Taste-Off: The best new-wave hummus — and the ho-hums

Classic hummus is earthy, creamy, low-calorie, protein-packed goodness. But good is even better when hummus — a puree of chickpeas, tahini, lemon and garlic — is kicked up with fresh, surprising flavors.

Flavored hummus used to mean a dash of something Mediterranean puddled in the middle of the tub. But hummus has turned a flavor corner. It now comes in an array of inventive options, including carrot, avocado, artichoke, edamame, eggplant, herbs, jalapeño, barbecue and curry. A few are made with black or white beans instead of chickpeas.

The best flavored hummus options are smooth and creamy, with fresh, distinct flavors — bold but not overpowering. The worst are grainy or soupy, or laced with cloying artificial flavors. Some don’t deliver even a hint of the flavors promised on the label. And while high acidity helps shelf stability, huge doses of citric acid drown out every other flavor.

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Hummus can vary widely in calories, so check the nutritional details below, which refer to a 2-tablespoon serving. Some varieties rely on processing and water to provide creaminess; others add oil to yield velvety texture, but that can add significant calories.

For this taste test, we tried the most unusual hummus flavors on store shelves, rating them on texture, balance and flavor. Here’s the scoop on the best hummus hybrids — and those not worth a dip.

The Hummus Guy Organic Black Bean Chipotle Harissa Hummus

Brick red hummus with bold, supremely balanced flavors make this a delicious bite for anyone who loves big flavors. 50 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, 4 g fat, 130 mg sodium, 2 g protein. Fans of hot-hot flavor should check out the Spicy Jalapeño and Cilantro, too. $4.69 for 8 ounces at Whole Foods. (4 stars)

Cedar’s Organic Balsamic Caramelized Onion Hommus

Those who love caramelized onions will fall hard for this decidedly sweet mix. Generous bits of onion are nestled on top — and stirred into the extra-creamy hummus. 80 calories, 6 g fat, 110 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrates. The Za’atar flavor made with a fresh hit of herbs and sumac is also pleasant. $4.99 for 10 ounces at Sprouts. (4 stars)

Boar’s Head Fire Roasted Artichoke & Spinach Hummus

Chunks of tender roasted artichokes and a good balance of herbs and garlic make for a hearty, satisfying bite. 70 calories, 5 g fat, 160 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrates. $4.99 for 10

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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