Hummus is one of the most delicious foods in existence, and it also happens to be a very popular snack for vegetarians as it contains no meat. But what about vegans? No, hummus doesn’t contain vegans either. Only kidding, but in all seriousness, is hummus vegan?
Well, generally speaking, yes, traditional hummus is indeed vegan friendly. Common ingredients such as chickpeas, tahini and Garlic are used and they are all vegan. Though sometimes there are exceptions because manufacturers use palm oil, sugar or dairy.
If you’re looking to learn more about this delicious, simple, and healthy snack food, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s get started shall we?
What Is Hummus?
To get the ball rolling today, we’ll begin by taking a look at precisely what hummus is.
Hummus is a simple, yet delicious snack food which is made from garbanzo beans, which are more commonly known as chickpeas.
Nowadays, there are a variety of different flavours of hummus which contain all manner of weird and wonderful ingredients yet a classic “traditional” hummus actually only contains a small selection of ingredients including:
- Tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds)
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
This Middle Eastern spread is enjoyed across the globe, and in reality there is no right or wrong way to make hummus as different countries and different regions will include different ingredients. With that said, however, generally, to be considered a true ‘hummus’ it must contain tahini and chickpeas.
Hummus is a word which is in fact derived from the Arabic word for Chickpeas, with the full name being ‘Hummus bi Tahini’ which literally means chickpeas with tahini.
The various ingredients are combined together and ground, or blended, until they form a smooth and creamy paste which can then be used as a spread, or for dipping breads, vegetables, and other culinary delights into.
As mentioned, as there is no one true recipe for a hummus, you’ll find that people will include various herbs, spices, seasonings, and ingredients in there to make a unique and delicious dish. Different legumes such as butter beans, or lentils, may also be used instead of the chickpeas.
Is Hummus Healthy?
People often wonder whether hummus is healthy, due to the fact that it has a rich and creamy texture and that it is fairly high in calories.
The thing to remember here is that high calorie foods are not necessarily unhealthy. In fact, some healthy fats which are high in calories are actually deemed essential for optimal health and wellness. Hummus is, therefore, considered to be a healthy dish.
Hummus is made with plant-based ingredients loaded full of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also contains good fats for energy, and plant-based proteins for cellular health, along with optimal muscle growth and repair.
Not only that, but traditional hummus is made with all-natural plant-based ingredients and so it contains no artificial ingredients, flavourings, additives, or preservatives.
The thing to be careful with hummus, is the fact that some cheaper brands will use unhealthy ingredients which may not only be bad for your health, but they may also be unsuitable for vegan diets.
Speaking generally, however, hummus is a natural and healthy dish that works great as a main, or a healthy snack alternative.
Common Ingredients In Hummus
As mentioned, hummus can contain a selection of different ingredients, though primarily it contains the following:
Chickpeas are a legume of the plant family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae, which is grown for its highly nutritious seeds.
These seeds are rich in plant-based protein and dietary fiber, along with essential minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium.
Tahini is a condiment which is made from ground, toasted sesame seeds which are ground up into a fine paste.
Tahini is another great source of protein as it contains more than milk and a lot of nuts. It is also rich in vitamins E and B, and is packed full of heart-healthy fats as well.
Garlic is another common ingredient found in hummus.
Garlic is a member of the onion family and is a bulb which is used in cuisines all over the globe.
Garlic is loaded full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals as is well known for its immune system boosting properties.
Other ingredients include things such as lemon juice which is a great source of vitamin C, salt, and olive oil, which is made from pressed olives and is considered a very healthy fat.
Non-Vegan Ingredients To Watch Out For
For people asking the question of ‘is hummus vegan’ we’ve established earlier on that, yes, hummus is indeed vegan friendly. It is made from mainly plant-based ingredients and contains no animal-derived ingredients which make it ideal for vegan diets.
However. Some hummus manufacturers out there have been known to include ingredients which may not be suitable for vegans. Before purchasing your hummus, be sure to read the list of ingredients and look out for the following:
Palm oil is technically vegan, at least on paper, but the reality is that many vegans are against palm oil because it is harvested in an unethical manner.
Palm oil production is damaging the environment and the eco-systems, putting animal lives in danger. To make matters worse, some human lives are also exploited in the production and harvesting process.
Put simply, avoid hummus made with palm oil instead of olive oil.
Now, to begin with, sugar has no place being in hummus in the first place, yet some manufacturers will include it anyway.
As far as being vegan-friendly is concerned, while sugar is generally vegan friendly, some companies will refine it using bone char, which is used to filter out impurities and give the refined sugar a white appearance.
Traditionally, hummus shouldn’t contain dairy, yet sometimes companies will sneak dairy in to give the hummus a richer and creamier texture.
Watch out for Greek yoghurt, crème fraiche, sour cream, milk, or even cream cheese as these have been known to find their way into hummus recipes.
Simple Hummus Recipe
If you’re concerned your local grocery store may be stocking hummus not suitable for vegan diets, or if you simply want to make your own at home, here’s a simple but delicious recipe for you to try.
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 4 heaped tablespoons of tahini paste
- Juice of half a lemon
- Half a teaspoon of salt
- Quarter teaspoon of cumin powder
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Handful of roasted red peppers
- Generous pinch of smoked paprika
- Begin by taking a large red pepper, removing the seeds, slicing roughly, and tossing in olive oil before roasting in an oven until the flesh begins to soften and char around the edges.
- Meanwhile, take a food processor and throw in your chickpeas with half of the juice (set the other half to one side), the garlic cloves, the salt, the tahini, the lemon juice, the cumin, and the cooled red pepper chunks.
- Blitz until smooth and if too thick, add more of the chickpea liquid and a splash of water if necessary.
- Remove from the food processor, pour unto a jar or a bowl, add a generous drizzle of olive oil, and garnish with a pinch of smoked paprika.
Hummus is a simple snack food, yet it is tasty, nutritious, and is so simple to make.
You can enjoy it with homemade tortilla chips, with carrot batons, with sliced vegetables, spread on breads or wraps, or even straight out of the jar or bowl.
The great thing for vegans is the fact that, as well as tasting great, it’s plant-based and therefore is perfectly suitable for vegan diets and lifestyles.