Lemon Rosemary Ricotta Hummus
Dearest Dippin’ Darlings,
I have many long-standing inside jokes with myself (a skill one must learn to cultivate growing up as an only child). One of my favorites, however, involves carrots, cucumbers, pita bread, and pretzels.
What do all of these foods have in common? Thanks for asking. Alone, they’re all delicious–deliciously plain, that is. But what are they better used as? Vehicles to get mo’ dips into your mouth. Not just any dip though–this time, it’s (you guessed it) Lemon Rosemary Ricotta Hummus.
The idea for this combination was born out of my love for hummus + longing for anything lemon-ricotta flavored when spring rolls around. I silently began to ponder, “Why not have both…together?”. Despite popular opinion, I believe you can have your cake and eat it too (if the cake is made from hummus, that is…).
This recipe is very easy and provides an array of light, crisp flavors–perfect for dippin’ and dunkin’ veggies, spreadin’ on sandwiches, or spoonin’ straight to the face.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advocates increasing intake of vegetables and other nutrient dense foods. The good news for you? Hummus fits both of these recommendations, as it offers a nutrient-dense balance of healthy fats, carbohydrates, protein, and veggies (in the form of legumes).
In fact, individuals who consume chickpeas and/or hummus have been shown to have higher nutrient intakes of dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins A, E, and C, magnesium, folate, potassium and iron1.
Let’s break it down a little more–chickpeas:
- Chickpeas (sometimes referred to as “garbanzo beans”) are a type of legume, meaning that they grow in pods. Within the legume family, chickpeas, along with dry beans, dry peas, and lentils, further classify as pulses.
- Pulses refer to the dry, edible seed within the grown pod, and offer health benefits distinctive from those of other legumes (peanuts, soybeans, etc.).
- While all legumes offer beneficial nutrients, pulses are different from their other legume friends in that they are lower in fat but also high in fiber + protein2.
- Chickpeas are also great sources of iron, zinc, potassium, folate, copper, and phosphorus.
- To promote healthy diet patterns across the lifespan that aid in the reduction and prevention of chronic disease, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a consumption of at least 1.5 cups of legumes weekly (based on a 2,000 calorie diet)3. If you enjoy hummus, a few servings (~2 Tbsp.) weekly is a great, simple way to help meet that recommendation!
Tahini + Olive oil:
- Tahini (made from sesame seeds) is rich in B vitamins, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
- Tahini and olive oil provide a healthy dose of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated–more commonly known as “the healthy”–fats.
- Sesame seeds contain phytosterols. These are naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell membranes that are similar in structure to the cholesterol found in our bodies. When consumed, they compete with cholesterol for absorption in the GI tract, thus helping to lower overall blood cholesterol levels4,5.
Fun Hummus Ideas:
- One of my new favorite lunch creations is a whole wheat pita stuffed with a sliced, hard-boiled egg, arugula, dijon vinaigrette (recipe to come!), and a generous serving of this here hummus! This lunch provides a great balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein, and veggies.
- I find that hummus also pairs well with apples. Next time you make a sandwich, try including some thinly sliced apples, your protein of choice, and a smear or two of this hummus. This way, you still get a protein and healthy fat source, but you’re also squeezing in a fruit (and maybe a veggie, too–if you’re feeling adventurous!)
- Potatoes. Did you really think I was going to make it through an entire food post without mentioning potatoes? No. Potatoes are delicious–especially when topped with a little bit of hummus. It may sound strange…but don’t knock it until you try it! It can be a nice, nutrient-dense switch up from the typical butter + sour cream toppings. Click here if you’re looking for a new potato recipe…
- SNACKS! Pick your favorite veggie, pretzel, and/or pita bread and dip away. These nutrient-dense combinations will help to power you through until your next meal.
I hope you’ll give this recipe a try as spring continues to grace us with its presence. The benefits (and the taste!) are too great to pass up. Until next time, legume (or should I say pulse) lovers–bone apple teeth!
P.S. If you’re looking for some additional brain gains on any of the information I discussed above, feel free to check out the sources I used in writing this post. There is so much to learn about err’thang on this beautiful planet…so why not start with chickpeas? That was my thought process, at least…
Sources (& interesting additional readings):
- Wallace, Taylor C., Robert Murray, and Kathleen M. Zelman. Nutrients. December 2016. Accessed May 01, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188421/.
- “What Are Pulses | Half-Cup Habit.” Half Cup Habit. Accessed May 01, 2018. https://pulses.org/nap/what-are-pulses/.
- “Executive Summary.” Executive Summary – 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. Accessed May 01, 2018. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/.
- LD MWRDN. Tahini: Nutrition, benefits, diet, and risks. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/298585.php. Published February 23, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2018.
- Phytosterols, Sterols & Stanols. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17368-phytosterols-sterols–stanols. Accessed May 1, 2018.