Sometimes when I am wandering the aisles of the grocery store, I think about the cost of much of the of the pre-packaged "store bought" food that is available to take home. I think about how easy most of these foods are to make from scratch and how cheap the ingredients are individually, even when done organically. It begins to frustrate me so much that I end up collecting the ingredients needed to duplicate some of these foods and I go home on a mission to create my own. Sometimes I do this just to prove that I am able to save money by doing it myself, at home, without dedicating too much time to the process. One store bought food that really bothers me is hummus. Hummus generally has a list of ingredients about 5 items long; chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, salt, tahini. You throw it all in a food processor and it is done. It costs about $3.00 and you yield 3X the amount you'd get in a small container from the grocery store. Plus, it's fresh, home made and literally takes about 5 minutes. However, most people don't bat an eyelash over tossing a couple of teeny tiny over priced tubs in their cart. People in the hummus making business, must laugh all the way to the bank!
Today, I am going to show you a twist on traditional hummus. Maybe this simple recipe will encourage you to try making more of your own dips and spreads at home, easily, for less then they cost at the store. This one uses black beans instead of chickpeas. Black beans have slightly fewer calories than chickpeas. They also contain less fat, less sodium and contain more fiber, more potassium and more protein than chickpeas. Nutritionally, a better choice. They also offer a slightly different flavor and a beautiful aesthetic.
Recent research has shown that black beans are quite beneficial to digestive tract health, namely the colon. In fact, it is said that black bean consumption lowers the risk of colon cancer.
Black beans contain high levels of flavanoids; perfect for reducing oxidation of cells and preventing cancers.
They also contain fantastic levels of folate, fiber, protein, iron, tryptophan and the list goes on. Most people hear tryptophan and think of turkey. However, it does not contain anymore than any other type of poultry. In fact, most plant based protein contains significant amounts of tryptophan and is abundant in some, like black beans for example.
Trypophan is essential to human life and can not be synthesized by our bodies so it must be consumed in our diet. The most fascinating thing about this amino acid is it's function as a precursor to other highly important compounds, such as serotonin, niacin and auxin. Too little serotonin in the brain is thought to cause depression, so you can see how important adequate tryptophan levels are in order to maintain good mental health, since the two go hand in hand.
So let's all get happy and eat a big bowl of this yummy Black Bean Hummus!
Black Bean Hummus
2 15 ounce cans of black beans
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of tahini
4 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of sea salt
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. This version is toddler friendly. If you like it spicy, add in 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of chili powder. You can also add more garlic or more cumin to taste.