Recipe: Almond Hummus
One of the most frequently typed search items in my Is It Paleo? module is hummus. A staple dish in the Middle East, it has gained a huge popularity all over the world and is often served as a dip or a side dish at barbecues, picnics, work lunches and as a snack.
So is it Paleo? The quick answer is ‘no’. Legumes are avoided on the paleo diet due to their antinutrients content – phytates and lectins – which inhibit nutrient absorbption, cause inflammation and play with healthy hormonal functions. There has been a lot written about legumes being safe for consumption if they’re prepared and cooked properly but since it’s a bit of a hassle, most of us simply go without. And given that chickpeas are the base ingredient in hummus (the word ‘hummus’ actually means ‘chickpeas’ in Arabic), it’s one of the foods that is sadly not on the paleo’s ‘green’ list. However, as with pretty much anything non-paleo, there are alternatives and even if officially it’s no longer hummus, you can still get a similar flavour and texture using different base ingredients.
This recipe is inspired by a dip from Byron Bay I tried recently. It uses almonds as a base, which work really well with the hummus flavours of tahini, garlic, lemon and olive oil. I would recommend this dip as an every now and then food as both almonds and tahini, which comes from sesame seeds, contain a large proportion of Omega-6 fatty acids. It’s not a problem if you have a balanced diet full of Omega-3’s, but it is something to be aware of. On the upside, tahini is one of the highest sources of methionine, an essential amino acid, it’s high in vitamin E and it adds a fantastic flavour to any dish.
Quick sanity check, there are worse things you could eat and if a little ‘real’ hummus passes your lips, I doubt you will go to to ‘paleo hell’. Just saying…
Cook’s notes: Blanched almonds are essentially almonds with no skin on. You can buy pre-blanched almonds or do it yourself, see how here. I used a Mayvers Hulled Tahini. Unhulled tahini does contain more calcium, but the hulls contain phytates and other antinutrients so go for the hulled version! Tahini should be stored in the fridge because it’s high in poly-unsaturated fats, which are sensitive to heat and light and can easily turn rancid (even if Vitamin E is resistant to rancidity).
- 150gm blanched almonds
- 2 tbsp tahini paste
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp Celtic salt
- A pinch of pepper
- Pre-blanch the almonds if you need to.
- Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Drizzle with olive oil and some paprika and parsley when serving. Store in the fridge with a thing layer of olive oil on top to prevent drying (almonds love moisture).
- I like to serve this dip with radishes, carrot and celery sticks or red peppers. It’s also yummy on salads and vegetables.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: none
Number of servings: 4-5