Monday, 12 November 2012

Making Healthy Houmous at Home

Houmous or hummus, that popular Middle Eastern concoction of chick peas, tahini and garlic, swept into the supermarkets a few years ago and shows no signs of disappearing any time soon. In fact, there are numerous brands and flavours available now, so we never need become bored.

Houmous, though extremely healthy, does have the drawback of being high in calories. Not great if you’re dieting. You can buy reduced fat houmous pots (see post) which can shave off anything up to 30 percent of the fat content and reduce calories. But you can save even more calories by making your own.



1 tin chick peas (240g drained)
1 heaped tbsp (20g) of tahini
100g fat-free natural yoghurt
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1-2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
Chickpea water.
Optional extras: 1 tsp of cumin, olive oil and/or paprika or a handful of sunflower seeds or a chopped red pepper (or roasted red pepper).

What I used:
  • 1 x 380g carton of Organic Chick peas in water from Tesco. The whole carton drained is 230g and worth 280 calories
  • 1 tablespoon (20g) of Cypressa Tahini. This is hugely calorific so go easy. 20g of tahini has 128 calories
  • 100g of Total 0% fat Greek yogurt at 57 calories.
  • 1 teaspoon of Lazy chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

How to prepare:

Step 1: Drain the chickpeas, (reserve water) and empty into a food processor.
Step 2: Add the rest of the ingredients.
Step 3: Process until smooth.

Add more of the chickpea water to make a runnier consistency.

Simple, what could go wrong?


We all love houmous in my house and my two girls were especially excited to help out with making our very own at home.

Not getting off to the best start, the eldest was nearly put off completely before we’d even begun. After opening the tahini paste she declared it smelt just like peanut butter, and promptly stuck her finger in the jar.

Seconds later she appeared to be gagging and gasping for water. OK, she is a bit of a drama queen. She wasn’t really choking, just trying to get rid of the taste, which, for the record, is nothing like peanut butter.

The rest was simple. Just 3 steps to follow, though I had to process it a few times to get a smooth consistency. It looked just like the real thing. But what about the taste?

As soon as I tasted it, I knew something wasn't quite right. Of course I didn't expect it to taste like the shop bought stuff. Maybe it was the lack of oil. I thought I’d followed the recipe to the book.

I served some up into a little bowl alongside some carrot sticks and breadsticks and told the family to dig in. I left the room for a while before returning to find the plate clear… but most of the houmous still there.

Unfortunately, my home made houmous didn't match up to their expectations. My initial thoughts were, perhaps I didn't put in enough garlic. I only used one teaspoon of the pre-chopped, lazy garlic. Next time I’ll use more. AND, what I think may have made a noticeable difference – I forgot the salt! I never cook using salt and it didn't even register that it was actually one of the ingredients.

Next time….

There will be a next time because I now have this large jar of tahini paste to use up! That’s one of the drawbacks with making your own houmous. You have to buy a jar of tahini which costs around £2.50 and you only need one tablespoon of paste. But the contents have to be used up within 6 weeks. Luckily, the other ingredients are inexpensive. Also, houmous doesn't keep for long and should be eaten with 3 days.

But what I will do is add salt, add more garlic and possibly some coriander for added flavour.

The plus point for me is the HUGE calorie saving. For example, a tub of regular, full fat houmous contains around 320 calories per 100g, while a tub of reduced fat houmous has between 170 to 250 calories per 100g.

The homemade version using the above ingredients has just 132 calories per 100g or 66 calories for a 50g serving.

This is made up from 280 calories for the drained chickpeas, 128 calories for the tahini paste, 57 calories for the yogurt and 10 calories for the other ingredients. The total weight was 360g.

Of course, to enjoy the wonderful health benefits of hummus and the lower calories, it has to taste good too.

© Diets and Calories 2012


  1. I must admit I have never been successful with making my own houmous but I would love to get it right! For ow though I stick to the shop bought stuff!

    1. I think the trick is to keep trying. My 2nd attempt tasted really nice (I added salt) but was too runny. Third time lucky I hope!


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