11 Yummy Ideas for What to Eat with Hummus
Hummus is a delicious creamy dip made with garbanzo beans or chickpeas. Learn 11 creative ideas for what to eat with hummus.
What is hummus?
Popular in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, hummus is a flavorful, creamy combination of blended chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and spices. It is generally used as a spread or a dip and is an integral part of a mezze platter (see my Vegan Charcuterie Board recipe).
While “plain” hummus is delicious, there are all sorts of variations you can either make or buy. These included roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, or Moroccan hummus. You can even make or buy dessert hummus!
Hummus is classified as vegan, although you should always check the labels of store-bought brands to be sure no animal products have been used. You also need to read the labels of any packaged brands to find out if that particular hummus is gluten-free.
Is hummus healthy?
There’s something about the creamy texture of hummus that makes eating it feel like an indulgence. So it’s good to know that you can indulge knowing that it’s good for you!
Hummus is an exceptionally clean and healthy food, composed mainly of ingredients that have their own superfood status.
Let’s go into all the health benefits of eating hummus.
Hummus is a useful source of fiber
Research has shown that raffinose – the kind of fiber in chickpeas – can improve our gut health. It does this by feeding the good bacteria in our intestines and stopping harmful bacteria from growing.
The same research also revealed that our gut bacteria may turn some of the fiber from chickpeas into butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid. Butyrate has been shown to have many health benefits, including protection against colon cancer and improvement in intestinal inflammation.
A diet rich in fiber also helps keep your bowel movements regular and easier to pass by softening them and adding bulk.
Hummus can reduce inflammation throughout your body
Inflammation is part of the immune system’s response to infections or injuries. But chronic inflammation – where your body continues to send inflammatory cells, even when there is no threat – can cause serious health issues.
The ingredients in hummus are useful in preventing chronic inflammation. Various studies have demonstrated that chickpeas and other legumes can help reduce inflammatory markers, while olive oil contains a compound called oleocanthal. This has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen.
Sesame seeds – from which tahini is made – are useful too and have been shown to be particularly beneficial for people with arthritis.
Hummus is a good source of protein and other nutrients
For those following vegetarian or vegan diets, meeting the recommended daily protein intake can be difficult (see my article about vegan diet dangers). This makes hummus a good choice, as it contains around 8g of protein per 100g (about half a cup).
Granted, a half a cup of hummus would be a lot in one sitting, but any extra protein is a good thing when you’re on a plant-based diet.
And, since hummus is often eaten as a snack with crackers or vegetables, it’s nice to get some protein when you’re snacking (see my list of the best gluten-free and dairy-free snacks).
Hummus also provides B vitamins, phosphorus, folate, and plant-based iron – all nutrients that can be harder to obtain via a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Hummus can help keep your weight in check
Hummus can be high in calories, so you need to make sure your serving sizes are moderate. Nevertheless, studies have shown that people who often consume chickpeas weigh less, have a lower BMI, and have a smaller waist circumference than those who don’t.
This may in part be due to the fact that one-third of the starch in chickpeas is a type called amylose. Amylose is known as a resistant starch which digests slowly and incompletely. This means that our bodies do not absorb as many calories from it. The result is that we feel fuller without digesting all of the calories!
The dietary fiber in chickpeas and other legumes also helps us stay full, curbing our appetite and preventing snacking between meals.
Hummus helps regulate blood sugar levels
The fiber, protein, and resistant starch in chickpeas and other legumes stop our bodies from digesting them too quickly.
Chickpeas have a low glycemic index (GI), which means that the energy we get from them is released more steadily. The result is that blood sugar levels remain consistent, instead of spiking as they do with some other foods.
Hummus may be good for your heart
Chickpeas, olive oil, and sesame seeds are all great sources of monounsaturated fats that support heart health. And there are several studies that show other benefits too.
In this research, for example, the effects of a chickpea supplemented diet on cholesterol levels were compared with those of a wheat-supplemented diet. It found that those on the chickpea supplemented diet had 4.6% lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Authors of an earlier study had also concluded that eating plenty of chickpeas or other legumes could lower levels of this cholesterol by 5% on average.
Many of the health benefits of hummus come from the olive oil it contains. If you are using shop-bought hummus, check the label to make sure the olive oil hasn’t been substituted with a cheaper and less beneficial alternative like sunflower oil or canola oil. You can also try my recipe for oil-free hummus if you prefer to skip the oil.
Tahini is made with ground sesame seeds. If you are sensitive to sesame, then try making your own hummus at home and simply leaving it out! It will still taste amazing.
11 Creative Ideas for What to Eat With Hummus
Now that we’ve reviewed all the health benefits of hummus, let’s talk about what to eat with hummus. There are so many options, but here are my top ideas. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
Just about every vegetable you can think of goes well with hummus!
Sweet little cherry tomatoes may be the best pairing of all, but cucumber, celery, avocado, sliced sweet peppers, and carrot sticks are wonderful too. What’s more, they can all be served raw, saving you time in the kitchen.
Alternatively, try veggies like snap peas, zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower. But if you don’t like them raw, steam them just enough to soften them while still retaining their crunch.
