Believe it or not, there was a time when hummus was not on America’s radar. Thirty-odd years ago, kids did not dip their crackers and carrots into hummus. I know, because I grew up in the middle of America, and no one was talking about hummus. We were eating meat loaf and PB&J.
Which reminds me of a true story I just heard on a podcast. Back in the 1960’s, a Middle Eastern grade school boy was growing up in the middle of Ohio (his name is Thomas Royal Nimen and the story is here). His school was pretty un-diverse, and one day he came home and told his mom he didn’t want Middle Eastern food in his lunch any more. “From now on, could we do peanut butter and jelly on Wonder Bread?” he asked. Because, the kids were making fun of him because his food didn’t look like everyone else’s. At the time, everyone else’s was PB&J.
So what does his mother do? The next week, she convinced the principal to do a presentation at lunch. She brought in a load of Middle Eastern food: kibbe, fataya, tabbouleh, hummus, and baba ghanoush. And those bullies who made fun of Thomas’s food were loving it. He concludes that while it didn’t solve all the discrimination he faced at the time, it took a significant edge off. Because, as he puts it, “You can’t hurt someone when you’re eating their food.”
Food is the great uniter. It allows us to appreciate the beauty and nuance of cultures other than our own. When someone shares their food, they share a piece of themselves. And as Thomas said, you can’t hurt someone when you’re eating their food. Since he was in grade school, the American palate has broadened exponentially. Hummus is almost as common at a school lunch as mac and cheese. My son will grow up eating pico de gallo and bibimbap like they’re meatloaf and PB&J.
And yet, as Americans are we also celebrating these cultures as we assimilate their foods? Are we intentionally seeking out relationships with people who are different from ourselves? Are we welcoming people who are different from us to the table?
As we expand our palates outside of PB&J, let’s also consider expanding our relationships outside of our comfort zones. Let’s invite people different from ourselves to our tables—and at the same time, let’s be willing and humble guests at theirs.
And now, this hummus. Does the world need another homemade hummus recipe? No. However, this has become our go-to homemade hummus recipe that we make on the regular, and we wanted to share it here. (In fact, it supersedes our old one, which we thought was “perfect” at the time.) What’s great about it? Hummus is one of our top picks for healthy snacks and vegan recipes. This one is simple, and uses tahini and aquafaba (the chickpea can liquid) to make it creamy. If you’ve got 5 minutes and a food processor, this recipe tastes great and is potentially cheaper than many purchased brands. Plus, it’s also fun to whip up knowing that you made with your bare hands.
Want to listen? If you’re interested in food and diversity, and how food brings people together, be sure to check out our podcast with Tanorria from MasterChef. She’s passionate about discussing diversity and inclusion around the table. Listen to Episode 47: Cook like a master.
Looking for healthy snacks?
Healthy snacks can be as easy as a handful of roasted salted almonds and dried cherries. However, if you’re up for making a simple recipe, here are a few of our favorite healthy snacks:
- Vegetable Hummus Tortilla Rollups
- Cherry Cacao Nib Snack Bars
- Very Verde 3-Ingredient Dip
- Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies
- Garlic and Rosemary White Bean Dip
Looking for vegan recipes?
Vegan recipes are becoming a more popular request from readers these days. In fact, all of the healthy snacks above are vegan recipes! If you’re looking for a vegan main dish, here are a few of our favorite vegan recipes for dinners:
- Herby Tomato Flatbread with Rye Cracker Crust
- BBQ Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
- “Get Your Greens” Naan Pizzas
- Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce
- Chickpea Fattoush Nourish Bowl
- Tasty Teriyaki Veggie Burger
Did you make this recipe?
If you make our 5 ingredient classic homemade hummus, we’d love to hear how it turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks.
This recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and refined sugar free.
- For the hummus
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
- 1 large lemon (1/4 cup lemon juice)
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- For the garnish
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- Olive oil
- Toasted pinenuts (see below)
- Peel the garlic. Drain the chickpeas into a liquid measuring cup. Juice the lemon.
- Add the garlic to the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons water from the chickpea can (aquafaba). Puree for 30 seconds, then scrape down the bowl. Taste. If necessary, add 1 to 2 tablespoons aquafaba. Puree for 1 to 2 minutes to come to a creamy consistency. Store refrigerated for 7 to 10 days.
- If desired, make the garnish: toast the pinenuts in a dry skillet for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown (or bake in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet for 6 to 8 minutes at 350F). Top the hummus with cilantro leaves, a sprinkle of paprika, a drizzle of olive oil, and toasted pinenuts.