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Aug 14, 2012 01:22 AM

How much fat in your favorite hummus?

In the Middle East, the bulk of hummus that is to be found either in stores or restaurants contanins a lot of tehina and olive oil. Makes for a very creamy product that's different in taste and texture from the lower fat varieties sold in the US. However it also makes it a food that I treat more like an alfredo sauce or sour cream - something I either consume in moderation or for a rare treat. A meal centered around hummus typically involves a bowl of hummus topped with olive oil and then if desired pinenuts, chickpeas, ful, or meat. Served with pita, a few falafel balls, pickles and onions. Even without it being topped with meat, it's a heavy meal.

So my question - how "fatty" (full of tehina/olive oil/other) do you like your hummus? The lower fat Western varieties (and if so, is there something you add to make it creamier that's not a fat), or the more traditional fattier kind?

Initially I really enjoyed the richness of the classic Middle Eastern variety, but I am coming back around to have a growing appreciation for the thicker lower fat varieties.

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  1. I make hummus the way I learned while I was living in the Middle East: No oil is added to the hummus. To serve, spread on platter and drizzle lightly with good olive oil. If I'm not serving to company, I omit the oil. To make it creamier, add more bean-cooking water.

    2 Replies
      1. re: cresyd

        I do, but not a huge amount. Also, quite a bit of fresh lemon juice.

    1. Hummus does seem generally low-fat in the US, but the premium brands seem to be luxuriously creamy without any additional fat, at least according to the nutritional information.

      At home I use about 2 - 4 tbsp. of tahini and about half that amount of olive oil for a pound of chickpeas. To get the creamy texture, I add chickpea water. The proportions are fungible, but a generous amount of lemon and a hint of baharat are always going to be included.

      1. I use 2 cans of chick peas, lemon juice, a little salt, couple of tablespoons of tahina and garlic. I garnish with parsley, paprika and a drizzle of tasty olive oil.
        I never considered that 2 tablespoons of tahina is a "much" of fat. Seems like a very healthy meal.

        1. if you start with dry gabanzo beans, cook according to directions your hummus will be very fresh tasting.. i do that and omit the tahini, just adding olive oil maybe2or 3 tablespoons, lots of fresh garlic, squeeze a whole lemon and taste. then addkosher salt as needed. when serving i drizzle more olive oil on top.. this is a healthy version and much much better than canned beans, with all that added salt...

          8 Replies
          1. re: crispys

            No tahini!! Oy vey!! Is there that much "bad" fat in tahini?

            1. re: Motosport

              well ,, i feel sometimes adding both the tahini and olive oil will be on the heavy side, creamy yes, but it does taste lighter with just one of the oils and knowing i'm eating something with a little less fat makes me able to enjoy more of it.. But that's just me.

              1. re: Motosport

                Tehini has about the same fat content as peanut butter or other nuts. Healthwise, I believe the fat also ranks in the region of nut fat.

                I'm not bringing up the issue of 'fat' so much as a health issue, but rather a consistency issue. I think that Western hummus - particularly what's sold packaged - but also what's served at vegetarian restaurants and such, tends to be less creamy than in the Middle East. And less heavy. But then I also think that has to do some with the serving size of hummus as it's served here.

                The addition of the chickpea water is an interesting technique that I'll give a try.

                1. re: cresyd

                  The addition of chickpea water is standard in the Middle East, where hummus is not a high-fat food.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    Currently living in the Middle East, I would not agree with that statement. Between the addition of tehina and olive oil (either in the hummus or on top of it when it's served), it's just not as low in fat as most Western produced varieties. I'm not saying it's unhealthy, I think a lot of the fat is in that "healthy fat" realm.

                    1. re: cresyd

                      Israeli hummus tends to have more fat, IME.

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        My experiences have primarily been with Palestinian, Jordanian and some Israeli hummus. From a fat perspective, I don't know if I'd be able to judge which has more or less.

                    2. re: pikawicca

                      The Lebanese friend who taught me to make hummus puts plenty of olive oil, fresh lemon juice and garlic in it, then drizzles more olive oil over the top to serve. Tahini is optional and I don't use it. I've never seen him add water, though I do occasionally to make it creamier.

              2. My usual supermarket bought organic houmous is 27% fat (of which 3.6% saturates, 7.9% mono unsaturates, 15.6% polyunsaturates).

                Their low fat version is 10% fat.