Is it a dip? Is it a spread? Is it a condiment? The humble tub of store-bought hummus is one of the most versatile ingredients in your fridge. Nutty and creamy, it's mild enough to be enjoyed by kids, yet packs a moreish punch that invites the continual dipping of corn chips, crackers and celery sticks.
Rich in plant protein and full of good fats, vitamins and minerals, this blend of chickpeas and tahini has spread well beyond its Middle Eastern origins to become a staple on Western grocery lists. There are many varieties of hummus available at supermarkets today, from the classic recipe to those embellished with vegetables and nuts.
If you're guilty of relegating this snackable favourite to the chips-and-dips platter, it's time to lift your game and try these delicious hummus hacks.
Do better than simply decanting your hummus and tossing some crackers around. A little effort can jazz things up for a next-level snack.
Green goddess hummus
Delicious served with vegetable sticks or flatbread. Blend store-bought hummus with your favourite herbs, such as basil, chives, green onion, parsley or tarragon, and avocado. A little extra garlic won't go astray, either. You could even use it as a salad dressing.
Make your hummus party-worthy by dressing it up with nuts, seeds and spices.
Nuts, seeds, spices
Top up your hummus with delicious spices and nuts that not only look beautiful, but also add another depth of flavour. Try sprinkling with spices such as sumac, baharat blend or paprika, and with toasted pine nuts, pumpkin seeds or roasted chickpeas.
Devilled hummus eggs
A healthy and tasty way to elevate this classic entertaining snack. Simply mix the egg yolk with hummus before piping it back into the whites. Try store-bought pumpkin hummus and beetroot hummus for a colourful platter.
Spread it around
Of course, hummus partners perfectly with crackers, but as a spread it's capable of so much more.
- Pizza bases spread with hummus make a lovely alternative to tomato passata and are particularly suited to vegetarian or vegan pizzas.
- Sandwiches can benefit from an extra layer of goodness and nutrition with a thick slathering of hummus instead of mayonnaise.
- Quesadillas make popular and quick lunches, especially for kids. Try adding a slick of hummus instead of (or as well as!) cheese for a healthy treat.
Hold the mayo – and use hummus as a nutritious replacement for mayonnaise in sandwiches.
Hummus for dinner
In parts of the Middle East (or the Levant), hummus is often eaten as a main meal, not simply a snack. Hummus lends itself to a variety of savoury flavours – think outside the tub for a whole repertoire of hummus-hued meals.
- Hummus topped with spiced mince is a traditional dish in the Levant. Fry up lamb mince with onion, spices and pine nuts, and spoon over bowls of hummus for a warming, satisfying dinner.
- Hummus with honey-roasted carrots could be served as either a side or tasty vegetarian dinner. The sweetness of the honey-roasted carrots is perfectly matched with the nutty hummus. Top with a runny egg for an extra protein boost.
- Hummus noodles make for a delicious, last-minute pantry meal. Simply toss cooked spaghetti with hummus, sesame oil and seeds, and fried shallots. You can easily throw in any leftovers or a tin of tuna, too.
Colourful hummus varieties such as pumpkin, beetroot and sweet potato will keep kids keen.
Hummus for kids
Hummus is a fantastically healthy snack for children and babies. Not only is it a great alternative to salty spreads, but it also lets them explore new flavours. We all know small humans can be fussy, so keep it interesting with these kid-approved ideas:
- Hummus veggie sticks offer plenty of opportunities to make things colourful – and more likely to be eaten. Arrange an array of veggie sticks with colourful, store-bought beetroot hummus or pumpkin hummus.
- Sweet potato chips with hummus are a great way to double up on goodness. Roast chipped sweet potato and serve alongside a hummus dipping 'sauce'.
- Hummus faces are fun to eat and healthy too (shhh!). Spread crackers or bread with hummus and use vegies, olives and cheese to make little edible faces.
How to store hummus
The recipe ideas above will ensure there's no excuse to leave that half-eaten tub of hummus lingering in the fridge. Hummus will keep in the fridge for no more than a week once opened. But if it's not quickly devoured, you'll be pleased to know you can also freeze it for another time. Here are some tips to follow:
- You can freeze hummus for up to three months.
- Top hummus with a thin layer of olive oil to keep it moist while frozen. Once thawed, mix it together well.
- Transfer into freezer-safe containers and avoid freezing in large batches so you can defrost only what you need.
- Freeze mini portions for kids' lunchboxes or after-school snacks.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.