Taste Test: Hummus
Hummus — the Middle Eastern spread that blends chickpeas, lemon, oil (for some), garlic, tahini and salt — is as versatile as it is healthy. It can be the perfect party food, a quick afterschool snack or a preamble to dinner with friends. It’s great as a dip, or used as a complement to veggie kebabs or grilled fish, as part of a mezze plate or as a topper on a club sandwich. Making Ina Garten’s hummus from scratch will definitely impress, but when in a pinch there are many great ready-to-eat options on the market. Not sure which one to pick? Here are the results from our blind taste test.
We used our typical rating scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) for this taste test. Each brand was evaluated based on taste, texture and nutrition, paying special attention to calories, fat, sodium and ingredient quality. All nutrition information is based on a 2-tablespoon serving size.
Per serving: Calories 60; Fat 4.5 g (Saturated 0.5 g); Sodium 115 mg; Fiber 1 g
Our take: What we first noticed about Cedar’s is its super-smooth and thick consistency. Perhaps it comes from the “steamed” chickpeas? As for the flavor profile, the standout tahini essence has the chickpeas taking the backseat. Cedar’s texture is gentle and soft. If you like a more pronounced sesame flavor and ultra-smooth texture, then Cedar’s will satisfy.
Per serving: Calories 40; Fat 2 g (Saturated 0 g); Sodium 50 mg; Fiber 2 g; Protein 2 g
Our take: Abraham’s style is unique — it’s a bit sweet, a bit peppery and a bit chunkier than the other brands. The consistency is loose, but after a good stir it held together. The home-style approach makes it rustic, aromatic and fresh. The only thing it lacked was a lemony brightness. At only 40 calories per serving and 50 milligrams of sodium, this brand is the most figure-friendly.
Per serving: Calories 60; Fat 3.5 g (Saturated 0 g); Sodium 140 mg; Fiber 1 g; Protein 1 g
Our take: Are you an everything-bagel lover? Well, then this hummus was made for you. Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onions and more are sprinkled on top of this creamy hummus, all without skyrocketing the calories or sodium. It’s got a bit of a tang
that may not please some palates, but others will enjoy the lemony flavor.
Per serving: Calories 70; Fat 5 g (Saturated 0.5 g); Sodium 150 mg; Fiber 1 g; Protein 2 g
Our take: Whole Foods' private-label brand was recommended by one particular food-writer friend, so we were intrigued. The pure flavors and creamy texture made it hard for us to not take a second and third bite. The thick consistency holds up to a pita chip or carrot so you can take a good dunk. Fans of all things salty, garlicky and lemony will be happy with their purchase.
Per serving: Calories 60; Fat 4 g (Saturated 0 g); Sodium 125 mg; Fiber 1 g; Protein 2 g
Our take: OK, so perhaps not everyone is a fan of chickpeas. For those who fall into that category, in addition to the traditional variety Eat Well Embrace Life offers a line of “hummus” whose foundation is edamame, black or white beans, and lentils. While we thought the Carrot Sriracha was too sweet, we were partial to both the Beet Hummus and especially the Edamame Hummus. Bejeweled with a dollop of roasted red peppers and sesame seeds — it was creamy, garlicky, smooth, beany, yummy and vibrant.
Cost: $5 at Texas-area Whole Foods, Central Market and HEB or at artizone.com
Per serving: Calories 80; Fat 6 g (Saturated 1 g); Sodium 110 mg; Fiber 2 g; Protein 2 g
Our take: We only needed to see Grandma’s hummus to know it was going to be a winner. Adorned with a vibrant orange swirl of paprika-infused olive oil, this well-balanced hummus immediately hits your mouth with tangy citrus, garlic and sea salt. Though its texture is smooth, it isn’t overly blended. Each batch of owner Nikki Turkel’s Turkish grandmother’s recipe is made by hand, and as a result it is light, fluffy, fresh and toothsome. The only downside is that it’s only available in Texas, for now.
Kiri Tannenbaum is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and holds an M.A. in food studies from New York University where she is currently an adjunct professor. When her schedule allows, she leads culinary walking tours in New York City and is currently at work on her first book.