November 28, 2012 by americansaladco
Hummus is simply the arabic word for “chickpeas”. And its simplicity is what makes this deli side so delicious. Chick peas, sesame paste (or tahina), lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and cumin all mixed up into a nutritious and tasty side dish or snack.
Evidence shows that the first chick-pea type paste was used by the Egyptians over 7000 years ago. It has since become a staple part of the Middle-Eastern diet and has become quite popular in the United States.
Nutritionally, hummus is high in iron, vitamin C and B6. The chick peas are high in fiber and when eaten with bread make for a great source of complete protein. The sesame seeds are also a good source of amino acids and monounsaturated fat.
Nina had the good fortune of growing up near a fabulous Middle-Eastern deli as a kid. Her mom often brought home many of delicacies found now on our menu, including her favorite, hummus. She learned to make her own at age 8.
Now living in Tuscany, she hasn’t hesitated to mix the hummus with the lovely and fresh flavors available here: sun-dried tomatoes, basil, pesto, roasted red peppers and roasted pumpkin, just to name a few.
On her many travels, she has found inspiration for experimenting with even more combinations. The Moroccan hummus was born after last year’s trip to Marrakech where she was delighted with the way many of the local dishes had cinnamon and powdered sugar on them (yes even on savory dishes!) The Hungarian one was inspired by a friend who gave her a bag of Hungarian paprika after his trip to Budapest.
Nina has never been to Japan, but after a sushi catering event, she had a lot of wasabi paste left over. She decided to throw some into the hummus she was blending up and fell in love with the extra bite! Living with a Brit, she just had to try mixing the hummus with a bit of marmite – an acquired taste – but quite lovely and even more nutritious!
A few years ago, Nina was training for a grueling cycling race, “Le Nove Colli“: as the name suggests, a 9-hill race on the Adriatic coast that takes all day to finish.* Most cyclists here eat a hefty breakfast of pasta mixed with honey before setting off for a race, but being that she had a 4am wake-up call, the idea of eating something so sweet at that hour really put her off. So, she mixed up some tahina with carob syrup like they do in Lebanon, spread it on some whole grain bread and made herself a very high-protein, high energy breakfast that gave her the strength to get up at least the first hill. And so the carob hummus was invented, a slightly sweet flavor filled with energy and great for breakfast.
(* Nina finished the 135km. race in just over 7 hours, placing 12th in her category)
So, in true American style, we blend together many of our favorite flavors found around the world and invent new variations on a 7000-year old theme. True fusion! What’s next? Well, Paula is in the kitchen right now mixing up some gorgonzola hummus she’s been wanting to try for a while now. We will let you know how it turns out and hopefully add it to our ever-growing menu.
What’s your favorite hummus flavor?