Healthy Snacking: Tips for Homemade Bean Dips

This guest post is written by Valerie from City|Life|Eats.

Hummus has long been among my favorite healthy snacks, even before I discovered I had to switch to a gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free diet.

Removing gluten, dairy and eggs from my diet required me to replace many of my go-to healthy snacks. Fortunately I got to keep hummus and other bean dips.

These legume-based dips have many advantages: they are easily portable, requiring just a container of crackers or cut veggies. They can add fiber and density to a gluten-free wrap or sandwich, serve as a salad topping or an appetizer.

While bean dips are naturally gluten-free, there are few out there that are certified gluten-free. Making them at home removes that layer of uncertainty.

Below are several of my favorite tips for making hummus and bean dips at home, along with some recipe ideas. First a note of caution: beans, seeds and nuts are all naturally gluten-free, but be aware of the cross-contamination status of your ingredients.

Five Tips for Homemade Hummus & Bean Dips

1. Think beyond the traditional chickpea
While chickpea-based hummus is always a crowd-pleaser, keep things varied by making hummus and bean dips using white beans, azuki beans, black beans and various types of lentils.
Recipe Idea: Azuki Edamame Hummus

2. Vary sources of creaminess and fat
Tahini has a great flavor and provides a nice source of calcium, but consider using hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole almonds or cashews, or other nut or seed butters as the fat component of your recipe. If using whole seeds or nuts, grind first into a medium-fine meal. Tahini and other seeds or nuts provide fat with added nutrition and fiber, so favor those over olive oil or other oils for increased satiety.
Recipe Idea: Spicy Lemon Hemp Hummus

3. For low-fat options, add veggies into the recipe
Vegetables make great dippers for hummus and other dips, but consider putting vegetables into the bean dip itself. Roasted or steamed root vegetables become creamy when pureed and can replace some or all of the fat in a recipe. This works best if the root vegetables are slightly warm when pureed into the bean dip. Sweet potatoes and parsnips are great stand-ins for tahini or other fat sources, though consider adding extra seasoning if you prefer to camouflage their flavor in favor of the beans.
Recipe Idea: Spicy Black Bean Dip

4. Mindful use of oils
As noted above, I favor tahini, other seeds or nuts over oil in hummus and bean dip recipes. However, a high-quality olive, avocado or nut oil can amp up the flavor of a recipe, whether it is drizzled on top or used in the recipe.
Recipe Idea: Rustic White Bean Dip

5. Use warm legumes for extra creaminess
Consider slightly steaming or otherwise warming the legumes prior to making the hummus or bean dip. This will help achieve an extra creamy consistency. While not mandatory, this is especially helpful when making lower-fat recipes or a large batch for a party.
Recipe Idea: Lemony Black Eyed Pea Hummus (see below)

This recipe for Lemony Black-Eyed Pea Hummus is tart and creamy without the scallions, but they add an element of freshness and bite to the dip that is very spring-like. Do not be deterred by the half cup of lemon juice, but feel free to start with a quarter cup and add lemon juice to taste. Also, feel free to experiment with additional add-ins, such as sundried tomatoes, olives, or herbs such as parsley or basil.

Other Dip Recipes:

Lemony Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (equivalent to 1 15oz can drained. Eden Foods is a good brand with transparent standards for managing allergens, including gluten)
3 tablespoons tahini (raw or roasted)
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt
Optional: ¼ cup chopped scallions

Warm black-eyed peas by steaming or simmering for three minutes.

Place in bowl of food processor.

Add remaining ingredients except for scallions and process until smooth, occasionally stopping the food processor to scrape down the sides.

If you find that the hummus is very thick, feel free to add a tablespoon of water to make the processing easier. Add optional scallions and pulse briefly until incorporated. Enjoy with carrot sticks, cucumber or bell pepper slices, or your favorite gluten-free crackers.

Valerie blogs at City|Life|Eats about mindful living and gluten-free vegan recipes. She also blogged over a year’s worth of daily lunchboxes, and continues to add lunchbox ideas occasionally. In addition to cooking, Valerie loves exploring farmers’ markets, practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband and loved ones. You can also find Valerie on Twitter @citylifeeats, on Facebook and on Pinterest.

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