand-held blender. This should take about 4 minutes, more or less. Once the aquafaba is creating peaks, add it to your food processor. Blend everything until smooth, about 1 – 2 minutes.
Store hummus in a well-sealed container in the fridge up to 5 days (no preservatives here!). Enjoy!
Vogel RA, Corretti MC, Plotnick GD. The postprandial effect of components of the Mediterranean diet on endothelial function. J A Coll Cardiol. 2000;36(5):1455-60.
Alberts, Bruce, et al. “Blood Vessels and Endothelial Cells.” Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26848/.
Oliveira, Rosane. “Is Olive Oil Bad for Your Heart?” Forks Over Knives, 19 Mar. 2019, www.forksoverknives.com/why-olive-oil-is-not-healthy-for-your-heart/#gs.5rvsr6.
*Please note: While Lauren wrote this blog, Alison (Oncology Dietitian) reviewed and approved all of the research.
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