Cutting out grains and sugars is a great way to lose weight, but if you're going to do so, you need to replace those calories with something else! Beans, legumes & lentils are all a great way to add the extra calories that will keep you satiated and keep your blood sugar levels stable. The most common pitfall to any grain/sugar-free diet is a lack of calories. This ultimately leads to you feeling so hungry that you turn to high calorie high sugar foods, and possibly giving up on the diet altogether. The key to maintaining a healthy diet is in making sure you’re eating enough calories to sustain your energy levels.
Hummus is probably the most versatile way to add them to your diet. If you’re not a fan of chickpeas (or crave more variety) you can substitute chickpeas in recipes with any other bean. Hummus is a quick snack alternative, and goes great as a dip with any veggie. It’s easy to always have on hand in the fridge or to grab on-the-go at any grocery store. Hummus now comes in a variety of flavours – regular, garlic, red pepper, wasabi, masala, avocado, chipotle, olive, pine nut, and the list goes on! It’s also easy to make ahead at home. Here are some great ways to use hummus:
1. On eggs – use hummus in deviled eggs as a replacement for the yolks. It also goes so well on an omelette, frittata or to top fried/scrampled/poached eggs.
2. As a salad dressing - just add your preference of vinegar - balsamic, white, apple cider, rice wine or lemon juice…then salt and pepper to taste and voila!
3. As a pasta sauce over zucchini noodles – mix a chopped tomato and a couple tbsps. of hummus to your noodles…it melts into a creamy sauce.
4. Add to soup stock to make a soup
5. It's great on fish use it as a dip or instead of tartar sauce.
6. On an avocado
7. On burgers – Hummus is for hamburgers. Use hummus as a spread for veggie, turkey, or beef burgers in place of traditional condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce, or mustard. You can also mix it right into your burger patties.
8. Hummus stuffed chicken breast
9. Mexican Layer Dip - Use hummus in your Mexican layer dip as a protein-packed sour cream replacement.Layer dip with guacamole refried beans hummus salsa chopped tomatoes cottage cheese
10. Use it as an alternative to mayo or condiments. Tastes great in chicken or tuna salad.
11. As a stirfry sauce
12. Falafals (make a bunch, they freeze well!)
13. Roasted in the oven - put a little bit of olive oil on them and then topped them with any spice you wish. This makes a great crunchy snack
14. cherry tomatoes filled with hummus. Cut off the tops of cherry tomatoes, scoop out the seeds, and use a piping bag to fill each tomato with hummus. Hummus also makes a great topping for sliced tomatoes.
Beans, chickpeas and seeds/nuts also make great salad toppers. Other than hummus, split peas are great to have on hand as well – split pea and ham/bacon soup is a quick and filling way to warm up in the winter months. Add them to chili, soup and stew recipes to make it a more hearty meal.
Here is a simple hummus recipe:
1 3/4 cups cooked, drained chickpeas (from a 15-ounce can) or a little shy of 2/3 cup dried chickpeas (if you’re cooking them from dry, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to the pot when cooking)
1/2 cup tahini paste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 teaspoon table salt, or more to taste
Approximately 1/4 cup water or reserved chickpea cooking water
½ teaspoon cumin
In a blender or food processor, blend lemon juice, garlic, tahini, salt and cumin until smooth. Add in chickpeas and blend again until smooth (adding as much water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency).