Why on earth would I post a recipe for hummus when there are already 808,000 recipes online? Because I have made a crucial modification to the universal hummus recipe that I haven’t seen anywhere else: I add protein powder.
The reason for this strange tweak is that many people eating veg(etari)an diets consume hummus because they think it’s a good source of protein — which, sadly, it isn’t. Since chickpeas are 2/3 carbohydrate, home-prepared hummus provides mostly carbohydrate (10 g per quarter-cup serving), a decent amount of fat (5 g per serving), and only 3 g of protein, according to the USDA.
What’s more, the protein in hummus is incomplete, i.e., lacking one or more essential amino acids (protein building blocks). In this case, it’s leucine, the amino acid that tells the body to build muscle, among others.
If you want to eat hummus as a delicious dip alongside eggs, seafood, meat, or other animal proteins, its low protein content won’t pose a problem. But if you want your hummus to supply a meaningful amount of protein (and all the amino acids your body needs to thrive), I suggest you add protein powder.
Like most plant foods, some plant protein powders are low in leucine; however, many are formulated to provide a complete amino acid profile, including leucine, so shop around. (And read this article about leucine for vegan athletes to find out more about how to get leucine from plants.) For vegetarians, whey protein powder offers the most complete amino acid profile, including a healthy amount of leucine; that’s why I use it here.
Needless to say, only use unflavored, unsweetened protein powder in this recipe — garlic, tahini, and salted caramel aren’t my idea of a match made in heaven. (Though feel free to prove me wrong.) I used unflavored whey protein isolate to test this recipe and honestly, I couldn’t taste even a hint of it in the finished hummus.
Lastly, hummus can be very versatile; for a zingy green dip, blend in a few sprigs of fresh herbs (I love cilantro & parsley here); for a warmly spiced, orange-colored hummus, add some roasted, jarred red peppers.
- 15 oz chickpeas cooked or canned, drained, and rinsed (see Notes, below, for from-scratch Instant Pot cooking instructions). Reserve a few chickpeas for garnish.
- 1-2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 3 tbsp tahini creamy sesame paste
- ¾ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp lemon juice freshly pressed
- 2 servings whey protein powder unflavored, unsweetened; I used AGN Roots grass-fed whey protein isolate
- 6 tbsp iced water or more, as needed
- ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Garnish: a sprig of fresh herbs, a generous pinch of black cumin or black sesame seeds
- Place the first five ingredients in a food processor and puree on high for 2 minutes until you obtain a smooth, creamy paste.
- Add the whey protein powder and process for a few seconds to combine. (This step is optional -- see above.)
- Add more water if desired to adjust consistency.
- Season to taste with lemon juice or salt.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Smooth out the surface with a spoon making a vague swirling pattern, drizzle with the olive oil, and scatter with the reserved chickpeas. If desired, sprinkle with black cumin or black sesame seeds and garnish with a sprig of green herbs like cilantro or parsley.
- Refrigerated in an airtight container this hummus keeps well for 3-4 days.