Hurray for Hummus!

You’ve probably served it as dip, a sandwich spread, and even a tangy filling for a whole-wheat wrap or lettuce roll-up. But this savory Mediterranean-style spread, typically made with chickpeas and extra-virgin olive oil, and spiked with garlic and lemon juice, is even more versatile than you might think. Hummus can be spread on toast in place of butter or used instead of tomato sauce for a grilled veggie pizza made with a whole-wheat pita. A good source of healthy fat, protein, and fiber, hummus can be eaten on any Phase of the South Beach Diet. If you are on Phase 1, enjoy it with raw cut- up vegetables. On Phase 2, you can have it with whole grain crackers, wedges of warm pita bread, or a whole-wheat flour tortilla.

Hummus is one of those dishes that can be kept simple or dressed up. In our classic South Beach Diet hummus recipe, for instance, chickpeas are joined by fat-free plain yogurt, a little tahini, scallions, and parsley. In our South Beach Diet Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus, we use yogurt and a little sesame oil, and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes for flavor and color. Want some ideas for using store-bought hummus? Here are a few simple ways to enjoy it.

Use hummus as the base for a baked egg. Spread 2 tablespoons hummus in a ramekin sprayed with cooking spray. Crack an egg into the center without breaking the yolk. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, sliced pitted black olives, and chopped tomato. Bake at 400° F for about 15 minutes or until the egg is set.

Prepare a salad dressing by whisking a couple of tablespoons of rice wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil into 1/4 cup of hummus. Add a little water until it has the consistency of dressing. A serving size for salad dressing is 2 tablespoons.

  • Spread hummus on a whole-wheat flour tortilla, top with chopped roasted vegetables, and bake briefly at 400° F until hot.
  • Spread white fish fillets with a little hummus before you bake them.
  • Hollow out ripe, juicy cherry tomatoes and fill with hummus, making sure to use no more than 1/4 cup in all. Garnish with a parsley sprig and enjoy as a snack!
  • Use about 1/4 cup of hummus in place of egg as a binder when you make meatloaf; it adds flavor and fiber.
  • Make a healthy version of bruschetta. Rub a slice of toasted whole-wheat baguette with a cut garlic clove. Spread with 2 tablespoons of hummus and top with diced tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese. Broil for 30 seconds or until the cheese melts.
  • For deviled eggs. Hard-boil 8 eggs, cool, then halve, and remove the yolks. Mash the yolks with 1/4 cup hummus and 1 tablespoon extra- virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, cumin, cayenne, or other spices of your choice. Stuff into the hollowed-out egg halves and top with paprika. Enjoy two halves as a snack.

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