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You Ask, I Answer: Hummus

Like a lot of other vegetarians, I love hummus, and always thought it was a really good source of protein since it is made from chickpeas.

[However,] I just looked at the nutrition facts for a container of hummus I bought and see that each serving only has one gram of protein.

That doesn’t seem right to me. Aren’t chickpeas pretty high in protein?

— Marcus (last name withheld)
Baltimore, MD

I often hear people erroneously refer to hummus as a “protein-packed” spread.

Although it is a decent — and delicious — source of heart-healthy fats, it is no protein powerhouse.

You are right — chickpeas deliver quite a bit of protein. A mere half cup of them adds six grams of protein to your meal.

How, then, do two tablespoons of hummus only add up to one gram?

Simple — hummus is more than just mashed chickpeas. Garlic, lemon juice, tahini (sesame seed paste), salt, and olive oil round out traditional recipes.

Thus, two tablespoons of hummus contain approximately one tenth of a cup of actual chickpeas!

To get the six grams of protein in a half cup of chickpeas, you would need to eat approximately one cup of hummus.

If adding some protein to your day is a priority, you are better off adding half a cup of chickpeas to your salad (6 grams of protein, 143 calories) than using a cup of hummus as a dip (6 grams of protein, 410 calories).



  1. Doha Quinn said on January 4th, 2009

    I am living in the Middle East, where we have this wonderful food every day. After eating freshly prepared hummus, I will never, I say Never, eat it out those mass produced ones from the market ever again. I finally took the plunge and made my own hummus – what a joy! Easy, quick, delicious. And you can better control what goes in if you do it yourself. I managed to get my mini-prep on a power converter to do the work with very little problem. Suggestions for great hummus: add some cilantro! some black or green olives ! use a different bean – I love canellini beans for this. I also make pumpkin hummus – canned pumpkin, a wee bit of tahini, garlic, olive oil – and the result is just magic. Please, try it. You’ll love it.

  2. Andy Bellatti said on January 5th, 2009


    I agree! Nothing beats freshly made hummus. Best part is — it only takes a few minutes and no kitchen skills are required!

  3. Rachelle said on April 6th, 2010

    I recently learned this trick: For really creamy hummus, use warm chickpeas. I never put oil in hummus, just fill up the food processor bowl with hot chickpeas plus 2 tablespoons each of tahini and lemon juice, a bit of garlic and salt, and a little water if needed. Cumin is a nice addition too.

  4. Andy Bellatti said on April 6th, 2010


    Great tip. Hadn’t heard that one before! Thanks.

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