2. Pita bread
This is the classic accompaniment for hummus, and with good reason! Warm, soft pita stuffed with fresh, creamy hummus is a match made in heaven, and you can always throw in some sliced raw vegetables for added texture.
But if you want to change things up a little, try cutting the bread into triangles and baking it in the oven. This creates your own, healthy pita chips – perfect for dipping.
And, for those on gluten-free diets, be sure to look for gluten-free versions of pita bread at the store. Or, make your own!
All kinds of crackers work well with hummus, and that creamy and crunchy combination is irresistible!
Remember, though, that hummus has a robust flavor and the crackers should really let that shine through. So avoid particularly strongly seasoned varieties and go for those with a more delicate taste.
Rice cakes, gluten-free crackers, oat crackers, or things like pretzels and tortilla chips are all good choices.
4. Toast or sandwich
Perfect at any time of day, toast spread with hummus is easy to make and delicious to eat.
You can keep it simple – with nothing more than your favorite bread toasted to perfection and slathered in creamy hummus – or you can add toppings like sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, or even a fried egg (the flavor of the runny egg yolk combined with the hummus is simply divine!).
Or use your hummus in a sandwich. Because it’s so creamy, it makes a great – and healthy – alternative to mayonnaise, and you can put in other ingredients like sliced fresh veggies, cheese, and microgreens or broccoli sprouts.
5. Baked sweet potatoes
Just bake a scrubbed sweet potato for around an hour until soft (or make Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes), then split and top with a generous spoonful of hummus for a quick and easy meal.
Try adding some harissa for a little fire, or why not make some crispy oven-baked kale chips to sprinkle on top for some satisfying texture? Just tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces, toss with olive oil and salt, then bake for around 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
6. Fruit (with a sweet hummus)
Fruit may not immediately spring to mind as something to serve with hummus. But if you like a sweet and savory contrast, try serving plain hummus with fruits like sliced apples or dried apricots.
Alternatively, make a sweet version of hummus! To do this, use a base of chickpeas and tahini, but blend it with sweet ingredients like applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add cocoa powder to make a chocolate version. You can even spice it up with cinnamon or nutmeg. You can now serve this with slices of your favorite fruit on the side.
7. Deviled eggs
Traditionally made with mayonnaise, deviled eggs are tastier – and healthier – when filled with hummus. The great thing is that eggs are so mild in flavor that you can use any type of hummus you enjoy, from roasted red pepper to a hot and spicy variety.
Just hard boil your eggs, peel and halve them, then mash the yolks with hummus and seasonings of your choice. Either spoon the mixture back into the eggs or pipe in for a decorative effect.
If you’re a fan of cheesy quesadillas, then you’re in for a real treat when you try them with hummus instead. It provides the texture you’re looking for, along with a whole lot of flavor and health benefits too!
Just spread your tortilla liberally with hummus, then place your other ingredients on one half. Fold into a half-moon shape, brush with olive oil, then cook for a few minutes in a skillet on each side over medium heat, until crisp and golden.
Hummus was made for wraps and they make a great way to serve it for lunch, especially when you’re on the go.
To keep the meal as healthy as possible, try to choose a whole wheat wrap or a gluten-free wrap. Or try a flavored wrap, such as spinach or sun-dried tomato. Spread it generously with hummus, add other ingredients of your choice, then roll and slice diagonally.
For a warm and hearty option, try making a wrap filled with hummus, roasted vegetables, toasted pine nuts, and some crumbled feta.
There are two simple ways you can serve hummus with salad. One is to use it as your base, topping it with your favorite salad vegetables.
Another is to turn your hummus into a salad dressing, which ensures you get plenty of its flavor with every delicious bite! To do this, you need to thin the texture using either extra olive oil, a little extra lemon juice, or even some water. Be sure to only add a little liquid at a time, tasting as you go to ensure the flavor remains balanced.
11. Roast chicken or tofu
Once you’ve tried roasting chicken in a coating of hummus, you’ll never want to eat it any other way! Tangy and flavorful, it really enhances the relatively mild taste of the meat. If you want some extra crunch, try pressing sesame seeds into the hummus before roasting.
For a vegan or vegetarian diet, use tofu instead, draining it thoroughly beforehand. You may prefer to cut the tofu into slices and press each one dry individually before coating, as this will give them a firmer texture.
Homemade hummus will last about a week; prepared hummus can last up to several weeks, but you’ll need to check the expiration date on the packaging.
Olive oil is traditionally used in hummus. You can also use avocado oil. Try to stay away from vegetable oils (see my list of the safest cooking oils).
You can use a wide variety of spices in your hummus, or none at all. I like adding ground cumin or smoked paprika. But, feel free to get creative. Hummus is like a blank canvas, you can feel free to get creative.
Hummus is made by blending cooked chickpeas with tahini, olive oil, salt, and pepper. But, you can adapt your hummus recipe to meet your needs. Try these recipes for Oil-Free Hummus, Traditional Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus or Cashew Hummus (no beans). Or, for flavored versions, try Artichoke Hummus or this Roasted Garlic Hummus.
As you can see, hummus is a wonderfully versatile and nutritious food. I hope that this list of creative ideas has inspired you to include it on your menu in lots of new and exciting ways.