The Hungry Swimmer: Hummus Hacks

Hummus is one of the most underrated foods. It’s creamy, savory and extremely versatile. Not to mention, it’s a plant-based nutrient powerhouse. Made from mostly chickpeas, hummus is rich in dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, E and C. Chickpeas also contain complex carbohydrates, plant-based protein and fiber- just 1 cup has 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. In addition to these key nutrients, the tahini, made from sesame seeds, and olive oil in the hummus provide heart-healthy poly and monounsaturated fats.

When purchasing hummus at the grocery store, I recommend looking for products that list chickpeas as the first ingredient, aren’t ladened with sodium and don’t contain any preservatives. Some store-bought hummus can contain anywhere between 20 mg and 200 mg of sodium per serving, so this is something to be mindful of when checking the nutrition labels. Make sure to peruse the ingredient list as well to avoid any hummus that contains preservatives like sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate, or inflammatory oils like soybean oil. As a good rule of thumb, choose products with a short ingredient list that contain olive oil and lack preservatives and an absurd amount of sodium. Hummus is also super easy to make at home in a food processor. It’s a fun activity and let’s you control the ingredients that go into making the hummus!

I’m so excited to share with you some of my favorite ways to eat hummus. Check out the recipes below…

Carrots & Hummus Snack plate

Ingredients

  • Carrot sticks
  • 2 spoonfuls of hummus
  • ½ tsp paprika

This is a super simple way to eat hummus, plus it’s a great hack to incorporate more vegetables into your daily diet. Hummus makes such a great snacking dip. While I prefer eating hummus with carrots, you can also use cucumbers, celery, sliced bell peppers, raw broccoli or cauliflower, whole wheat pita bread or even your favorite pretzels for a nice crunch! I even like spicing things up and mixing in additional spices to my original hummus. I usually opt for paprika, but you can also mix in dill, Everything But the Bagel Seasoning or  red pepper flakes.

Vegetable Hummus Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of Ezekiel Bread
  • ¼ avocado
  • 2 spoonfuls hummus
  • ⅓ belle pepper, sliced
  • Pinch of Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

Want to upgrade your avocado toast game? Mix it up with some added hummus and roasted vegetables. I love having this combo for a light lunch or a quick afternoon snack! Adding some hummus here is a great way to add some plant-based protein, fiber and heart healthy fats.

Prepare your toast as normal and prep the peppers. I like roasting the pepper first, so I recommend baking the slices on a parchment lined baking tray at 350 F for 25-40 minutes. For the spread, you have two options- combine the avocado and hummus or layer them on the toast. Mixing them will create a creamy texture and simplify the spreading process. After the peppers are done roasting, slather your toast in the spread, sprinkle some Everything But the Seasoning over top and layer on the roasted peppers. Enjoy!

Creamy Hummus Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1.5 serving Banza pasta
  • ½ zucchini
  • 1 cup kale
  • ½ cup mushrooms
  • 2 spoonfuls vegan pesto
  • 1 spoonful hummus
  • Drizzle of tahini

In a pinch for a nutritious and delicious dinner? This recipe has been my savior during the week! It’s super simple to prepare and tastes just as good as a pasta dish from a restaurant (I’m not joking!) The hummus provides plant-based protein and some additional creaminess that nicely compliments the pesto. I highly recommend mixing in a spoonful or two of hummus to your pasta sauces just to enhance the texture. Next time you’re cheffing up a pasta dish, add some hummus to your tomato sauce and I’m telling you, it’s a game changer!

First, prepare your pasta. While the water is boiling, prep your vegetables- chop up the zucchini, wash and de-stem the kale and rinse off the mushrooms. Once you’ve drained the pasta, start to saute the kale, zucchini and mushrooms in a light drizzle of olive oil. When the vegetables start to wilt and become soft, add in the pesto and hummus. Fully combine with the vegetables and pour in the cooked pasta.Use a wooden spoon to carefully stir the pasta in with the pesto and hummus coated vegetables. Serve warm in a bowl and top with grated parmesan or a plant-based cheese option. Enjoy!

Check out my page for more recipe inspiration and be sure to share your hummus concoctions with me @whatzoeeeats.

About Zoe Gregorace

Zoe Gregorace is currently studying Nutrition Policy at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and recently graduated from Tufts University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and was a proud member of the Tufts Swimming and Diving team (Go Jumbos!). During her 16 year career as a competitive swimmer, she developed a passion for sports nutrition. She enjoys writing on the topic of nutrition, health and wellness and posts her meal creations on her Instagram page @whatzoeeeats. As a former college swimmer, she strives to share recipes and nutrition tips to promote balanced eating and optimize sports performance.

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