Have you had your hummus today?

The word “hummus” comes from the Arabic meaning “chickpeas”. It’s made the rounds around the Middle East, taking on different flavors in different countries, but the basic recipe includes chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, cumin, salt, and lemon juice.

Your standard hummus provides some amazing nutrition. Chickpeas are high in folate, dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, manganese, and other micronutrients. It’s versatile, used as a dip or a spread in so many different types of dishes.

But the recent hummus craze has resulted in some very creative and nutritious incarnation. I love this Definitive Guide to Hummus, although it doesn’t include my signature Spinach Pesto Hummus!

This recipe, much like milk chocolate, was a happy accident.

I was recipe developing for Toddler Test Kitchen. The plan was a three hummus sampler plate. The plan was a basic garlic lemon hummus, chocolate chip cookie dough hummus, and beet hummus.

But the plan failed. The baby was sleeping. I didn’t have beets. But I had spinach. I always have spinach.

So I started with my basic recipe:

15oz garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (canned or re-hydrated – see tip below!)
1/3 cup tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp cumin
a pinch of kosher salt

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and add seltzer until desired texture.

And then I added spinach. A lot of it. And then more.

And then I found some frozen basil cubes. So I had a little fun with that.

And then the obsession started. Green hummus on sandwiches, as a dip for veggies, as a dip for grilled cheese. Green hummus with eggs. Green hummus in soup. Green hummus on chicken.

It’s just delicious.

Involve kids in the prep work

This is a great starter recipe for getting kids involved in the kitchen. No knives involved! From a very early age, kids can be involved in food prep. 18 month olds can push buttons on the blender! But it is important to advance from basic recipes. A 2 year old can chop (see this video for tips on toddler knife safety)!

But this one is super fun for kids. They love to add ingredients to the food processor and watching the spinach disappear while the hummus changes to a bright green! Hiding veggies in food can break trust with kids, but when they are involved in the process, the kids know that they are eating, and enjoying a delicious vegetable!

Finally! The recipe!

Start with the basic recipe, then add 4 cups of spinach and 1/4 cup fresh basil (or 2 cubes frozen chopped basil). Mess with the flavors until it makes your taste buds sing. Then add it to everything.

15oz garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (canned or re-hydrated)
1/3 cup tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp cumin
4 cups fresh, raw spinach
1/4 cup fresh basil (or 2 cubes frozen chopped basil)
a pinch of kosher salt

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and add seltzer until desired texture.

If you’re using dried beans, you can put them in the crock pot, cover with water, and cook on high for 3 hours. This saves money and cuts down on sodium! You can save leftover re-hydrated beans by sealing tightly and freezing!