Red Pepper Hummus

30 Nov

I used to live in Cleveland. I happened to be just out of college at the time, working my first job as a writer/editor, and as a result, I was very, very poor. I lived mostly off mac ‘n’ cheese, beans ‘n’ rice and egg salad sandwiches. Right around this time, I discovered the beauty of hummus – creamy, filling, great on veggies and sandwiches and cheese, healthy and best of all, affordable.

So, this week’s challenge is…

Challenge: Red Pepper Hummus

Athenos’ Red Pepper Hummus contains chickpeas, red bell peppers, water, olive oil, tahini, salt, lemon juice concentrate, spice, sorbic acid and sodium benzoate, natural flavor, vinegar and phosphoric acid.

My homemade red pepper hummus contains:

1 can of chickpeas, water drained and reserved
The juice from half a lemon
3 tablespoons of tahini
3 cloves of garlic
A sprinkling of sea salt
Two roasted red peppers
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

All of this goes into a food processor and away we go. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved bean-water to add creaminess, if needed. A sprinkle of paprika is a good topping.

Time and Cost Comparison

The store bought hummus took no time at all, and at $2.69 for 7 oz, cost about $0.38 per ounce.

My homemade hummus took about 20 minutes (I had to stir the tahini, which had separated, and that added to the time here), and cost $2.79 for 20 oz. That’s about $0.14 per ounce.

Nutritional Comparison:

A serving of the store hummus (about 2 tablespoons) has 50 calories, 3 grams of fat, 150 mg of sodium, 5 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.

A serving of the homemade hummus has 51 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 200 mg of sodium, 6 grams of carbs and 1.5 grams of protein.

Ingredient Comparison:

The store-bought and the homemade are incredibly similar. They differ in the fact that store-bought contains sorbic acid and sodium benzoate as preservatives, vinegar, and phosphoric acid (to provide a tangy flavor).

Taste Comparison:

The two-person taste test was inconclusive, as we disagreed on which was the tastier hummus.

Homemade PITA factor:

1.5. You throw stuff in a food processor and blend. Washing dishes is the most challenging part.

DIY or Buy?

Buy some and try it out. If you like the flavor, great! If you think you can do better, than try making some of your own. I for one will probably buy when I’m in a hurry, or just want a few servings, and DIY when I’ve got a party to attend or have the inclination to experiment. I’m completely willing to pay a premium if it means not having to wash dishes. Also, I fully intend to add a bit of vinegar to my next DIY batch, an idea I wouldn’t have come up with if I hadn’t looked at the store-bought version’s ingredients.

My one caveat is that this particular brand of store hummus has phosphoric acid, an important ingredient in colas, which may or may not be a contributing factor to loss of bone calcium and kidney stones. I am an avid drinker of diet cola, so for me, the bigger concern is my intake there. But if you’re worried, look for brands that are phosphoric-acid-free.


3 Responses to “Red Pepper Hummus”

  1. Scott Rocketship 11/30/2010 at 9:42 am #

    Nice post, you must have been reading my mind. I picked up some Hummus for the first time in a while the other day and, looking at the ingredients, thought “this has got to be pretty cheap to make”. I’m glad you got to guinea pig it first!


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