CLEVELAND - Hummus sales are booming as Americans search for healthier, tastier food options, especially to snack on. In fact demand is so high, Kraft which owns the Athenos brand, and PepsiCo which has a stake in the popular Sabra brand, are increasing production.
They are expanding chickpea planting in traditional growing areas in the Pacific northwest, as well as developing new crops in the southeast. For an idea of just how strong the chickpea push is, the beans are replacing tobacco on farms in Virginia where tobacco has been grown for decades.
That growing demand has also pushed up prices. You will pay more for hummus at the supermarket, but you can take some of the sting out of it, by making your own hummus at home.
~1 15 oz can of chickpeas
~3 Tablespoons lemon juice
~3 Tablespoons tahini (sesame paste available at most grocery stores and middle eastern markets)
~2 cloves garlic, crushed
~1/2 teaspoon salt
~1/2 teaspoon black pepper
~1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
~2 Tablespoons olive oil
Drain the chickpeas, then add them and all of the ingredients together in a food processor. Process until smooth. If the hummus is too dry, add a little more olive oil. It is that easy.
Drizzle with more olive oil, then top your hummus with toasted pine nuts, chopped mint or parsley, or chopped pimiento to liven it up even more. Serve with pita or your favorite chips.