Don?t be a dip: try some healthy hummus

When I transferred to Bethel College for my junior year, I quickly learned of a local legend in the communications department.
You might assume I?m referring to a crazy professor or some creepy ghost story, but the legend wasn?t human; it was hummus.
Up until my college years, I?d never even tried the Mediterranean spread, so when fellow students told me that one of our professors made the best hummus on the planet, I wasn?t sure whether that was a good or bad thing.
I decided that if it really was so famous, it must be worth trying, so when I got a chance, I gave it a shot.
Let me tell you, it was definitely worthy of its legendary status.
If you?ve never tried hummus, I highly recommend it, especially if you love garlic. It?s traditionally eaten with pita bread, although I also love to dip carrots in it as well. We often eat it with tortillas at our house.
The recipe I tried at home isn?t the legendary one, but we like it, and it?s actually pretty healthy (especially if you cut down on the salt by getting reduced-sodium beans).
This hummus recipe comes from the Mayo Clinic. You can find the original at mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/recipes/hummus/rcp-20049675. I removed a few ingredients from their recipe and added a whole lot more garlic (to be honest, I may have added more than I listed below; I got a little garlic-happy. Just keep adding until it reaches a flavor you enjoy).
Also, I?m willing to wager that most people don?t have tahini sitting around in their kitchens. I found mine among other Greek foods at the grocery store (like grape leaves and such). It?s a little pricey, but it?s worth getting. It?s nutty, but not overpowering. I don?t think there?s a good substitute for it if you want authentic hummus flavor.
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Heart Healthy Hummus
Ingredients
2, 16-ounce cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained except for 1/4 cup liquid
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 to 8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
salt to taste
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
Directions
In a blender or food processor, add the rinsed garbanzo beans (I recommend a strong blender. I really had to fight mine to get everything processed).
Process the beans to a puree.
Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper. Blend well.
If the hummus is too thick, add the reserved liquid from the beans, 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture has the consistency of a thick spread (a little thinner than peanut butter).
Add salt if desired.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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If you?ve never had hummus before, I?d encourage you to give it a try. It?s a fantastic appetizer or snack and would also be a good addition to the kids? lunchboxes if they?re in need of some variety. It?s a healthier way to get them to eat some veggies than ranch dressing.
My hummus may never reach legendary status, but it was pretty darn good, and it?ll continue to make an appearance in our fridge. Just don?t get too close to me or Joey if you see us on the street?I?m really not sure how much garlic we dumped in there.

When not helping husband Joey with newspaper work, Lindsey teaches speech, debate and forensics at Haven High School. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.